Note: Today is Daniel Aaron Bakst’s birthday. In celebration, I dedicate this blog entry to him. I love and treasure him and wish him many, many more happy and healthy birthdays.
You could never get anything over on Daniel. He was always very observant. He noticed everything. One time we were pulling into the parking lot to pick up Leah from dance lessons, he was probably 4 at the time, and he looked up at the building and noted, “The curtains in that window are a different color than they were last week.” “Really?” I asked in wonderment. The window he was pointing to was several stories up from the main floor entrance where we went in. I’m quite sure I had never looked up, much less noted the color of the curtains.
Maybe it was related to his being so observant, or maybe it was part of his innate skepticism, but when he lost his first tooth and found money under his pillow, he wasn’t fooled. “It was you or Dad, right?” he asked, a knowing look in his eye. “You don’t think it was the tooth fairy, bud?” I asked. He looked at me, considering the possibilities.
I wasn’t quite sure what the value of the charade was, but I didn’t want to ruin the fun either. “I think you or Dad put it under my pillow,” he concluded. I countered with, “I’m not so sure.” I winked. He smiled.
Each time Dan lost a tooth, he just smiled in a satisfied kind of way as he pocketed the money the tooth fairy left; he knew what he knew.
Some of the Mom’s in my social circle saved their children’s baby teeth – I think there was even a specially made keepsake that you could store them in. The idea was creepy to me. Maybe Dan would’ve preferred that I saved them, based on what happened with his wisdom teeth.
After my experience getting wisdom teeth pulled as a mature adult, I was determined that my children wouldn’t go through that pain. If the dentist recommended their removal, we would get it done sooner rather than later.
When Dan was 18 the dentist said he should have them removed. I took him to the same oral surgeon that we used for Leah, whose procedure went uneventfully several years earlier. We finished the initial visit and scheduled a time for the surgery. As we left the office and walked across the parking lot, a car started to pull out. It almost hit me. Dan, who was walking on my right, instinctively crossed in front of me and hit the trunk of the car hard with the palm of his hand. The guy, it was a male driver, slammed on his brake and yelled an apology. Daniel was not satisfied. “Look where you’re going!” he screamed. The guy replied, “I said I was sorry for Christ’s sake!” Dan’s anger escalated. “You were being an asshole!” “Dan, Dan,” I said, quietly, soothingly, “It’s okay. Let’s just go to our car.” Dan had stopped walking and stood glaring at the guy. “What’s your problem?” the guy wanted to know. “That’s my mother walking here! You be careful!”
I took Dan’s arm and nudged him along. He took a breath and came with me. While I appreciated his protective instincts, I didn’t want him getting into a needless fight. I have to admit, though the incident happened about ten years ago, I still smile when I think of it. I knew then and still know now Dan has my back – literally and figuratively.
That wasn’t the end of our adventure with his wisdom teeth.
We returned for the surgery. I sat in the waiting room, anxious to have it done and have Dan get through it without complication. They finally called me in and told me all went well and Dan could go home. They gave me the aftercare instructions, and we started to leave. The dental assistant called after us, “Wait up a minute!” We stopped and she handed me an envelope. “He wanted his teeth,” she explained. “Really?” “Yes, it seemed important to him.” I took the envelope and put it in my purse. “Okay, thank you.”
Dan and I left. He was pleasantly loopy from the drugs but he could walk okay, which was fortunate. Dan was was over six feet tall and lanky; well beyond the point where I could carry him. We made it across the parking lot without incident this time and got home.
I tucked him in for a nap. He awoke a couple of hours later, less groggy. I checked in with him to see how he was feeling. I gave him the envelope with the teeth. “What’s this?” he asked. “Apparently you wanted your teeth,” I explained. “What?” he was genuinely perplexed. “They told me you kind of made a thing about wanting them.” “I have no recollection of that at all,” he said, laughing. “I don’t want them. Yuck.” I started laughing, too “I thought it was a little unusual, but are you sure?” I wanted to be certain before I disposed of them. “I’m quite sure,” he reassured me. The only explanation we could come up with were the drugs they gave him for the procedure. We were amused by the surprising side effects.
I took the envelope back and dropped it in the wastebasket. To my knowledge he never regretted his decision and he never asked about his baby teeth either, so I think I am in the clear. One less parenting decision to worry about.