Second Tooth

Tooth SaverLaura had a secret when I picked her up at school. She showed me a small, orange chest and asked me to guess what was inside. I guessed a ring. No, not a ring. She opened the chest and showed me the contents. In the dim light of the car, I guessed a super miniature cat. No, not a cat.

It was a baby tooth, and she had lost it during class. She wiggled it out during afternoon language arts, earning a visit to the nurse’s office and a Tooth Saver to store her treasure. Losing a tooth at school increases street cred with Kindergartners and Graders. It is the stuff that causes Fancy Nancy fans to swoon (a fancy word for faint). This makes up for her first baby tooth that Jung pulled out in November when we lost patience with the princess tooth that hung by a thread and would not fall.

Today is bittersweet. Jung attended the wake for one of the children who was gunned down in Newtown. His co-worker, the child’s mother, received a call at work from her husband that he had their daughter but couldn’t find their son. They waited at the firehouse until midnight when positive identification was made and their permanent loss confirmed. They will not be able to share any more silly, satisfying milestones with their child like lost tooth pride. A Friday that started as ordinary brought a Monday with a casket instead of a living boy, leaving a gap that cannot be filled.

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Scary Pumpkin Patch

A story from Laura in celebration of Halloween.  Due to Sandy, she and Jason got two days off school.  The wind howled through the night.  Fortunately, our power has remained on and we didn’t sustain any damage to the house.  

One blustery night in October, Farmer Brown checked his crop of pumpkins to make sure they were nice and comfy.

The next morning, all his pumpkins from his crop were gone!

He walked quietly back to his house and told his wife how horrible it was to lose his entire crop without even a single clue or a pumpkin.

The next morning, he saw that all his pumpkins were back in place. Another farmer with a golden hat had brought them back. He carved them into jack o’lanterns.

The next morning, Farmer Brown knew just where the jack o’lanterns were…

… at people’s homes. Farmer Brown was happy that he sold pumpkins and they turned into jack o’lanterns.

Happy Halloween.

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The Princess Tooth and Her Prince

Laura first noticed that her lower left* right central incisor was loose over Labor Day weekend. A month and a half later, the baby tooth has gotten much looser, but still holds tight. Behind the baby tooth, the permanent tooth has pushed out of the gum. Laura is proud to have 21 teeth, if only for a short time. She tells me that the baby tooth is a princess and the permanent tooth is a prince. The prince uses his sword to fight off the hard foods that cause the princess pain.

The permanent tooth coming behind the baby tooth has me concerned. This semi-reassuring article calls them “lingually erupting mandibular incisors” and “shark teeth.” About 10% of kids have this condition, which is thought to be caused by tooth crowding, extremely stubborn baby teeth roots, permanent teeth developing further back in the gum than normal, or some combination of the three. Most of the time, the condition corrects itself when the baby tooth falls out. Laura has a dentist appointment in early December. I will place my worry on hold for now. Laura teethed early and fiercely (kicked out from a daycare at 18 months for biting), so her shark tooth fits her dental drama M.O.

* Looking at picture, I realized that I used my left, not Laura’s left to determine tooth placement.

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4 Monarchs on the Butterfly Bush

The monarch abundance peak for our latitude (41° N) according to is September 8 – 20. Perhaps the mild weather in late September and early October convinced these four monarchs to stay longer.  Wednesday, October 3, when I took this photo, the high temperature was 70° F.  Today, the forecast high is 57° F.

I hope these late traveling monarchs have journeyed far enough south in 5 days to avoid the cold front.  The one day travel distance record for a monarch is 265 miles.  This means that these four might already be 1,325 miles away.  As a point of reference, Atlanta, Georgia is a little more than 1,000 miles away from Hartford, Connecticut.    To learn more about monarch migration and report a monarch sighting, click here.

Fun fact: Monarchs east of the Mississippi migrate to forests in the mountains of Mexico, while monarchs west of the Mississippi migrate to forests along the California coast.

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The Adventure of the Autumn Fairy

The Secret Agent rode his scooter through the garden enjoying a day off. He heard a bike approaching and sensed that the unexpected was about to happen.

Quickly, the bike gained on the Secret Agent.

The Secret Agent raced to evade the bike. He wanted a day off, not an adventure.

The bike’s rider called out to him, “Please! Stop! I won’t hurt you. I am your friend.” She laid her bike on the ground to end the chase.

The Secret Agent allowed the rider to approach his scooter. She knelt in front of him and said, “I am the Autumn Fairy. I have been sent to give you a treasure. Will you journey with me?”
The Secret Agent looked into the fairy’s eyes. He decided to trust her.

The Autumn Fairy picked a dandelion clock, closed her eyes, and blew a wish.

The Secret Agent found himself being pulled behind the Autumn Fairy in a red wagon. The wind and road rushed past him. They moved so fast that the Secret Agent did not know how far or where they traveled.

Suddenly, the Autumn Fairy stopped the red wagon in front of a white archway. “We are here,” she said. “Wait for me.”

The Secret Agent waited, and soon saw the Autumn Fairy return on the wooded path. She handed him a pine cone and said, “This is your future. Guard it well.”

After giving the Secret Agent the pine cone, the Autumn Fairy disappeared. The red wagon popped back to the garden where the Secret Agent had been riding. The Secret Agent called and called for the Autumn Fairy. She did not return.

The Secret Agent stopped yelling and instead studied the pine cone. It looked ordinary. Little did he know that it would bring him the greatest adventure of his life. But that is a story for another day.

For more Secret Agent adventures, check out:

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China Trip: At Street Level in Shenzhen

Source: Google Maps

I spent two days in the Futian district, Shenzhen prefecture, Guangdong province. According to Wikipedia, Shenzhenis one of the 13 emerging megalopolises and one of the busiest container ports in China. More than 10 million people live in the 10 districts of Shenzhen. Before traveling there for work, I had never heard of it. This trip has made me acutely aware of how little I know about China.

I walked around Futian, keeping within 2 blocks of my hotel so I would not get lost. Construction is everywhere. Massive cranes are putting up high rises in an effort to house the growing urban population and businesses. Big walls topped with broken glass surrounded this construction site. The scaffolding is made of bamboo.

A block further, a different construction site was walled off by a billboard fence. This old man was looking through the gap in the fence.

I also looked through the fence and saw a massive construction site. The building is still in the foundation stage. If you look closely, you can see at least 6 cranes. Metal cranes have replaced origami cranes.

Here is a picture of the same construction site taken from the 5th floor of my hotel. The construction workers are housed onsite in the blue roofed buildings.

The shady, wide sidewalk serves as an outdoor common area. Men squatted to play cards and board games. Two boys played in the roots of a tree. An older woman balanced a stack of cardboard on her left shoulder.

Workers used a hand cart to haul debris.

Other street sightings: a police bike, a city maintenance worker, flowers growing along the sidewalk, fire hydrants.

A little girl in a shop window reminded me of Laura. She also represented much of what I saw in China – the contrast between the traditional (the carved jade) and the modern (the 5 gallon water jug).

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P is for Princess and Phillies

And now a word from our spokesperson. Stay tuned for more China trip pictures after the break. Still to come: Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and a hotel mystery.

You can move a girl to Connecticut, but you can’t change her team loyalties. Let’s go Phillies!

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