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The clumsy days

Beatrix lost her two front teeth at the beginning of the school year. She looked predictably adorable. Slowly, her self-proclaimed buck teeth are descending into place. She frequently provides progress reports: “My buck teeth are about half-way grown!” I look and realize she doesn’t understand how big they will be. Her half-way is reality’s 25%. They’ll be long and strong and massive.

Tooth-challenged on her birthday a month ago

Imagine a seven-year-old with her adult-sized feet or adult-length arms. It’s funny, discordant, like a cartoon. That’s what happens with teeth, though. These are years where Chips and Dales are sitting at small desks learning how to write cursive. The big teeth are just as adorable as baby teeth were at 12 months, just as adorable as the gaps in early elementary school. They’re clumsy and new in a kid who is getting older and older.


Ollie’s cast was removed one day early. During his bath yesterday morning, something went awry and water got inside. I used a blow-dryer on cool to try to dry it out. If you think a very new one-year-old would be patient and understanding as mama points a noisy blast of air down into that dumb blue thing that’s weirdly encasing your arm, you’d be mistaken. Sadly mistaken. He wasn’t down with it. I called the ortho clinic and told them about the wet cast. They didn’t want to risk his skin (I agreed). With a half-hour notice, I took him to have it buzzed and cracked open.

toddler in arm cast

Last pic of Ollie's cast! Smell ya later!

I may have heard the cast hiss as it released three weeks worth of baby funk. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. After the cast tech left the room, I smelled it. Yes, I did.

The PA who examined his arm warned he’d be a little clumsy for a few days. His arm would feel light (based on what older kids say when they get casts removed.) His skin would be sensitive, his arm muscles slightly atrophied, his joints would be stiff. He won’t regain his full range of motion for a week or two. This is a dangerous time for re-injury.

Once home, he tried crawling. It’s been awkward for him. His arm is bowed to the side, almost in the same shape it was in the cast. It’s stiff and he continues favoring his left arm and hand. Time and use will be his friends. For now, he’s still unsure.


Sam and Tommy are playing competitive soccer for the first time, ever. They are on the same team and Lee is the coach! It’s been a family endeavor. Not only am I suddenly a soccer mom, I’m a coach’s wife. There’s a good chance today will be their last game. They aren’t the best team, but they aren’t the worst, either. If they win, they live another day, but I find myself telling others that today is it, pack up the cleats and shin guards, launder the uniforms, time to move on. I catch myself, embarrassed.

I have a lot to learn. I’m a clumsy sports mom and coach’s wife. I’m not a sporty person. I’d be just as shocked to wake up tomorrow married to the governor…or wake up as governor. Sam is just as surprised to find himself playing soccer. He’s a self-declared nerd who spent one trip to Costco with me talking about how ludicrous and funny it is he plays soccer. The past two months have been a revelation for both of us. One morning, you wake up doing stuff you never thought you’d do, and it’s not terrible? Wow.

If next year finds Tommy lacing up cleats (Sam will be in high school, movin’ on) and my husband with a clipboard, I’ll try to do better. I’ll be more wildly optimistic, less chatty about team business, and maybe I’ll organize some sort of orange-bringing brigade.

I didn’t know about oranges.

1 comment to The clumsy days

  • Stephanie

    Those big, grown up teeth are adorable, aren’t they? Jules’ teeth are maybe 50% in, and they are strong and big indeed.

    As for soccer mom/wife, the tales I could tell. Mostly about how NOT to do it. You’d think that after 16 years I’d be better. Nope. I think I might actually feel more comfortable if I did wake up as the governor 🙂 So good job, you, for cheering them on. That’s really the most important part anyway!

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