I turned from tending to Hope in her highchair to notice that Brian was barely eating his breakfast.
"Brian, we have to step it up - I don't want you to miss your bus!" I encouraged.
"Mommy, it hurts when I drink from my cup - and when I eat," he explained.
My mind raced everywhere but the obvious. A character flaw, I know. After a few moments it hit me...
"Brian - let's check to see if one of your teeth are loose!"
His eyes widened in a combination of excitement and fear. Sure enough, his bottom front tooth was wiggly! His first loose tooth!!!
I talked it up. How awesome! Your friends have been losing their teeth - and now you are about to lose yours! What do you think the tooth fairy will put under your pillow?! This is SO GREAT!
Except...I could tell he was thinking, "This is not so great."
Shortly after my pep talk, his eyes welled with tears. Have I ever mentioned that I am a total sucker for tears? He told me his mouth hurt. And he confessed that he was afraid to lose his tooth. Not for it to fall out...as much as to literally lose it.
Unfortunately, the clock was ticking. And suddenly I remembered - crap! I made him a sandwich for lunch!! I ran to the fridge and quickly swapped his sandwich for yogurts. I had him gulp down a dose of Tylenol figuring, well, it couldn't hurt. The entire time I was scrambling...he was sobbing.
I am a complete sucker for tears.
I tried not to feed into it too much. I gave him one of my best motivational speeches. It was like a "mountaintop worthy" kind of speech - really! And I'm usually able to redirect and distract him at the same time with these talks - changing his mood.
He wasn't buying a thing I was selling.
I pulled him close to me in a long, deserving hug. No matter why he felt the way he did, I wanted to console him. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to motivate him out of his feelings in the first place. Maybe I should have just come down from my mountaintop and led with the long hug. I'll file that away for the next time.
Suddenly I heard the familiar sound of the bus chugging around the corner and it was time to send my tearful, loose-toothed boy to school. As soon as he saw a hint of yellow, he quickly dried his eyes with his coat and walked away.
All morning I worried. I hated sending him to school upset. So I called. The school secretary and I had a nice chat. She even called up to the classroom to secretly check on Brian for me. His teacher reported that she wouldn't have known there had been any problem at all that morning. He was as happy as always!
I was more excited than usual for him to come home today. Anxious, too. Would he come home happy? Sad? Toothless, even?
The bus pulled up and Brian came bounding out with a huge smile.
"Goodbye" he shouted back to the bus, furiously waving at the bus driver and his friends.
"Mom - look - is my tooth still there in my mouth??" he asked.
"It is! How are you feeling? I was so worried about you all day!" I replied.
He looked up at me with a stunned face.
"Why were you worried about me?" he questioned.
"Because of this morning! Remember this morning when you were so upset? And you said your mouth hurt? I felt horrible sending you to school with tears!" I explained.
"Mommy. Remember when you told me that losing my tooth means I am growing up and will be such a big boy? Is that real?" he asked.
"That's real!" I said.
"Ok. I'll let you know when it happens then," he told me.
"I'll know, buddy. I'll know. That day will be here before we know it," I sighed.
"Oh, and one more thing. Did you know that my friend said I could get a hundred dollars from the Tooth Fairy??!!??"
Here I go - back up on that mountaintop.