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Sat, Oct. 19

‘My boy is growing up’<br>moment hit last week

It was early last week when I first noticed one of my 6-year-old son's teeth appearing a little crooked.

He came over to me, opened his mouth and wiggled it back and forth with his tongue. Cool. He was going to lose his first tooth soon.

Over the next few days, we checked on his tooth to make sure it was still there. Brandon was getting a little worried about this whole idea of losing a tooth.

But, he has a friend, Danielle, who apparently lost a tooth of her own not long ago and he faced the situation with an open mind.

Instead of losing a tooth, Brandon referred to the process of "my tooth is going to fall down." And I guess he's right. It was going to fall down out of his upper gum — right there in front.

Despite being fairly confident that having a tooth fall down was no big crisis, Brandon was still a little unsure about it all. So, I came up with my version of the tooth fairy.

To me as a child, the idea of having some tooth fairy sneaking around in my room at night was a little scary. I didn't want somebody playing with my toys and breaking something. But, if she leaves money, I supposed it's OK. I just couldn't see why she couldn't do that during the daytime, say over lunch.

The tooth fairy visited me only a few times when I was a child. Years later when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, I had to pay money back into the system and all I got was gauze to put into my mouth to stop the bleeding.

Brandon's front tooth hung in there for a couple of days. We got through the Rotary Club meeting OK and then had no problems at the sanitary district celebration.

But not long after we got home Thursday, the big event happened. At 4:30 p.m., Brandon decided to jump on me when I wasn't looking. We wrestled for a few minutes and I went after a nose-lock. My hand brushed the front of his month and there it was, the tooth had jarred loose.

While Brandon continued to wrestle, I was trying to make sure the tooth didn't fall down into the couch. There are things in my couch from who knows how long (Maxine, if you want to come back as my cleaning lady, let me know).

Anyway, I had to stop the rough-housing and show him the tooth. All of a sudden, it hurt. He discovered a little blood and then he got really worried.

But there was actually hardly any blood. I took a good look at the tooth and wondered, is that how it's supposed to look? Should there be roots on that tooth? Is part of the tooth still up in there and will it get infected? Does it hurt him?

Questions, questions, questions. I had to have answers. So, I called Connie down in Williams for a little advice on the tooth situation. She's been through that plenty of times with her children.

After reassuring me that all was normal with the tooth falling out, I felt much better. It's amazing what things you can come up with in your head when you've never been through something before. This whole parenting experience can be quite educational.

Brandon and I had a talk about growing up and losing baby teeth being a stage in that process. When we wrapped up our chat, he spotted his little chair his great-grandma gave him when he was 2 years old.

"I'm too big for that chair now," said Brandon, who then sat down in it and fit perfectly. "See."

The tooth went in a baggie and under the pillow that night. Brandon ended up with some cash (more than the quarter I got when I was a kid ... inflation). The tooth fairy left it with me to put in the scrapbook.

(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).

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