Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The free sandwich that cost a tooth.

Okay, I may or may not have eaten Chick Fil-A for two meals yesterday. Also, that’s not really the most significant thing that happened. I’m a sucker for a giveaway or a coupon or a meal deal, so I should know better… in this case if we’d just stayed home and eaten PBJ we’d have two more teeth in our family. Well, one and a half…

Tuesday I forgot my lunch. I made an executive decision to hit up Taco Bell at lunch time, and I figured I had exactly enough time to run to the staff lounge to check on some sign-in sheets I was overseeing, then leave to visit the Bell. On my way up to the staff lounge I remembered that I had something like $11 left on my lunch account at school, so I really should be buying lunch there instead of spending the extra money. $11 might make or break us this month. No, not kidding. I know, you’re wondering where all this is going and how it gets to a tooth. Trust me. It gets there.

So I go in the staff lounge and there’s this girl with curly hair and braces standing there with an ice chest full of Chick Fil-A, handing them out. Naturally, I assume I’ve walked in on some secret meeting of the Chick Fil-A Purchasing Awesome People’s Club of our High School, so I turn to head back out the door when I hear her say, “Hey, do you work here? Want a free sandwich?” Yes. Yes I do. After this I see that there’s a tea house that’s also brought all kinds of interesting iced teas. For $Free.99. Score. There’s something so delicious about free food at the end of the month.

Part of the deal with these places was a coupon for another free thing when you came into the store. Being the fool for advertising that I am, I convinced E that we needed to combine said free coupon with the Tuesday night ‘Kids Eat Free’ deal and get ourselves some Chick. Yes, FOR THE SECOND TIME THAT DAY. It’s that time of the month, okay? LAY OFF ME, I'M STARVING.

We hit up the Chick—because I’m nothing if not healthy—and our friends ML/B were there at the same time. We picked out a table for the kids and one for us and we sat down to catch up. Nothing like a swanky restaurant for us… Actually, it’s nice to see ML/B any time we see them, and we often frequent fine dining establishments like the local Froyo place, so this was no prob. I like that about them. They’re so normal. Anyhoot, we all ate and the kids were bouncing out of their skin to go play in the play place, so I sent E over to check it out and then we let them go.

ML/B’s son, Carter, is a year younger than Henry, so sometimes he needs a little bit more reassuring. He was in and out of the play place a few times but we didn’t think anything of it. The place was SWARMING with kids, but the way they have the play structure set up, it’s pretty isolated—doesn’t open up to the outside or anything so it was no big deal that the kids were over there by themselves. We could see them in the window and we waved to them every once in a while between catching up on grownup business. (Side note: some day ML/B and Heric will have a grownup double date wherin they will be able to have complete, uninterrupted adult conversations without having to stop and wipe noses or say ‘be careful, sweetie’ or get somebody a drink of water. Someday. I’m an optimist.)

So we’re all there in our happy Chicken-fueled world with Honey Mustard on the side, and suddenly the door of the play place lets open and a bloodcurdling scream flies out. Whose child is making that awful noise? I don’t even have to look. I feel that scream in my bones. I hear E say “it’s Henry” and I’m up and out of my seat, running to my poor boy who is crying and bleeding profusely from his mouth. Crazies abandoned, I go into full Mama Bear mode. I scoop him up and hold him so tight. Nothing hurts me like these monkeys being in pain. I look down and I see that there’s a hole where his front tooth was. Oh. My. God.

Poor bud. I know that losing a tooth is pretty mild on the list of things a kid can do, but he’s screaming. He’s bleeding. I’m scared it broke off or that he did some damage to his face or his jaw. His lip is swollen, bleeding some more. There’s snot pouring down his upper lip and his whole face is wet. I don’t even remember where everybody else at our table went, I think B went to get some ice, and I learned later that E went into the play structure in full Papa Bear mode and had all the kids in there searching for the lost tooth with healthy fear.

I love how we instantly snap into our natural states when our kid is in pain—I want to scoop and nurture, or maybe just completely cover him like he's my Kangaroo baby, E wants to find the kid who did this to his little by and put the fear of God into him. It’s a good thing for the other kids that E quickly discovered that this was just an accident—Henry just tripped over his own feet and caught his fall with his face. Not great for the teeth. Better for the other kids.

