Little Guy, Big Ideas

I took Emmett out of school a little early last week. We were heading to a major orthodontist appointment: At long last, he was getting an expander. “It breaks your jaw,” his father explained to him last week, smiling wickedly. I blanched and gave him an “are you insane?” look, but Emmett’s into gruesome-ness, so he was okay with that.

Have you seen these contraptions? They attach with rings around a top molar on each side of the mouth, with a metal brace kissing the roof of the mouth. We have to crank it wider, about a millimeter or two, twice a day, so that our baby’s jaw will spread out and make more room for his huge teeth, also courtesy of my husband. Meals and snacktime are now accompanied by repeated “chaack!” sounds from Emmett’s throat as he tries to clear food out of its tangled wires.

This expander has felt like It’s been a long time coming. His older brother Aaron had one in the third grade, three years ago, and since then Emmett knew his day would come. He mostly looked forward to the day or two of pudding and smoothies and jello that would accompany it.


Now the day was here. We crossed the empty schoolyard, Emmett’s pace slowed. He was nervous. He spoke then, so quietly that I had to lean down and cup my ear to hear him.

“It feels like it came so fast. And it’s going to be so fast until I’m off.”
“What do you mean, ‘off’?” I asked. “Until the expander is off?”

He answered without looking at me, looking straight ahead into his future.

“Off to college.”

I don’t tell you this because it’s cute or charming or precocious, but because my gut sank so deeply when I realized, he was dead right. I took his hand and walked through the school door, on our way to the next thing.


8 thoughts on “Little Guy, Big Ideas

  1. My grandson Emmett is the deepest thinker while being the funniest kid I know. He surprises me in the sweetest ways.

    1. I know.
      He’s coping great. He lies down to get “cranked” and doesn’t complain a bit. His two front teeth are starting to separate, with a gap that adds to the whole package.

    1. But think of all the, um, traveling we’ll do? Grown-up movies we’ll see? Overtime we’ll work to pay for said college? Oy, there’s got to be a silver lining.

  2. Hi Laura! Oh how I share that sinking feeling in my gut when I realize how little time we get together before they fledge! Even more heartbreaking when it comes from their mouths…Today’s blog also makes me giggle at the same time, since Kevin and I just had his first orthdontist appoinment this morning. We await the verdict on whether he will experience The Expander as well! Love reading your blogs, they are always such gems. Hope all is well.

Leave a Reply to Becky Schneider Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.