Whoever came up with the tooth fairy is a genius. Have you ever thought about it? If there was no tooth fairy, losing a tooth would be a horribly traumatic experience. But thanks to that trusty tooth fairy and her propensity for creepily buying parts of our children’s bodies, losing a tooth is something almost every kid looks forward to. If there had been no tooth fairy to soften the blow of the bloody mess that accompanied losing — LOSING — a bit of her mouth, Lydia would have been in hysterics and I would have moved out of my house until all children’s teeth were lost and disposed of.
Lydia noticed her tooth start to wiggle two Sundays ago. This is a moment she has been dreaming of for years — maybe even for half of her short life. Oh, she couldn’t wait to lose that tooth. See? Thank you, tooth fairy.
We, her loving parents, almost destroyed all the happy anticipation the tooth fairy had built up. Her dad teased and teased with scary verbs — As each day wore on with the tooth still dangling, he offered to yank, rip, pull, snatch that tooth right out of her head. This always sent her hand straight to her mouth, and her feet running quickly to another room in the house.
I warned her there would be blood. A bit on the dramatic side (maybe because of the verbs used in this house?), I worried the sight of blood would be a shock to her — and there’s no telling what that girl will do when she’s shocked.
“NO!” she screamed. “I don’t want blood!” I quickly reassured her that it wouldn’t hurt when her tooth fell out; it simply would bring blood. This didn’t make her feel any better, and I worried what would happen if she lost her tooth at school, away from parents who understand her issues with blood.
Then her cousin told her she would know when her tooth was gone because she would taste blood. Suddenly, she was as blood-thirsty as a vampire. “I think I taste blood!” she would shout and run excitedly to the mirror, only to walk away defeated when she saw the tooth still hanging on by a thread. “When am I going to taste blood?” she would whine.
Exactly one week after the loose tooth wiggled its first wiggle, we found ourselves at church with a tooth that was going to jump out of her head any minute. Daddy couldn’t focus on the speaker while that tooth sat there tempting him. He reached into her mouth and tried to get a good grip, our little 6-year-old actually as eager as could be to finally have that tooth out of her mouth. But teeth don’t come with handles, and Daddy had a hard time hanging on.
“You’re being very distracting,” I whispered across the pew. Intent on finishing the job, Daddy hopped up and took Lydia into the foyer. I expected to hear screams, and I winced in preparation. But no screams came.
Instead, in a quiet corner, Daddy finally got a good grip on the tooth, and out it came from her head.
Her mouth quickly filled with blood, so Daddy sent her to the bathroom to get a tissue. She gleefully ran smiling through the halls with a mouth full of sloshing blood, completely oblivious to her gory appearance. When she entered the bathroom, her friend was just leaving. “Hi Lydia!” she shouted, and ran to give her a hug, stopping short with a “Oh no!” when she noticed the blood. “Are you ok?” she asked, real concern lining her face.
The brave little 6-year-old nodded, wiped her mouth and proudly displayed the new hole.
A few minutes later, Lydia was back in our pew, smiling a holey smile and holding an envelope that said “Lydia’s first tooth.”
The tooth fairy remembered her job that night, and Lydia has been beaming ever since. I’m still shocked at how a little pain and blood caused my daughter to celebrate rather than crumple on the floor in dramatic theatricals. Maybe we need to come up with a “scraped-on-the-pavement fairy” and a “stubbed-toe fairy.”