Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth

This post has nothing to do with religion, elevators, chocolate, road trips, etc. Yeah, yeah—I'll get to that, sure—but right now, it's time to write about the tooth.

My son recently turned five. On the morning of his birthday, he nonchalantly mentioned while masticating and sprinkling cereal over the tabletop, in equal amounts, that he had a loose tooth.

It clearly wasn't a big deal to him; he knew it would come out and he would leave it under his pillow for the tooth fairy, end of story. For me, it was a little alarming. Isn't this a little...early? The kid's body has been trying to grow up way too fast on me. He's 99th percentile for his height—he always shocked people when he told them he was four—and now a loose tooth on the MORNING of his fifth birthday? When is the onset of puberty going to be? The morning of his sixth birthday? Then he'll being home his fiancee when he's seven...sheesh.

So he's been carefully nursing his loose tooth, and won't allow anyone to touch it, and has been extremely proud of it, and has been contemplating what the tooth fairy will bring him.

The other morning I was brushing his teeth, and he stopped to swallow the toothpaste (I can't get him to spit it out to save my life), and...the tooth was gone.

He swallowed it.


This worried him. How would the tooth fairy get it now? He was also worried about what was going to happen to the tooth.

We told him not to worry: one night while he was fast asleep, the tooth fairy would come into his bedroom and slit open his belly with a blade made from a shark tooth and take the tooth out.

No, we did NOT tell him that*. I don't want to pay that therapy bill. No, we just had him write a note to the tooth fairy explaining what happened, and see what she would do. Turns out the tooth fairy is very understanding and doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. She left him a little note and a dollar.

*Nor did I tell him that the tooth fairy was a rather demented soul who looked like this. I didn't even tell him that the reason the tooth fairy collects children's teeth is because she craves calcium, and though she'd much rather take your entire skull to munch on—or better yet, your entire skeleton—but she's too small to carry away that much. So she just settles for a tooth. (So many golden opportunities to ruin this child, and I keep passing them up.)