No Tooth, No Money

Last Friday afternoon the boys bounded off the school bus, all limbs and backpacks and sweaty buzz cuts.  It was the start of a four-day weekend, and everybody was bursting with excitement.

“AbunchofmyfriendsaregoingtoplayfootballrightnowintheHall’syardCanIgotooCanIplayCanIgonow HuhCanImomCanImomplease?” Kid D asked before we even reached the house.

“We are going to movie night on the lawn at your aunt’s house right after dinner, but you can go play for a while.  Promise me you’ll call when you get there.  And be home by 5:45.”  I guarantee he didn’t hear anything after “go play,” but he is eight and I’m learning that’s just how eight-year-old boys work/ don’t work.

About and hour or so later, there was a knock-knock-knock at my side door.  In came Kid D, along with Football House Mom II (not to be confused with FHM I – If You Have to Poop, Go Home), and her son.  She led with, “Um, the boys had a little accident…”

I stayed very calm.  Kid D was being brave, but as soon as he saw me the dam broke and the tears started flowing.  FHM II explained that Kid D had collided with another friend and he had apparently lost a tooth as a result.  The blood was flowing generously from his mouth, so I really couldn’t see much of anything.  I asked if they knew where the missing tooth went.  Did it jam up into his gums?  Was it somewhere on the lawn?  Did he swallow it?

“We’re not sure.  It might very well be in the other kid’s head.”  Awesome.

FHM II and her son left to check on the status of the other kid.  I gave Kid D some salt water and told him to start swishing and spitting.  After he cleared away some of the bloody mess, I was able to determine that most if not all of the tooth was indeed gone from his mouth.  The rest should fall out on its own because, luckily, it was a baby tooth.  His permanent front tooth next to the new hole was a slight bit wiggly, but I wasn’t too worried.  And conveniently, we had dentist appointments scheduled for first thing Monday morning so I would have the experts confirm that he was fine in a few days.

I texted with the other kid’s mom and she confirmed that he was hard-headed and doing just fine.  He was worried that he might have a “discussion” from the bump on his head, but there was just a red mark.  No broken skin and no “discussion.”  Whew.

So I had Kid D swish and spit a little while longer so the blood would stop spewing forth.  Then I Motrinned him up and he felt much better.  We even brought FHM II’s kid with us to watch Hotel Transylvania outside at my sister’s house.  It was a beautiful night and the movie was funny and the kids (as well as the grown ups) had a good time.  It was late when we finally got home and put the boys to bed.

The next morning, Kid D was very disappointed.  Apparently, the tooth fairy had failed to make an appearance and he felt gypped.  And surprisingly, he found no solace in my explanation: “I believe the rule is – no tooth, no money.  Sorry, big guy.”

Kid D was having none of that nonsense, so he set out writing a letter to the tooth fairy.  And when I asked how the tooth fairy would know if he was telling the truth or not, he insisted that I sign off on his note as a witness.

Kid D tooth fairy letter

The very next night, the note went on his nightstand, front and center.

And he found this waiting for him in the morning:

Well, I believe that the tooth fairy needs to have more change on hand.

I guess it is “no tooth, no money,” unless you leave a polite, semi-notorized note.

Over the years, our tooth fairy seems to have taken a whole lot of liberties.  Is it just me, or does the tooth fairy seem like she/ he really makes up most stuff up as they go along?  And she/ he really should be better prepared  in the future by having change on hand.  I’m just saying.

P.S.  I also believe that my kids need some more work on spelling.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Huckleberry Mountain Adventures

It was August of 1991 and I had just moved to Morgantown for Round 3 of my college experience.  I promised myself (and my parents… because they forced me) that this time would be different and I was going to focus on classes and learning and actually graduating from college.  Not just the fun stuff like partying and boys (which, for the record, was pretty fun).

In an attempt to follow through on that promise, I walked into my Intro to Biology class and took a seat right up front.  Normally, I would sit somewhere in the back so the professor would not necessarily know that I was too hungover to show up for a lecture.  This time, though, I planned to show up every day.  It was a pretty large class – almost a hundred students – and people began filling in every other seat, all the way to the back of the lab.  Then, just as class was about to begin, an old man came in and sat down in the seat right next to me.

Now, when I say “old man,” you should realize that I had the perspective of a self-centered twenty-year-old, so anybody who looked like they could legally buy me beer was automatically “old.”  It turns out that this particular old man was only about thirty.  He kept whispering ornery and sarcastic comments to me throughout the class, and even though he used the word y’uns way too often, I decided that we should be friends.

