He casts a magic spell, as our daughter leans back in the plush seat.
That’s the euphemism favored by our children’s dentist, who refuses to use the term “pulling teeth” in front of his young clientele.
“I just lean back and breathe through that mask. Next thing I know, he’s done his magic!”
Unfortunately, “magic” has become a frequent occurrence, and will continue to be for the next couple of months.
We’re trying clear the way for reluctant adult teeth to come in. Problem is, clearing the way for those teeth is like trying to commute on a bridge Gov. Chris Christie has punished by closing two of the three lanes.
The last x-ray held little hope. One of the teeth held hostage was growing at an angle nearly horizontal to the gum line it should be piercing.
So we’re clearing out some of holdovers that have clearly overstayed their welcome. It’s the process known as making room for “spacers,” to help the grown-up teeth take root and thrive where they’re supposed to be.
This has another meaning for parents.
I am blinded by a brilliant glimmer on the horizon. I squint my eyes. It’s braces.
There’s still time to dodge that hefty investment, but it’s appearing every day to be a greater possibility.
The good news is that braces have changed dramatically since I was a kid, back in the Dark Ages.
In those days, the only kids who had braces were the ones with serious problems that needed to be straightened out, like chewing on the inside of your cheek every time you bit down.
Those kids had nicknames like “Metal Mouth.” Image the embarrassment of braces and glasses — “Four Eyes” — at the same time.
Those kids couldn’t eat anything more substantial than Cream of Wheat, it seemed, and they were always getting their braces tangled up with stuff, like their hair or their socks.
This current state of affairs, we figure, will be the end of another piece of our daughter’s childhood “magic.”
You see, the tooth fairy still visits our daughter’s bedroom when she loses a tooth.
This last time, she visited and left a special certificate commemorating our daughter’s loss of her 10th tooth. There was $2. And perhaps the best touch: The Tooth Fairy puffs a sprinkling of sparkles on our daughter’s face and pillow case.
We know that time is slipping away from us. It is a piece of her childhood were are sorry to bid farewell. It’s an innocence born of a different time, in some ways so long ago and in other ways being played out just yesterday.
We know what bit of childhood will next leave us next. It’s right around the corner.
We know those other childhood wonders will soon evolve into other adolescent landmarks. We see her growing up every day. Coming across a photo from five or six years ago is sure to elicit an “Aww … ” when we see the young person she has become since then.
No matter what changes come our way, though, there is one thought we rest easy with:
There will always be magic, no matter what is lost and what comes to fill its place.