Our Teef- Friday August 24th

Hazel and I are both experiencing dramatic events in the lives of our teeth.  Her first few teeth are arriving, shiny and sharp, but only after an agonizingly long and painful descent.  Despite the occasional crying jags (hers and mine) and the restless nights, it’s amazing to witness the process.  Each new little tooth cutting through the gum is like a tiny symbol of the struggle of the human condition.  It’s the pain and joy of our existence and growth.  And Hazel suffers her teething with a good-natured grace that makes my heart sing.

During the same weeks, I am experiencing the dental opposite.  My teeth are breaking apart.  It’s like that recurring dream everyone has where you’re perfectly fine one minute then the next minute all of your teeth are falling out of your head.  Except this isn’t a dream, it’s a painful and shockingly expensive reality.

The great thing about dental work is that a dentist will try the least invasive option, charge you $1300, and hope that it will fix the problem.  When the problem persists, they can step up the treatment options in painfulness and expense and convince you that it’s for your own good.  They’ll give you Vicoden for a while, but only for the pain, not for the mental agony.  Luckily I found a guy who would give me Nitrous for the mental agony, which turned an emergency root canal into a really fun afternoon.  The dentist seemed to think my drug-induced jokes were hilarious too, so it was also an ego-booster.

But it does feel like each cracked tooth represents the decline of the human body, the futility of the human existence and the crushing, undeterred march of time.  And I am handling it with the whining and stubbornness that my loved ones have come to expect from me.

Hazel will smile up at me, drooling and laughing as her gums bulge, and I’ll stop pressing my hand against my jaw for a moment and smile back at her.  ”Ok,” I say about once a day “We’ll do it together.  And I hope you’re understanding when you turn 18 and your college fund has taken the form of Mommy’s shiny new crowns.”

I’ll make it up to her at Disney Land.



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