This is Bambino. It’s nearly 12 years ago – Midsummer’s Eve 2007 to be exact – and we were on our way to the Swedish Church for celebrations with my friend E. I never put photos on this blog of anyone else, Bambino included, because I don’t think it’s right unless that person has expressly said it’s OK. In this case I feel it’s OK. Bambino doesn’t look like this anymore, except for his huge blue eyes. Now he’s a lanky 14-yearold with dark fluff on his top lip. I’d like to think I look exactly the same, but alas….
Unfortunately for Bambino, it would seem he’s inherited his teeth from me. Sort of like he was God’s last appointment that day, when God was tired and just wanted to get home and therefore just threw a handful of teeth in there. So he’s getting braces and because his gob is quite crowded, some teeth have to come out. He had two out this morning and back again tomorrow for another two. Let me just say I still feel sick. We both needed a lie-down after that ordeal. Can I just warn you right now that further down there’s a horrible picture of a horror tooth. It’s the devil of all teeth, I swear. The picture does NOT do it justice, it’s a mean son of a gun this one.
Now, Bambino is – in spite of his neurotic mother – a really resilient and robust little dude. He’s never been one to kick up a fuss. I sat with him at the hospital the time he’d banged his head at school and had a big gash on his forehead that the doctor had to stitch up – bit weepy and clearly upset but not a peep. He just got on with it whilst I couldn’t even look, bravely just dealing with it, his big eyes looking up at the doctor for reassurance occasionally. Then there was the time he was violently sick, he was five or six at the time, and retching so much he lost his breath, plus he had a raging temperature too. In between violent heaving that made his tiny little torso contract, he whispered “OK, it’s OK” like an instruction to himself. Bambino is an absolute trooper, so much braver than I’ve ever been, calm and with the endurance of a super hero. God, I admire my little man so much, he’s something else that boy.
He’s had a tooth pulled before and it wasn’t fun, but it was what it normally is – unpleasant but doesn’t take very long and once you’re nice and numb it’s rarely a matter of more than five or ten minutes to get it out, right? And who likes needles? But he’s done it before and whilst he wasn’t looking forward to it, he was as chilled out as always and there was zero complaining or worry on his part.
This was something else though. The first tooth to go was a molar and they had to get that one as it had a filling and better to take a “bad” tooth than a healthy one. The dentist said it’d be trickier to get out as it had roots that were bending outwards so Bambino was clear on that it’d go on for perhaps a little longer. He seemed more concerned about the needle beforehand, but just asked how long that part would take and was happy with the response of just a minute. THE DAMN THING TOOK 45 MINUTES TO COME OUT. As Bambino is underage, I had to be present and I’ve never fought so hard to keep a calm demeanour. Smiled encouragingly at Bambino any time there was a break and he sought my eyes but I felt like throwing up the whole time. When the dentist was at it, I had my eyes closed and tried to think about something else.
“This tooth is very attached to you,” the dentist said as she once again had the nurse cleaning up a little saliva and blood.
Bambino got several more rounds of the needle to ease the discomfort. It was brutal and I was breaking inside. The dentist’s neck was blotchy and she was visibly stressed-out too. I expected her to go and ask for help at any minute. She had told us beforehand that there was a risk of the roots breaking off, in which case Bambino would have to go to a dental surgeon, but after much pushing and pulling and pained groans and whimpers from Bambino, the devil tooth finally came out. Now, my kid isn’t one for crying. When Bambino cries, you know it’s bad. He was white as a sheet and shaking, a few tears rolling down his lovely face as he shakily removed the goggles to wipe them away as the nurse was dabbing at his mouth. It was vicious, I feel like crying just writing this. And after that ordeal there was still one more to go, but this one of the more normal kind and although there were a couple more injections, ten minutes and it was over.
I was last out of the room and the dentist put a hand to her chest and mouthed “oh my God” to me.
Out in the car Bambino hunched over and cried. When my robust little trooper cries, it means there’s MORE than reason to and anyone else would have lost it completely. And he has to go back again tomorrow for another two. So, so brave, this little dude, and I’m so proud of him. And why talk about this on this sobriety blog? Well, because I was a good mum today. I was present and calm and I looked after my kid. I was at my full faculties. I was a good mum today because I’m sober. If I’d been hungover I would have fainted or had a complete breakdown. I wouldn’t have been able to be there for Bambino in the same way when I was still drinking. Sober, it would appear I’m a lot more like Bambino, actually: pretty brave and pretty calm and pretty strong.
Here’s the devil tooth – just look at that evil, evil thing:
Today I’m not going to drink.