Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Lost Tooth

My daughter lost another tooth last night -- her left lateral incisor. This is the third tooth in as many months, so she's looking something like a jack-o-lantern right now (it's almost seasonally appropriate!).

Anyway, last night she actually took her tooth out all on her own! It was really loose, and my wife had wiggled it quite a bit, but some screaming and crying later (due to the pain), my wife asked if I could come in and take a look at it. My daughter was in a lot of pain with the tooth just hanging there, so I asked if I could take it out. She let me try, but my big fingers just didn't fit in her little mouth well enough to get a good grip on the tooth, so I ended up basically pulling it forward with the tip of my finger until it was pointing forward. I could feel things tearing in there as I did so, and she gasped in pain and immediately started bleeding. At this point, the tooth was just hanging there, and after she swished and spit bloody water a few times, I asked her if she wanted to try. She bravely gave me a look that said, "All right, Dad, I'll trust you!" and immediately reached in and tugged ever so gently. And, what do you know, the tooth came right out!

You should have seen her face! She lit up with excitement and started repeatedly shouting, "My tooth came out!" All the while, I'm trying to hush her a little because her younger brother had just been put down to bed, but it was such an exciting moment for her that I couldn't honestly squash her enthusiasm. I think she enjoyed a variety of things at that moment, including the personal satisfaction of being able to pull it out all by herself.

A few days prior to this, we had read a book together called "Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder" -- part of the Junie B. Jones series. It's about Junie losing her first tooth and her questions surrounding the tooth fairy. Junie was afraid that the tooth fairy was really an evil witch who liked to eat the teeth she collected (kinda gross, I know, but witches do stuff like that, don't they?), but after much deliberation, Junie decided the tooth fairy was really a fairy after all that was just recycling the teeth from older children to babies. She reached this conclusion after her younger brother got his first tooth the same night that she finally let the tooth fairy have the one she'd lost. That's a fairly logical explanation that would make perfect sense to the mind of a child, I thought.

In any case, last night as I was putting my daughter to bed, I was asking her if the tooth fairy is really a witch or not, and she stated unequivocally that the tooth fairy is a fairy. Then she asked me about the tooth fairy, asking, "Dad, does the tooth fairy make sense to you?" I beat around the bush a little -- teasing her, really -- and told her that a lot of things in life don't make any sense to me. She saw right through me and knew I hadn't answered her question. "But Dad! Does she make sense to you?" Hmmm, how to answer that? "Well," I said, "I guess she does sorta make sense." And she sorta doesn't make sense, too, I thought. It was a sufficiently ambiguous answer that appealed to her, and she immediately smiled in satisfaction, rolled over, and cuddled up to go to sleep -- her tooth safely stowed in the envelope beneath her pillow, waiting for the tooth fairy to exchange it for some cold, hard cash.

It was quite the evening. Children are amazing creatures.

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