My beautiful, sweet, lovable, Henry. My little Henry who, at various times, will drive all three of his siblings totally crazy. My little Henry who, at various times, will drive me and his father totally crazy. My little Henry who is the perfect embodiment of a four-year-old BOY.
My little Henry, who tonight, after he finished dinner, climbed under the table and was biting his siblings' legs and feet. They were all laughing, so in retrospect, from my post at the sink where I was washing dishes - I should have probably just laughed, too. But I didn't because his siblings were still trying to eat and they were kicking him about the head and the level of chaos was mounting, Mounting, MOUNTING.
Charlie is flying home tonight from a business trip and I was trying to get the kitchen cleaned up before we left to pick him up at the airport. I asked the children to go put on their pajamas, so I can put them to bed as soon as we arrive home. No one hears me or is listening to me or any combination thereof. So I say it a little louder, "GUYS. When you're done, please go put on your pajamas so we can pick up Daddy at the airport…"
I'm scrubbing pots and pans while keeping my eye on the pot under the sink that has been used to catch water from a leaky valve that was responsible for flooding our basement while Charlie's been away … when the shrieking at the table grabs my attention.
Henry is chomping on his brother's leg while his brother is kicking him squarely in the face. I yell, "STOP!" to the air before marching in to the dining area - and reaching under the table for Henry. When I grab him by his waist, he tips forward and smacks the kitchen floor. Standing him up to his feet, my stomach drops when I see that there is blood dripping out of his mouth.
Thinking that perhaps he just smacked his lip, I pick him up to examine his mouth and that's when I notice HIS FRONT TOOTH IS GONE. My baby's tooth is GONE. Where there once was a tooth, just to the right of his right front tooth, there is now a gaping hole.
Instantly, I'm remorseful, shocked and nauseous as the worst feeling I've ever experienced in my life, envelopes me.
What did I just do?
If only I could turn back time … ONE MINUTE … I'd race in to the family room and put on a movie for him. I'd do SOMETHING to get him out from under our feet, literally, so that the chaos wouldn't send me over the brink. Why must I try to avoid movies when movies are often VERY GOOD and a saving grace to parents everywhere?
I'm feeling sick with myself and the triplets are crying when I put a damp paper towel in his mouth and call the Pediatric Dentist. The long and short of it, there is nothing that can be done for a lost baby tooth. Tomorrow morning, we'll have an x-ray and examination. And eventually, say FOUR YEARS FROM NOW, the gaping hole will be replaced by an adult tooth. But every day, from now until then, whenever I see my beautiful baby's smile, I'll be reminded of this horrible moment.
Later, once he was in his pajamas, Tylenol had been administered, and I sent my husband a text message that he would need to take a cab home from the airport, I carefully removed the paper towel from his mouth. His tongue feels around the spot where his tooth had been and I'm struck with horror when I notice that his FRONT tooth is also crooked. To the point that his lip actually PROTRUDES because of the crookedness. I bury my head in my hands and I start to cry. "Oh my God, this is terrible. I'm so, so sorry!"
Henry puts his little arms around my neck and hugging me tightly, whispers, "Mommy, you not tewable. You awesome, like ME!" I lean back and gaze at the gorgeous little boy who holds my heart in his hands. His tongue runs across his new dental landscape and when he realizes that his front tooth is sticking out of his mouth, he cheerfully says, "I wook wike Nanny McPhee!"
Once he said it, I noticed that the resemblance is uncanny. So for a very brief moment, my tears of sorrow were replaced by tears of laughter.
The children were so concerned about their little brother, they quietly gathered in his room as I was tucking him in to bed. William declared, "Henry, you lost a tooth before me!" Then he added, "But that's OK because now the Tooth Fairy will come and we'll get some money!"
His sister corrected him, "William, you won't get money - HENRY WILL."
But William countered, "Well, we share a piggy bank you know."