For Whom the Tooth Tolls.
Friday, Jan. 17, 2003

Remember how cool it was when you had a loose tooth?

Not just the riches that awaited you after the Tooth Fairy finished her rounds (the Tooth Fairy is a "she," right? I mean, I'm all for appropriate gender neutrality, blindness, whatever & shit, but the Tooth Fairy will always be female), but that cool thing you could do where you'd play with the loose tooth with your tongue, twisting it around and around until it was ready to come out?

Well, that's just gross to me now.


My son lost his first tooth last night, an event that was, to say the least, eagerly anticipated 'round our campfire. It got to the point where I expected to see updates on the situation in the CNN crawl: "Inspectors from the Office of National Dentifrice reported today that the degree of looseness attained by Nicholas's right front bottom tooth reached 'critical mass' and that resultant loss or 'expulsion' of that tooth was 'edging ever closer.'"

So he comes up to me with a grin that would do a demented Jack O'Lantern proud and directs me to "watch this, Daddy!" He then proceeded to use his tongue to move the tooth every which way as I audibly gagged, which he seemed to find hilarious for some reason.

Now, I'm not usually squeamish about stuff in general, and when one of the kids gets hurt, I'm almost always the one who ends up cleaning up the blood and entrails, if there are any (my wife likes to weasel out of that by playing the "I can't bear to see the blood of my child, who, in case you forgot, I nurtured in my womb for 9 months before bringing forth into this world via labor, with the pain and the blood and screaming" card).

But, for some reason, watching him twizzle and twirl that tooth around with his tongue just made me go all creamy center inside and cover my eyes. Maybe it's because body parts hanging by the proverbial string just don't compute. Maybe it's because, absent adrenalin and urgency and focus, I'm just a big old wuss. Whatever.

30 seconds later, he marches up to me and triumphantly announces "I pulled it out myself" and holds up the offending (and, I must say, tiny) tooth while again splitting his face with a grin that now reveals a regulation hockey player style hole in it, as well as some blood. I was subsequently assured that said hole was "cool" because "Jack" (a classmate) has one. Phew! That's a relief.


How much does the Tooth Fairy dole out, by the way? Turns out that, after several seconds of negotiation between the major powers, $1 is the going rate.

You should have seen his face when he saw the dollar. I think he was seriously considering hiring his younger sister to knock out the rest of his teeth with a hammer, in return for a 25% cut of the moola.

Posted by mikeski at 2:23 p.m.