My youngest son, my baby boy, the last child, the one I still call “my baby” who corrects me and tells me he’s “all grown up now,” my five-year old – lost his first tooth yesterday. He just turned five last month, so I suppose I was a bit shocked when he told me just two days ago that his tooth was loose. It seemed much too soon.
The loose-tooth process is an interesting one to observe. My oldest daughter – who is 12 – has always been the “picker.” The girl cannot have a scab – it would be physically impossible, because, by definition, a scab occurs when the area is allowed to heal. She wouldn’t let something like that happen. And the same goes for her teeth. From the very first indication that there is a tooth that feels even remotely loose – she will wiggle, twist, pull and finally yank it until nothing remains but a mouthful of blood. My middle son – the 9-year-old – has a slightly more laid back approach to the losing teeth business. He waits. It falls out. He collects his money. So, I was curious how our youngest would behave in this scenario.
Like his big sister, my 5-year-old became obsessed with the loose tooth in his mouth. In fact, I was surprised to see it still hanging in there when I picked him up from preschool yesterday. But, once we got home and his sister was within reaching distance, they went into the bathroom and shut the door. (Clue #1 that something is awry.) I can hear her saying something to him, him replying with nervousness in his voice and then her lowering her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. (Clue #2.) At this point, my husband and I both pipe up simultaneously saying they both need to come out of the bathroom.
“He wants it out! I’m just helping!” She said.
“Yeah, I want it out, but….” He replied, obviously fearful of what it would take to get the tooth out of his mouth.
They left it alone while we ate dinner and the older children warned/informed/paralyzed him with fear that he might swallow his tooth. After dinner, they were back in the bathroom. The door shut. We told them to leave it open and told her to let him be until he was ready. He went to his room, grabbed a stuffed animal and then instructed her to yank his tooth out. When she did, there was no blood. And no response. He just sat there, stunned. He finally got a look of shock on his face and then demanded to see what it looked like. Peering into the hole where his tooth once was, he said, “I don’t like it!” To which we had to inform him there was no putting it back in. He’d just have to wait for a new one to grow.
The next step was prepping for the Tooth Fairy. My little man was excited at first – then worried that the Tooth Fairy might be scary. He wavered on where he should put his tooth before finally laying it next to his pillow. He didn’t want the Tooth Fairy man digging under him while he slept. (Yes, he has decided the Tooth Fairy is a man. The industry is an equal opportunity employer.) A few minutes after bedtime, he reappeared in the living room asking me to keep his tooth for safe keeping. Then, changed his mind again and decided he wanted to keep it, even if it meant he wouldn’t get any money. He asked me to hang it on his wall. And I did, along with a sign saying this was his first lost tooth. He seemed at ease. Until he woke up this morning. I heard him in there, outraged, wanting to know why the tooth fairy hadn’t come. I guess we’ll be trying this again tomorrow night…
Any other parents dealing with kids who are cautious of the Tooth Fairy?