The first tooth erupting through the gum of Small was a time of double celebration. Not only was it a major milestone for him to reach but he had managed to get there before all of his peers, which provided me with an opportunity to gloat, modestly.
The joy turned sour once I realised that teeth needed to be cleaned. Here was another battle to have with Small. First I had to get him used to me violating his personal space and shoving an alien thing, that tasted disgusting, in his mouth. Then, once that had been mastered, I needed to try and persuade him that it would be a good idea if he did it himself.
What followed was a constant battle with daily reminders that looks set to continue until Small is big enough to leave home and take responsibility for his own teeth.
In the meantime I have to deal with the dentist.
Even the dentist waiting room is like a torture chamber with its coffee machine, inviting scolding burns to the fiddling Small, the dripping water dispenser providing a background form of Chinese water torture and the horror pictures of rotting teeth cycling around on the TV monitor.
The examination itself leaves me with all those dreadful feelings of a college exam. Have I/Small been looking after those soft delicate teeth properly? Will I/Small pull off a pass?
The first filling was a dreadful moment. FAIL!
Whilst on the subject of teeth, Small 1 managed to kill one of his front teeth not long after he started toddling: he stumbled in the garden and landed tooth first on a flower pot. There was a lot of blood because the tooth had sliced into the soft inner lip. There was also a lot of wailing and screaming and charging about, which eventually got us to the doctors, where it was declared that Small would live, so we quietened down.
Not so much a parenting guide full of advice, more the reality of parenting kids and being a house husband and father, written by a stay at home dad to three children.
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