First, there was a sudden silence. My daughter had been watching some cartoons, having a snack, and chatting away to herself. Then... nothing. If you're a parent, you know exactly what I mean by silence. It's not like the TV quits making noise, or the hum of the refrigerator stops, but there's that eerie lack of sound from the direction of your child that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Either something bad has happened, or your little one is about to be caught doing something they shouldn't be.
In this case, it was the former.
She turned to me, hand clasped over her mouth, eyes as big as saucers, and I could tell she was terrified. She moved jerkily toward me, like some miniature cast member from Night of the Living Dead, holding her other fist out in front of her. As she slowly opened her fingers, I saw the blood. And so did she. I watched the color completely drain from her face as she began to tremble, then to do a panicky, tip-toe dance screeching, "Daaaaa-ddyyyyy!"
I looked back to her still-outstretched hand and, looking past the blood and slobber, saw what had caused this commotion.
It took a while to calm her down, to remind her she wasn't going to die, and to get her cleaned up. She was still pretty shaken by the whole event, but it was nothing a $4 visit from the Tooth Fairy couldn't fix, apparently.