The Meaning of Teeth
It emerges that teeth are a big deal. My daughter is almost 7, and teeth have been a major issue for a couple of years. I had no idea. The first loose tooth is MAJOR trauma. There is much wailing and carrying on about how much it is going to hurt when the tooth comes out, and much chasing by an impatient husband who wants to pull the damn thing out so the wailing will stop. Then the tooth comes out peacefully on its own, as they always do. This one came out at school and caused major class disruptions. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that the teacher keeps little tooth carrying takeout boxes shaped like tiny molars. After the tooth finally comes out, the tooth fairy issue comes up. Is there a tooth fairy? Should the tooth fairy come to our house? How much money should the tooth fairy leave? What is the going rate for a tooth, anyway? Then there is the whole “dear-God-I hope-we-don’t-forget-that-she-put-a-tooth-under-her-pillow-because-she-will-be-so-devastated” worry, followed by the “what-if-she-wakes-up-while-we’re-sneaking-the-money-in” crisis. After that, subsequent teeth start falling out. The poor kid starts looking like a half-eaten ear of corn, and has to chew out of the side of her head. Then comes a new worry, one you never anticipated. Why isn’t the damn new tooth coming IN? Our daughter has been without a left front tooth for two and a half months now. Does she even HAVE a new one? What if she doesn’t? Will she need a bridge her entire life? What if she has one but it isn’t coming in? How do you MAKE a tooth come in if it doesn’t want to? And what if we take her to the dentist for this problem and look like complete idiots? Anyway, the poor kid is going to the dentist on Thursday, and we’ll see who the real idiots are. Is she going to glow in the dark from all the dental x-rays? Anyway, teeth are much more complicated than one is led to believe. Some of my acquaintances leave as much as $50 for a tooth, which is, in my mind, ridiculous and obscene. But what if my daughter wonders why the tooth fairy is slighting her, leaving her “only” five dollars. And then there is the matter of the letter to the tooth fairy. She left the tooth fairy a note under her pillow, demanding to know what the fairy did with all the teeth, and does she build her castle with them? My husband told her not to leave the note, because the tooth fairy would not come if there was not actually a tooth there. Now the latest fear with loose teeth is that they will come out in the hapless child’s mouth in her sleep and that she will swallow them. This has resulted in several abortive attempts to yank teeth out just prior to bedtime, and I’m thinking this does not aid the falling asleep process. Anyway, teeth. Just something to think about.