Every eye in that Chick Fil-A is on us by that point. There’s maybe 1.2 million kids in there because it’s free kid night, and I am sure I know at least 50 of the families. Okay, that might be hyperbole. Everyone’s being really nice, but I have a feeling that his screams are slightly disruptive to the tranquil dining experience that is Chick Fil-A on free kid meal night. I feel so bad. Everything is a blur, and we make our way to the parking lot. Poor Carter. He was so worried about Henry. I wedge myself in between kids in the back seat and I’m practically still holding Henry except that his butt is strapped in to his seat belt.

E and I are not sure what to do, and we don’t know if his lip is busted so bad he needs to see a doctor, or what. We drive home like that, me fighting back tears and Henry being a brave little man with a lot of blood coming from the new hole in his face. E was (shh!) on his cell phone on the way home, no bluetooth, calling the doctor. Two things about this: I am sure he was just waiting—WAITING—for some cop to pull him over in the middle of all that madness so he could unleash his inner Papa Bear on to the poor unsuspecting officer. I kept glancing out the window and saying silent prayers of thanks that there were no cops around. But the other thing was that our stupid Health Care makes you talk to the person before the nurse, and then the nurse, and everybody wants you to recite your contact information, phone number, cell number, blah, blah, blah, blah, blee, which is REALLY SUPER FREAKING AWESOME when your kid is losing it and you’re helpless to make it better.

So, we got through to someone which just resulted in them saying that we needed to call the dentist emergency number… so we did that, and Dr. Christie agreed to meet us ASAP at the office. Side note #2: Dr. Christie is awesome. I don’t just mean for Henry, she was great for us. We get home (gosh, this is getting pretty long, sorry…) and I basically hold Hank so tight he’s practically back in my womb. E tells him he can do whatever he wants to do until we go, and there’s a lot more crying and some pitiful attempts to drink water (he tried to bite on some ice… not good…) and we get him to down some Tylenol.

As a mom, there are times when I feel like the whole Tylenol thing is just a joke. I know it can bring down fevers, but I know that for myself, Tylenol is about as effective as blowing a dandelion into the wind when it comes to pain management. I give him the Tylenol, but in my head I’m like wow, this is going to make a huge difference. Luckily, Hank’s big on the placebo effects of medicine. He’s instantly convinced he feels a little better.

Next we have to do the babysitter scramble, which involves calling April (who NEVER—and I mean NEVER answers her phone) and Lis at the same time. April calls back (which is how it works—you call her, not leaving a message because she won’t listen to it, and then she calls you back. It’s a science, but we know the drill now so it's cool...) and Lis agrees to watch Roo so we decide during our simultaneous phone conversations that April will just come over because she’s close and we don’t know how long this will take.

So we go see Dr. Christie and Henry brings Green (the blankie) and Odie (puppy is STILL missing—don’t even get me started on that or I’m going to cry all over again) and he’s (Henry, not Odie) very brave. She takes some X-rays and he talks her ear off and he doesn’t cry or anything, even when she nudges the second tooth back into its downward-pointing position. (It had been knocked back toward the back of his mouth.) He was such a good boy.

The verdict? The one tooth is gone—we never found it so we’re convinced he ate it—and the root and everything came clean out. The other one is Wiggles McGee, so it’s probably coming out in the next few days or weeks. The dentist said his adult teeth were fine and he didn’t need stitches, so we headed back home and stopped for a Wendy’s Frosty for the poor kid. Yes, because again, I'm all about health.

I took this last night, and he was in a good mood post-Frosty… we had also been talking about the Tooth Fairy’s first visit, which ended up being a big deal for my little man this morning. Gosh.


He’s okay today, though he’s talking with a bit of a lisp because of the fat lip and his new “window,” as Ad’s teacher, Mrs. Pivonka would say. He’s more swollen than when I took the pic last night, but we’re happy it wasn’t worse. Poor bud.

What an adventure. At least he has a good story about how he lost his first tooth. Roo just lost hers in a hot dog at Costco.


  1. Normal? Really... we are? :) Hooray for ML/B and Heric someday having an adults only double date - maybe before our kids can drive? Thanks for using the nickname. Glad H is doing OK today - Carter was telling my mom about it today and was concerned for his "buddy." Not the best way to end an evening, eh?

  2. How cute that Carter was concerned for his buddy!

    And I never actually answered my phone that night, because it was on silent. You had to call on Grant's phone.

    P.S. We do have a house phone...