My mother had the lightest touch in the whole neighborhood. There weren't very many teeth in the mouths of the kids on Garland Lane that she didn't get to wiggle at one time or another. She was so very good at it. Kids who would not let their own parents within fifty yards of a loose tooth would happily surrender up their mouths to my mom's delicate fingers.
She never yanked. She never tied a piece of string to a doorknob. She never used any special tools - pliers, tweezers, hammers, chisels or drills. Just those careful digits, working that baby tooth around in its socket until it was just a quick twist away.
Out they came. The baby teeth of three of her own boys and those of any of the strays that they happened to drag home. Truth is, I don't remember telling anyone about my mother's "special talent." I'm sure I must at one time have mentioned it - maybe in the lunch room or on the way home from school. But mostly I recall kids showing up at our front door with their mouths wide open like baby birds, pointing at the dangling denticle.
She would ask them in, sometimes asking their name (if they were new to the neighborhood), then moving quickly to the task at hand. She didn't always pull the tooth. Sometimes she told the sad faced child that "it's just not ready to come out yet." After a day of wiggling with their own finger and tongue, I knew that they would be back.
Happy Birthday, Mom.