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  • Writer's pictureThis Knight Life

Jesse, his tooth & the granite shelf...

Updated: Dec 1, 2017

It's a mother's phrase, but I hate being right (nearly) all the time.

This photo of our beautiful sleeping Jesse was taken Monday 29th August 2016. I know this, not because the photo is date-stamped, but because it was taken at the end of our first day in Cornwall last year, and about 12 hours after this beautiful little laddy smashed his front teeth on a thick stone slab.

We'd arrived at our holiday cottage the night before, a lovely stone-built byre converted into a cosy retreat we were thoroughly looking forward to relaxing in. Jesse had just turned two a fortnight before, so I did the usual scan for sharp corners, trip hazards, open flames etc. The fireplace was formed from various slabs of riven granite or slate, and presenting a series of shelves for the storage of logs, books and other bits. Within a few minutes of being in that cottage, I'd clocked it. 'We need to put something infront of those stone slabs,' I said, 'If Jesse trips on the edge of this rug, he'll end up mouth first on those edges.'

Jim agreed, but it wasn't pressing. It was getting on, Jesse would be in bed shortly, we'd do it in the morning.

And we would've done it in the morning, just as soon as we were all up and past our first cup of tea of the day.

It was just after 7am. I was perched on the loo in the en suite when Jesse galloped into the lounge to find his daddy. And then the screaming began.

Mouths bleed terribly

Anyone who's seen a mouth injury will tell you of Biblical blood. Mouths bleed terribly.

I managed to get a look in there as Jesse grappled with the pain. Two jagged stubs poked from where his now dark purple gums bled and bled and bled. I thought he'd broken them clean off. I walked him all around the cottage, chattering to the cows in the neighbouring fields until he calmed enough to be reassured and strapped into his car seat for a run to the nearest A&E.

The neighbouring holiday-maker spoke to Jim, sharing tales of his own little girl's similar accident, and how after a raging infection later on she had to have her front teeth removed.

So a pretty rubbish day that first one. Mostly spent in Bodmin Hospital. Which fortunately has an emergency dental unit. Jesse obviously wouldn't let anyone near him. They were brilliant but all they could offer us was the advice to take his dummy away, to give the blood supply in his gums the best chance of serving the teeth, and hopefully saving them. He'd broken the bottom off both front teeth, so they were nice and sharp to make things really unpleasant for him, but he hadn't broken off as much as we'd thought. Most of Jesse's teeth had been pushed back up into his gums, but would (and did) make their way back down again over the following months.

We spent what was left of that first day in Padstow, solemnly catching crabs. Jesse didn't eat all day, and in and amongst all that agony and trauma he couldn't even have a good suck on his dummy. He hasn't had a dummy since.

Over the last year, he has had a recurring infection above one of those teeth. And there's obviously something going on in his gum, as what was a beautifully straight tooth has moved in front of its neighbour over time. Taking it out is still an option my dentist keeps mentioning. Which doesn't do much for the old guilty conscience.

Parenting is all about the guilt

I shouldn't have left buffering that granite shelf until the morning. I should've dealt with it. But I didn't. Which is rubbish.

But I will take the photograph up top, of my lovely boy sleeping, despite knowing the damage under that swollen lip, as a silver-lining. Without the dummies, it was the first time I got to watch him sleep and see all of his beautiful face.


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