So friends we became.  We would talk before class and we got to know each other pretty well.  He had been happily married for a few years and his wife, now a pharmacist, worked as a paralegal at a local law firm.  I naturally looked to him for advice and approval when Sheepdog and I started dating a few months into the semester.  It was not hard to see the Marine in him when he met my fiancé for the very first time.  Protective and annoying, he was like the big brother I had always wished for.  We all became very good friends during our time at WVU.  And it was no surprise when he was the one who stood next to Sheepdog as his Best Man at our wedding.  It was also no surprise (especially to the girl who originally befriended him for his ornery ways) that his speech included the wish for our marriage that “all of [our] ups and downs be between the sheets.”

Afterwards, Sheepdog and I moved to Alabama for work and then back to New Jersey to be closer to my family.  The Marine hadn’t yet graduated, so he and his wife (and their awesome kid/ golden retriever, Gracie) stayed in Morgantown.  When we traveled to West Virginia to visit Sheepdog’s family, we would often work in visits to see the Marine and the Paralegal/ Pharmacist as well.  But once we started having our own kids it got harder and more inconvenient to make that extra stop.  And since we kept having kids, our get-togethers became less and less frequent.  They moved away.  We moved again.  And again.  Ironically, we all ended up in Georgia at one point and they came to visit us, but it was not the same.

Then last spring, we caught up with them at a couple of art shows where the Marine was selling bowls that he carves from reclaimed wood.  They invited us up to their home in North Carolina and we all went up the mountain to visit them last May.  We went on long walks and made jam and s’mores and told stories around the campfire.  It was awesome.

We had so much fun that we invited ourselves back this past weekend.  We rode on the 4-wheeler and hiked some new trails and watched the playoff games in front of a roaring fire with an awesome spread of layered nachos, buffalo wings and pizza.  The Marine took me out to his range and let me shoot his .40 pistol, as always emphasizing safety and reinforcing proper technique.  We compared abilities to assemble and disassemble things while blindfolded under pressure in the dark (things like heavy fire or conditions involving vomit or poop) – him an M-16, me a crib.  Still protective and annoying.  Still just like the big brother I had always wished for.

There are many times in my life that I live in the moment.  Then there are times when I am a little more contemplative.  This weekend had both.  I continue to be amazed by the seemingly random circumstances which have brought certain people into my life.  And I will continue to be grateful evermore.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

If You Have to Poop, Go Home

I met a new friend a few months ago. Her son was playing mixed doubles tennis with Kid C.  Kid C just took up tennis for the first time this winter. She’s playing well, but she just does not have much experience and she is still pretty timid with the ball.  Plus, there was something shiny up in the sky that probably distracted her.  Her partner was not at all thrilled with her level of play, but fortunately not much fazes Kid C.  They lost the match even though it was pretty close.  Kid C even commented in the car on the way home, “Today was really a great day, mom!”  You’ve got to love that kind of enthusiasm and positivity.

Even though the other kid was John McEnroe competitive, his mom was great.  We talked on the bench while the match was going on and I learned that she was living in a house on the corner that I admire every time I pass by.  There is a big black lab in the front yard who takes his guard duties very seriously.  There are always great seasonal decorations throughout the year.  It just looks like a really fun house to live in.  But most importantly, there is always a football game going on in their front yard.  The boys are in the eight to ten-year old range (I’m guessing) and they are always out there playing. My oldest son (Kid D) is only six and is more of a baseball kid.  I always say that I’m just going to send him on down to that house to toughen up and learn to play some real sports.

So when I tell the football house mom this, she proceeds to tell me that she has become somewhat of a tough cookie when it comes to playing at her house.  This is obviously not her first rodeo. Here are the rules for playing at  her house:

  1. If you are a cry baby, don’t even show up.
  2. If they’re playing tackle and somebody gets hurt or maimed, it is an automatic switch to flag.
  3. This isn’t a restaurant, so don’t expect food or drinks.
  4. If you have to pee, go outside.
  5. If you have to poop, go home.

I am guessing that she has had to learn some lessons the hard way.  Despite these rules, and her unrelenting enforcement of them, her yard is always full of kids (and oftentimes dads too).  They are always running and playing and yelling.  It makes me smile every time I pass by.  There is something to be said for letting people know your rules.

Try to make a short list of your own house rules.  Write them down and display them where everybody can see them.  That way there is no question when it comes to your expectations.  You can make them about anything.  Try starting with things you find yourself saying over a hundred times per day.  No hitting.  No whining.  No jumping on the furniture.  Speak kindly to one another.  Do your chores without being asked.  No cursing before lunchtime.  No entertaining guests in your bedroom.  And, of course, if you have to poop, go home.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…