Monday evening: The Younger Daughter pulls a tooth. She's been going through a stage of shedding teeth like a little shark this year, so all seems fairly routine. The Tooth Fairy confiscates it, leaving much coveted cold, hard cash in return and then gives me the tooth, as she almost always does, to hold until she's got enough to build her castle with.
Tuesday evening: I notice The Younger Daughter's gum above the now-missing tooth seems a bit red. I attribute it to the fact that she's just pulled the tooth, and make a mental note to watch it, just in case it might be true inflammation.
Wednesday evening: The gum still looks a little bright to me, although not badly so, and it isn't sore at all--a good sign. Nevertheless, I get out a flashlight and look at the empty socket, and... EGAD! There is a dark red fleshy thing protruding slightly from the socket! Either The Younger Daughter has just been infested with some tiny, exotic gum leach, or that is the pulp/nerve of her missing tooth! Is this normal? Is it supposed to be there? Is there an infection?! Has she pulled it prematurely?!
DID SHE PULL A PERMANENT TOOTH FOR MONEY?!?!?!?
I can't call the dentist at 9:30 at night. It doesn't hurt her at all, not even when she rubs a finger over it. I shudder and tell her to rinse and go to the living room for stories and prayers. I try to not worry about it. I will call in the morning. I will not worry. I put my head down on my desk and say a short prayer. I will not worry. Feeling faintly nauseated from anxiety, I walk into the bedroom to fold some laundry. I will not worry. Finally I call my sister. We have one of those conferences that only sisters can have. I feel a bit better. We will wait and see. Great Scott doesn't get home until 11:00 p.m. from the night class he's teaching. I will tell him in the morning.
Thursday (this) morning: "Oh," he says nonchalantly as he gets a shirt out of the closet and pulls it on. "Yeah, those are always there when you pull a tooth. It must've just detached lower down than most, that's all." He buttons up the shirt and meanders out of the room to go find his good friend, Coffee.
The Younger Daughter swears she hasn't pulled a permanent tooth, that this one was still a baby tooth. She may just be afraid The Tooth Fairy will want her money back, but I'm going to believe her. She is confidently, blissfully carefree. I want to grow up to be just like her.