Thursday, March 06, 2003

Teeth In, Teeth Out

I've been thinking about the word cranky, because the noise emanating from the family bed right now is a creak and a whine, primal, inarticulate, as if cranked from a wheezemaking machine, some sort of mind's-eye turbine. After four perfectly-behaved, from-nowhere incisors the baby is teething painfully on her fifth, an outoforder canine coming through with light blood all day. And the teething makes her congested, which makes her unhappy and choke-y. Darcie was in the bedroom cradling the baby while she snuffled; now she's running the bath for the steam while Willow gurgles and squirms in her vibrating chair.

And I've been thinking about family. Because this is really the longest we've spent together, the three of us, alone, and Willow's finally on the cusp of being a real person, not just a baby -- she has a personality all her own, and we've stopped doing to and started asking about. Words are about to happen -- the baby spent supper looking at the dog and saying "da," then looking at me and thinking. I think we've grown something, completed some stage of familyhood, in the past few days. And some of that's just the isolation, the privacy of us, that happens when the dormitory is otherwise empty and the snow falls all day unexpectedly.

Usually we are in the midst of bustling community, passing in waves just on the other side of the maple. Today we went to the Whately Diner, technically The Fillin' Station, and sat amongs the truckers and the college students, the only family in the place; you can tell it's a real trucker's diner because there's biscuits and sausage gravy on the menu, and because of the showers. And tomorrow we go to Boston for four days to visit my parents, a traveling home or oasis in the midst of the maddening crowd.

My sister's getting her wisdom teeth out tomorrow and will be around, supposedly. But that fact seems more outside us than it used to. They are somehow less my teeth than they once were, just this week, just now. Instead, my teeth are my family, coming in, new, a little painful sometimes. From close up, they look like her fingernails, like tiny crescent moons, breaking through the tiny pink flesh of her mouth.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:22 PM |

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