I’ve never really thought of myself as a squeamish person. I’ve never fainted at the sight of needles, or retched at the sight of blood, and one time I gave myself a really bad papercut but I was really brave and held back the tears. Anyway: I’d never thought of myself as squeamish, until my eldest son got a wobbly tooth. Now I realise just how much of a pansy I really am.
I’m even trained in First Aid, for crying out loud. What good is a First Aider who passes out at the sight of a little gore? No good, is the answer. You’d need two First Aiders to sort the mess I’d left: one to get me in the recovery position, and another to sort out the person with the original injury. (Unless that First Aider was also squeamish, in which case they’d faint too, and the whole thing would just go on forever like a terrible chain of human dominos.)
“Look at my wobbly tooth, Daddy!” Isaac yells, running up to me, jutting out his lower jaw and waggling a tooth with his fingertip. It rocks back and forward, pushing and pulling against the gum, and my face is all like:
It’s just the most disgusting thing ever, and reminds me of when I were a lad and my teeth were falling out, sitting on my bed hunched over a mirror and twisting my tooth as much as I dared before hooking a fingertip beneath it and levering it out. There was the odd feeling of relief when it popped out of your gum, and you’d tongue the fleshy, gummy, slightly bloodied gap as you rolled the freshly plucked tooth around your palm.
At the time, you were spurred on by the promise of the tooth fairy. You knew it was all a myth, but the thought of a fifty pence piece underneath your pillow the next morning gave you the impetus to yank out any tooth which even hinted at being wobbly.
But now, as an adult looking on, the whole thing is just really, really disgusting. This is what a child’s skull looks like, for example, when the adult teeth are waiting to come through. Yeah, it’s a cutaway, but it’s still something that horror films are made of.
And, as if the tooth waggling and pulling isn’t bad enough to begin with, the whole thing actually costs me money. At this rate, Isaac will be bleeding me so dry that I’ll struggle to pay for my groceries in Asda. Unless, of course, the cashier will accept a couple of molars instead.