Midnight Chimuela

We have a tradition of hosting family sleepovers when Kary is out of town. Last week Kary had meetings in Calgary and so each night I invited one or two of the kids to have a slumber party.  On the last night before his return, Jacqueline and Ryan were on deck, Ryan taking the bed with me and Jacqueline starting off in the bed but later moving to the hammock. Our kids have become accustomed to hammock sleeping which requires one to assume the posture of a under-ripe banana lying caddywhompus to the central line.  It’s very comfortable if you follow Mayan best practices.

Before I share what happened that night I must tell you that a dental miracle has occurred in our household. A late bloomer in the tooth losing category has now stepped up and lost not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE teeth in the last two weeks. In our house the term hat-trick is common for something that comes in threes (such as three goals scored in hockey) but I had to look up the term for a fiver. According to the Football Ramble on Twitter: “For reference: 2 = brace, 3 = hat-trick, 4 = haul, 5 = glut, 6 = double hat-trick, 7 = haul-trick.”

With the exquisite accomplishment of achieving a “glut”, Jacqueline’s mug shot now looks more peculiar, more hockey player, especially with the two front uppers out of commission. To my eye she looks like a cute Yucatecan bat. My father says shark. Marta  calls her chimuela which is the Maya word meaning ‘no teeth’, as in, that old lady over there, she has no teeth.

Financial rewards aside (even with some embarasing logistical failures on the part of the TF), the funny thing about this stage as I’m sure you remember is that a) you talk funny, b) you look funny and c) you eat funny.

So what happened in the hammock on Wednesday night is equally funny to me although my dentist friends will shudder and recoil.

At 3am I awoke to the sound of chomping.  More like grinding. You know that sound, when your child is sleeping and gently wiggles his jaw back and forth and makes that little noise that the orthodontists and dental appliance people love because it is the sound of money. My friend Claudia has financed her future home and a small yacht on the back of the small plastic and wire pieces that my children enjoy using and losing on a regular occasion.

That’s the sound I heard.

It was loud enough to wake me up. I lay in bed listening and thinking, should I wake her up and make her stop? Should I observe and record data for Claudia and tell her to super-size her yacht selection? Should I download a seismometer app on my phone to measure the P and S wave emissions and use this as a teachable moment at breakfast? Should I ignore it and blame the TF for delinquent payments?

Then the sound stopped. And started again. Then stopped. Then started. I got out of bed. Mysteriously, the sound stopped abruptly as soon as I stood up.

As I approached the small tamale lying in the hammock, suddenly it flipped from face up to face down. Strange. I thought she was asleep.

I could see by the curvature of her spine that she was trying to become as small as a frijol negro. It’s not easy to hide in your hammock when your mother is standing directly over you at 3am.

Jacqueline, are you awake?

Small rotation reveals big eyes, wide open, panicked expression.

No response.

Jacqueline, are you awake?

Umm hum.

I now see the minor swelling on the left side of her face.

What are you doing? Are you EATING?


WHAT are you eating?


Jacqueline, answer me, are you eating something?

Um, well yes, I think so.

At this moment I realize that she is hiding something in her mouth. Obviously it is something hard on two accounts : hard in material and hard to hide from the Wrath.

Jacqueline, let me see what is in your mouth.

Her rotation was not quick enough for my quick finger swipe.

And there it was. An Almond Roca chocolate covered butter toffee delight.

I paused, looked at her big nervous eyes, sighed, took it out of her mouth and said goodnight.

The next morning when we made eye contact at the breakfast table, there was a knowing look between us, and a little chimuela smile.
















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