Monday, September 14, 2015

My Hidden Talent

Bedtime is crazy around here. Showers, teeth brushing, chores, last-minute backpack checks, prayers and bedtime stories.

Just as the whole circus was winding down for the night, my phone pinged with a text alert.

I heard you are a professional teeth puller?

If you aren't a dentist, how does one respond to such a question?

Don't know where you heard that.

Then I waited a moment.

But it's kinda true. What do you need?

My friend responded that her second grader had a wiggly tooth and she doesn't do teeth. I found out that Brad stopped by their house in the middle of a tooth pulling commotion and recommended me.

You see, I do have a thing about pulling teeth. I like it. That's weird, right? I know. I've been told that dozens of times. My kids could tell you stories . . .

I texted back that I was on my way, and once the kids were all settled down, I went around the corner to investigate the tooth issue. Brad was in the kitchen, along with most of the extended family, and the second-grade boy looked at me like, "What is she doing here?"

Never one to waste time on unnecessary pleasantries, I asked him if I could feel his tooth. It was loose, but not as ready as I normally like them to be before I extract them. His mom was insisting that I pull it, and I couldn't disappoint the crowd, right?

I grabbed a paper towel and told him I was going to pull and that it would hurt but it would soon be out. Still not believing a lady he had seen a only few times was asking to pull his tooth, he sat on the barstool and halfway opened his mouth.

Using the paper towel, I gave it a good yank, but it didn't quite come out. What did come out was blood. A lot of it, to be honest. I held the towel to his tooth and said, "We're almost done. You can do it!" He then started babbling--not crying at all, but saying stuff like, "There's blood. Is that my blood? Is she really pulling my tooth? Why is there blood?" I knew that it must have hurt when I yanked that first time, but I knew that the tooth really was hanging by a thread now, and one more small pull would get it out. The one thing I wanted to avoid was him getting really upset.

So, I reverted to a long-standing tooth pulling trick of mine--bribery. I beg my kids to let me pull their teeth when they're loose, and when my nephew was little (he's now 22 and would be humiliated if he knew I was writing this, but lucky for me he doesn't read my blog anyway), his mom and I paid him a total of $15 to let me pull one of his teeth. It's become a family legend of sorts. Except it's completely true, and I'm still alive to tell the tale.

"Hey, buddy. What's your favorite ice cream? Ice cream is the best thing ever to get a tooth to stop bleeding. Does your nana have some ice cream? Can I bring you some ice cream tomorrow if you let me finish pulling your tooth?"

That's all it took. From behind his think black-rimmed glasses, he blinked at me, and asked, "Could it be vanilla?"

I took that as permission, reached into his mouth, and before anyone in the room could contest the ice cream choice, the tooth lay in my hand.

Almost like he was in shock and through the bloodied paper towel, he said, "Is that my tooth? Did you really just pull it? Why is there so much blood?"

And with that, my work was finished. I turned to go, leaving seven speechless adults, a not unhappy second grader, and a mouthless tooth on the counter in my wake.

Next day I sent a text to his mom, asking if I could bring by his top-of-the-line single serving of vanilla ice cream. This was her response:

You are hilarious and such a blessing! He woke up this morning and first thing he said was, "I did not know that she was such a good tooth puller. She is amazing!" He was more impressed by your skills than he was with the tooth fairy money!"

There you go. If you ever need an amazing tooth puller, one endorsed by kids and adults alike, then I'm your girl.


  1. I had no idea! I could have used you some 30 years ago, but I imagine you were still honing your craft back then. Katie's brother was our Chief Tooth Extractor.

  2. Ugh. Two things in life gross me out (well, three if you count sushi!) pulling teeth and lost toenails or fingernails. Glad to see that someone doesn't mind it.

  3. Cute story! I have paid my own children as well as some of my friends' children to let me pull their teeth. (Hint...they will let you for a dollar or two just as easliy) I love pulling teeth...and I hate to see them just dangling there. :)