So there I was, leaving a meeting last Wednesday night, at a few minutes to seven, when I got the message that one of the boys had knocked out a tooth. Now I know it might sound wrong to someone, but my spoken reaction was, "please tell me it's the one who only has milk teeth."
Of course it wouldn't be any such easy drama. And to think that I've been nothing but helpful to the tooth fairy and her reputation, even against staunch Antiguan opposition. And, as a complete aside, can anyone tell me why it hurts mothers there, in that particular place, anytime they see or learn of their children being hurt?
Anyway, I breached all kinds of traffic laws to get home to find that it wasn't a complete knock out, but no less serious. Tooth - front tooth, to boot - was broken in half; nerve was exposed and the child was in pain and perplexed.
His first words to me were, "I'm not going to school like this."
Next he wanted to know if "there are professionals in Antigua" to fix his tooth.
Turns out that he's pleased with the dentistry, which has so far preserved the rest of the tooth and provided a filling that unless you were told, you wouldn't know a thing. But it's a shame really; the long road the boy will have - until between 16 and 18 - when he can get a "permanent" tooth replacement. In the while, this mommy will be cutting apples and the like for the lunch box.
And while my big one experience growing pains, my little one can't wait to grow up. He'll be four next week, but he's been spending his time trying to make a bargain to be four now and five by his birthday. His rationale is that he's getting taller. And every day, after taking his vitamins, he asks me how much taller he's gotten since the day before.
Now, if I say he's the same height, all heck breaks loose, ending with him informing me how little I know about these matters. And, by the way, "you can't even play football or run fast like me."
Oh well, is my usual answer. But in the past week, the child has taken to quarrelling for a nighttime dosage of vitamins - and I mean real "ruction." And the boy really thinks my lack of cooperation is the reason he can't fast-forward from three to five. His arguments - or maybe it's the whining - have been so compelling that even Daddy-you-can't-lay-down-the-law-like-me begged for a second vitamin capsule for him the other night. My insistence was met with the boy telling me he wasn't going to be my friend anymore and anyhow he is going to be taller than me. As if the latter is a feat.
Anyway, after I told him, "well too bad for you," the retort came - "not too bad for me; too bad for all the other people in the world." All I'm saying is next week is going to be interesting when we get to that part of the birthday song that says, "Tell us how old are you."
As I take my leave this week, I'll just repeat something I've said before, about some things being innate for boys. What do I mean? My third grader came home on Monday asking how come his teacher said Mother's Day is this Sunday.
What he was talking about was Mothering Day. And as soon as I pointed that out, his first question was, "is there a daddering day?"
Listen, ya'll, Friday is International Women's Day, and, in keeping with the campaign started earlier this week on the radio, I'm woman enough to raise my boys to know that this world is not a man's world; it's our world.