Thursday, April 30, 2009

Teeth minus one

This past Sunday, I saw Ben fiddling with one of his teeth when suddenly he was holding it in fingers.

I'm not sure which one of us was more shocked at the slightly bloody gap in his mouth. I wasn't expecting him to start losing teeth this early. My first thought was that he had knocked a tooth out by accident.

His dental precociousness shouldn't come as a shock. This is a kid who got his first tooth at four months.

Yes, ladies. Ouch.

I was amazed at how quickly Ben progressed through shock, panic, and sadness to curiosity:

"No! I don't want my tooth to come out!" "Put it back in!" "Where is my tooth? Don't lose it! I want to hold it!" "Will another tooth grow in?" "Where's my new tooth?"

I found a tiny box for his tooth and in about fifteen minutes, he was happily playing again.

What's astoundingly lucky for everyone is that we had just rented an Elmo's World video that includes a "Teeth" segment. It features Andrea Martin as the voice of the Tooth Fairy, explaining the whole lost tooth ritual.

He's also seen a Yo Gabba Gabba episode about teeth that features Amy Sedaris as the Tooth Fairy.

So thanks to television and two superb comic actresses, Ben knew what to expect.

We acted out the Tooth Fairy visit several times that day, with the little box and a quarter. But when bedtime came, Ben was not quite ready for a visit from you-know-who. He wanted to keep the tooth in the box on his dresser rather than put it under his pillow.

Every night since then, he asks, "Where is my tooth?" I show him the box and ask if he wants to put it under his pillow so that the Tooth Fairy will come.

"We can ask her to leave your tooth and not take it with her. Do you want her to come tonight?"

"No. I want her to come a different night."

Five days later, and the tooth is still on the dresser.

Yesterday, Ben asked, "Is the Tooth Fairy real or pretend?"

I stumbled around for a bit and settled on telling him that the Tooth Fairy is real if he wants her to be real. And that the Tooth Fairy gets busy sometimes and when that happens Mommies and Daddies help her out.

He skipped out of the room. That was enough for him for now.

Until the next tooth, which is now wiggling away next to the little pink gap in his smile.

lost tooth.jpg


eileen said...

I just love this story of ben losing his first tooth - i could picture every word and action - knowing ben the way i do - i do wish everyone was closer so i would be able to see him more....
thanks christa for the storytelling!
and the picture is great !!!!

TC said...

My eight-year-old only lost his first tooth last year (after not getting his first tooth until 13 months!), and the Tooth Fairy thing freaked him out so much, because he HATES letting go of things that are 'his.' So his savvy older sister and I came up with this solution: We told him that we have a special deal with the Tooth Fairy, where if you put your tooth under the bed and leave a note asking for it back, she'll take it, leave you money, and then give it to your mommy so that she can keep the tooth safe for you. (This after he kept his first tooth rather than the have the fairy visit...and then lost it.) So now that's what he does...and he comes and 'visits' with his three-so-far lost teeth in their little pill bottle in my bedside drawer whenever he wants!

Deirdre said...

If you put your ear up real, real close to the new hole in your kid's mouth, you can HEAR THE OCEAN.

Jordan said...

He looks adorable!! My boys got their first teeth at 4 mos, too, and I was shocked when Baxter lost his first one around age 5. I'm looking at Lyle, who will be 5 this summer, and trying to prepare myself but it seems impossible.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Another phase of letting go of babyhood! Ben is one handsome boy. Enjoy the adventure, O Tooth Fairy. Thanks for sharing. Julie

K said...

hey just found your blog and love it

Katia Craig said...

Ohh, I remember that Elmo's World video with the teeth bit! He's my favorite Sesame Street character. Anyway, it's good that Ben went through it all quickly and that he wasn't stubborn about losing his teeth. You should tell him that he should take care of those pearly whites. I don't want him to end up like me. I had to go and have my teeth checked up regularly by my cosmetic dentist here in Sarasota. You know, I was the type of kid who always made sure that she ate sweets every day. The result: some of my teeth had to be fixed.