February 8, 2016

Elena’s icy bloody Sunday

January 10th…a day that began with delight but ended bloody. Sound ominous? Let me explain.

Scuttle skating at Kodomo no Kuni Rink
My wife and I had decided we would take the girls out skating this year. Like having a “real” Christmas, I was resolute to provide them some Canadian content by strapping on the blades. So, off we went to Kid’s Country (Kodomo no Kuni) which has an outdoor rink during winter. As mental prep, I told them that I first put on skates at two years old and played ice hockey until junior high school. This left them visibly unimpressed.
Changing tactics, I said if they didn’t moan and complain about the skates, and gave it a real try, we’d “think about” a sugary celebration after the skating was done. That got their positive attention. To my surprise, Elena had remembered some of her previous ice adventures, and took to the idea immediately. Marina was a real gamer and didn’t complain too much once we adjusted the skates to her feet. It was her skating debut.
I coached them all a bit even though I felt my own lack of ice time would affect my authority should I dump it on the ice. Luckily for me, there were about 5,000 people crammed onto the regulation rink’s space, so there was no way to fall over. It was like a mosh pit at a Rage Against The Machine concert.
And yet we managed to have a wonderful afternoon in the sun; it was about ten degrees Celsius out, yet the ice was firm, with Zambonis periodically prowling the surface, thus just a little bit of Canada was magically transferred to Yokohama for the afternoon. The Rising Family™ had some good old-fashioned fun. No budding Kristi Yamaguchis in this lot, though.

Tenacious tooth tale
Lady E. lost a few teeth over the past few years and she currently sports a gap between her two upper front tusks that would make Vanessa Paradis proud. We are taking metal countermeasures for that; namely, braces. But her remaining baby teeth keep popping out—she’s at that stage.

After a wonderful day of skating and then dinner at Kappa Sushi, the kids went to bed. Soon afterward, Elena came out of her bedroom and said that her latest wobbly tooth was hurting. She demonstrated with a probe, visibly in pain. I said she had to choose whether she wanted to wait or to take matters into her own hands. To my surprise, she chose the latter.
She was sniffling and quite agitated, so I knew was time to shift into Dad Mode. She wanted help, and my mission was to take her mind off the pain. So we used ice cubes to numb the gums, and I started in with distracting chatter. Gave her a toothpick and showed my boyhood technique to push and prod, twist and pull the errant tooth, then lift it up by its exposed bottom edge, and gently rip the remaining roots to pull it out. It’s painful. Almost as painful to watch your child in pain.

As her discomfort grew, so did her determination to get it over with. I was proud of her fortitude. I shifted into Barack Obama mode:

Me: “You can do it, E-chan. Say ‘I can do it.”
She repeated “I can do it” several times with genuine conviction. And she eventually pried the tooth out. I was – am – extremely proud of the toughness and guts she showed me.
We packed her gums with Kleenex to stem the bleeding, and she went back to bed, looking slightly satisfied. This ended one rather special Sunday for the Rising Family.

All I am wondering now is when will Elena finally put the tooth under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy to come?

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