Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth.
Do you remember your first loose tooth? I do. I was in kindergarten when the tooth wiggles came on. It was my lower central incisor. From the moment I felt the first little movement, I began to work on that tooth relentlessly. I wiggled it with my tongue. I jiggled it with my fingers. I asked my mom to help me. I implored my kid sister to pull it out with a string, but she was only two and could not understand my plight.
After several days of playing tooth tug-of-war, my tooth finally popped out. I was so grossed out by all the blood and the ugly red hole in my mouth. I remember being really scared and trying to put the tooth back in! Then, I remembered the whole reason for my tooth wiggling obsession, the tooth fairy.
Ah, the tooth fairy, she had been on my mind ever since my cousin had lost his first tooth. The tooth fairy, she was the buzz of all the playground conversations. She was the deliverer of pieces of silver joy and pixie dust. I pondered what I would do with the quarters she was sure to bring me. Would I buy a pack of my favorite Fruit Stripe gum (Remember the gum with the colorful zebra stripes?)? Or would I buy that diamond ring from the gum ball machine at the A & P? Oh, the choices!
And so it went for the next few years. I would wiggle out a tooth, put it under my pillow, the tooth fairy would leave me a token or two of her appreciation, and the cycle would begin again a short while later. Pretty soon, my sister started getting the wiggles too. There were teeth flying out left and right. The tooth fairy had frequent flyer miles building up just from visiting our home alone.
Then, one night, something tragic happened. The tooth fairy forgot to come and get my upper right bicuspid. What? Was she sick? Did the weather delay her? Had I hidden that tooth under my pillow a little too carefully?
I went straight to my parents and I shared my dismay about the tooth fairy's negligence. After some patient listening, they broke the news and explained to me that the the tooth fairy had not forgotten my tooth, they had. I was a little stunned, but not too much. I had suspected that the tooth fairy might be a little too good to be true. Then my parents told me that I could be a part of the fun by helping them "play" tooth fairy for my younger siblings. It was a blast to see how excited they would get to loose a tooth! It was a fun tradition to be part of.
The tradition has continued here in our family as well. With six kids, there have been a lot of opportunities to play tooth fairy. Teeth are constantly wiggling and falling out. The tooth fairy has had to take out a small business loan to pay for all of those pearly whites.
We have expanded on the tooth fairy traditions of our childhoods. After much wiggling and jiggling, when our monkeys lose a tooth they place it in a sweet little wooden box and place it on their night stand. Sometime throughout the night, the fairy comes and takes the tooth. She usually leaves a dollar or two. For an extra special touch, she sometimes leaves a light sprinkling of pixie dust (i.e. glitter) on their night stand. Our girls love the pixie dust, and the have been saving it in a special container.
How about you? Is the tooth fairy a frequent flyer to your home? Do you have any special toothy traditions?
Did you know that in Japan when a child loses a tooth they throw it? You can read more about that and other toothy traditions from around the world here.