This is my daughter, on a recent trout-fishing trip.
She's got a trout on, the largest one of that day's catch, and she's reeling it in while Bill waits closer to the water with a net.
See her stance? Feet planted, legs slightly bent, holding the pole tightly and reeling for all she's worth? See the bend in the pole? That fish is toast.
And see her face?
Here, I'll move in closer for you.
There. See her face?
That is a face that says "Trout? You are MINE. You'd have to pry this pole from my cold, dead fingers if you want to escape, Mister Trout!" Okay, maybe she wouldn't say that. On second thought, she probably would.
Here's another picture taken a moment or so later.
So that's my daughter.
Of course, so is this:
No, she and her brother and his friend were playing "bears" and crawling around over and under the walkway, and she slipped or something and scraped her side on either a rock or part of the wooden planks that made up the walkway.
That happened right before I took this little series of pictures, and she couldn't stop crying. Her side was scraped up (though not deeply) and it stung. So she gamely stood for the picture, but couldn't disguise her pain.
This next one is even more heartbreaking to look at.
And that's Julia. Some of her. She is a tough little cookie and she gets hurt, which those of you who have been reading the continuing saga of my family for the past several years will know.
So I tell you, or remind you of, all that to segue into this next chapter of Julia's life.
She's in kindergarten, and she DESPERATELY wants to lose a tooth. She's wanted to lose one since school started in September, I think. Alex lost his first tooth in Kindergarten, after all, and one by one her classmates are losing them, and so far she (in her mind) is the only one with a full set of teeth.
She has wanted a wiggly tooth so badly that she started wiggling one of the bottom ones MONTHS ago, claiming it was wiggly when in fact it was just as solidly placed and immobile as the rest of them.
But she wanted a wiggly tooth, and I am pretty darn sure that she GAVE herself one.
Yesterday when I brought her to school, I had to run in and ask her teacher a question before class started. So Julia was down the hall, lined up with the assistant teacher and her classmates, while I hurried down to the classroom. ("Why is Julia's mom in our school!?" Those five-year-olds are awfully…territorial.)
Anyway, I chatted with her teacher and was about to leave when the kids started marching in a nice, orderly line into the room. "Look at Julia!" I heard, and then she was there, one finger in her mouth, pressing on that poor, innocent tooth. "Mom!" she said around her finger, "My tooth is wiggling a LOT!"
I looked, and that little baby tooth was surrounded by blood. Lovely. I (nicely) told her to leave the tooth alone so it wouldn't bleed more, but I found out later on that of course she hadn't, and that eventually blood ran down her chin. She'd been chewing on the nylon strap of her backpack, she told me this morning, and bit down on THAT tooth, and I'm guessing it was already a tad wiggly from all her ministrations, and when she bit, probably at JUST the right angle, the pressure shoved that tooth further out of alignment and caused the blood to flow.
Julia + blood = typical.
So she has a MORE wiggly tooth now. It's still not at that incredibly loose floppy state, but it's loose. I don't doubt it will be under her pillow before the end of the school year.
The thing is, now that it's wigglier, it's causing her MORE distress. My thinking is that if the tooth had been ready to be wiggly, it wouldn't hurt so much when it makes contact with things – like nylone backpack straps, or forks, or food. But she's been messing with it so much, it's probably sore and irritated and hypersensitive now. Or, more correctly, the flesh surrounding said tooth is sore and irritated and hypersensitive now. I think I know how it feels sometimes.
So as joyful as she was yesterday after school, she was just as miserable at dinner, trying to chew little pieces of food without nudging her tooth. She ended up, predictably, in tears of pain and frustration.
"I HATE my wiggly tooth!" and she ran from the table, sobbing.
She said that again this morning as she struggled to chew her scrambled eggs.
There is no middle ground with this child. There are very high highs, and low lows.
How many baby teeth are there? Twenty?
This is going to be LOTS of fun.