This week I had the pleasure of visiting the Lion’s Outdoor centre in Sai Kung. I went with a group of 11 people (five children & six adults)! We breathed in the fresh air; walked through a butterfly forest; looked at “poisonous caterpillars”; and observed a display of the butterfly life cycle.
Unfortunately the rain was starting to come down quite heavy, so no butterflies were flying in the forest. However, we did collect useful information on the types of butterflies in Hong Kong, and the type of flowers which attract the butterflies – good information for our school butterfly project!! (more about this later)
On our long taxi drive home the kids and I were talking about our own life cycles – we were inspired by the butterfly metamorphosis I suppose. We started to talk about our tooth-loss stories.
One boy was feeling his first loose tooth; “More like a wiggly head” one of us suggested playfully. The same boy explained how he had kicked out the tooth of his big brother as they wrestled one day. The little brother was very proud of being able to a part of his big brother’s life changes. The big brother explained how he had swallowed one of his teeth when he lost it, and how his dad had had to pull out one of his teeth that just wouldn’t let go.
I told a story of my own stubborn tooth. My father suggested the “age-old door handle method”: attach a string around your tooth and attach the other end to a door handle. Well you get the picture. Luckily all the fooling around with a string on my tooth caused the tooth to fall out in it’s own. No need for dad’s door slamming assistance!
Every tooth that my young friend had lost had a traumatic story attached it, explained his mother. Blood, accidents, extractions by dad. And the whole thought of losing a tooth made the boy feel ill.
“I don’t suppose you are going to be a dentist when you are older?” I asked sarcastically. Other peoples teeth would be an improvement, agreed the boy.
Our war wound stories brought us all closer together. We all have common human experiences of change and transformation. How appropriate too that our tooth-loss conversation was right before Easter. This is a time for transformation: from winter to spring; dormancy to new life; and from baby-teeth to adult teeth. We’ve all managed so much change in our lives, there is no limit to what we are capable of next…