Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Sunday, July 3, 2011

icing on the tooth

My younger niece (my sister's daughter) is celebrating her first birthday this week. The milestone is actually the same day as her daddy's birthday :-D

So they had a party-- more like a mini casual reception-- yesterday. As my grandmother said-- (my 90 year old grandmother who scheduled a spontaneous trip to NJ so as to not miss her great granddaugther's first birthday celebration--) "it felt like someone rented a park for the day."

My brother-in-law has two green thumbs and managed to turn a woodsy yard into a landscaped garden that is nothing short of enchanting.

The celebration was not-too-themed, and nothing headache-provoking for the adults. Just bright and colorful and sunny, with just the right amount of fun (because, you know, there is such a thing as too much). 

Near the middle of the celebration a young musician arrived to play songs and instruments with the kids. We were gathered in the comfortable, yet beautiful high-ceiling living room with its two-story arched-top windows as he began with a guitar demonstration. I looked over at H and his face carried an odd expression. His mouth was moving as if there was a morsel of food in there, only I knew there wasn't. Then he stopped, the corners of his lips started to fall, and he looked like he was going to get sick. 

Both of his front teeth have been loose, but one significantly more so than the other because the adult tooth is already working its way down. Yesterday, at that moment, he began to feel it enough that it bothered him. (The day before it had been bleeding at one point, so we knew it was really ready to come out.) 

He became very upset, very quickly. As Dan and I sat in front of, and beside him, he kept taking Dan's finger and putting it in his mouth. He was pleading, "pleeease..." But he could not tolerate the sensation of Dan trying to get the tooth out. He was so conflicted between wanting the dangling thing removed already, but not being able to withstand it. He was simply in hysterics. It was heart-breaking. 

We took him away from the guests, downstairs to the couch in the basement. I asked him if he recognized it, as it used to be in our house. He either didn't or couldn't care less (not that I blame him, but sometimes changing the subject has a calming effect). We went through a good twenty minutes of my father holding him, and Dan trying to get the tooth out. I periodically walked away and went upstairs for more paper towel. Or water. I could barely tolerate the scene of his desperation and uncomfortableness. Finally I settled upstairs and decided to stay there. By the time the drama was over with, it was a half hour, & a half a gallon of tears, & a half a roll of paper towel later. The basement door opened and there stood H with a very unsure almost-smile on his sweet, tear-streaked face. 

We praised him so much and congratulated him to the point that he almost got upset again (I suppose unable to appropriately process all the attention).

Within minutes of re-joining the party, it was cake time. My niece's
personality just seems so developed for someone who is only in her first year. When I am watching what she's getting herself into, her delicious + chubby + magnificent + sweet + buddha-like features are captivating and distracting.

True to tradition, they presented her with her very own cake to plunge into. When she was done covering herself in dessert, her eyes appeared as if they were floating in her head from a sugary induced coma-like state of awake. It was absolutely fantastic and beyond adorable.

Dan's parents were there, too, and my mother-in-law and I were remembering Hayden's (at the time, confusing) reaction to his 1st birthday cake. Of course it was five years ago that he turned one, but I still recall how stressed and upset he was when we presented him with his own dessert to enjoy. At the time we did not understand, of course, and a part of me was disappointed. Things like "sensory processing disorder" were not yet in our vocabulary.

So yesterday, for me, it was a particularly precious experience watching my niece explore that cake almost as if she was putting on a show.

Hayden curiously, and enthusiastically, stood in front of her highchair during the dessert performance. Then he did something that Dan and I could not take our eyes off of. He actually stuck his finger in the cake, and it landed on some blue icing. He touched the sticky substance to his lips. Not only did he not throw up... there was not even a gag. We were FLOORED. 

I caught a picture of the two of them with the icing on their faces and it makes my eyes well up. 

On the ride home, the busy day + the exhaustion from the tooth drama, had him half-asleep within minutes. As we merged onto the first highway, a hip-hop song that Dan sometimes sings to him came on the radio. I heard clapping... So I turn around and Hayden, with his head still completely to the side and his eye lids barely able to stay open, has a near-smile on his face. His hands were unable to resist acknowledging the beat. He clapped a few times and then finished passing out ♥

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