Claire became a woman yesterday. No, not in that way. C'mon. I know all that talking of "blooming" got you thinking about that. "That" day will come, but it's not yet. I'll be sure to let you know.
She got a bonded expander in the roof of her mouth to fix the problem I prepackaged and gave to her on the moment my egg met Paul Bunyan's sperm- or the other way around- or however it works. Anyway, she inherited my faulty underbite and developed her own sense of style by adding her own personal crossbite. It's a gorgeous sight. When the light of her crooked smile shone from her mouth, I pictured her on a talk show with the next Oprah espousing natural beauty and the need for women to accept their natural inherited faults.
And then the dentist said, "Yes. You can fix this now. Even though she's 8." For a small price.
And then the orthodontist said, "Yes. We can fix this now. For this Visa Gold price."
And then Paul Bunyan said, "Isn't there a super model with a gap in her front teeth?"
And then I said, "Yes, she's beautiful. But I once knew a dog with an awful underbite. And she was underloved, and underappreciated, and made fun of by all her doggie friends and even by her owners, who had to laugh from around the corner as they peeked at her while she struggled at meal time to pick up her small pieces of kibble with only her lower jaw. It wasn't pretty."
And then Paul Bunyan, "Okay...okay. Fine. Charge it."
And then I said, "I already did."
And now she's a woman. All right, so maybe she isn't yet. And maybe she talks now with a lisp, as if her half chewed peanut butter sandwich is stuck permanently to the roof of her mouth. And maybe there was a moment of disgruntled disgruntling when she realized she wouldn't be able to suck on hard candy or chew gum for six months. And maybe there was a few tears of distress when she thought she wasn't going to be able to eat ANYTHING and that she was, in fact, going to starve.
But there is this general sense of ownership- the organized brushing/rinsing/waxing paraphernalia in her toothbrush drawer; the plastic picks (for moving the stuck food from the bridge) stuffed into her backpack for use at school; the key for "turning" the bridge, which notches open the roof of her mouth to make her upper jaw lay over her lower, flared in the air like a Chinese fan. There is a snap in her step, a bob in her head, a glow in her face.
That is, until, the purple face mask appears in 2 weeks.
Replete with the dreaded rubber bands.
The ones I use to shoot at my classmates in 6th grade. You know, to be cool.
The ones I stuck to my brace face to fix the underbite that I ceremoniously genetically created to make me, well, special.