I remember when I lost my first tooth. I was five years old, and I didn’t even know it was loose. I went to my babysitter’s house after kindergarten that day, just like any other day, and was greeted with a typical peanut butter and sugar sandwich. (Seriously, she sprinkled sugar on it. She was an old woman – let’s not question her grasp of nutrition, OK?)
The sandwich was quickly devoured and my kool-aid was gulped down so I could watch afternoon cartoons. I must have laughed at something on TV, because my babysitter gave me a strange look and said, “Honey, open your mouth.”
I had no idea why she was asking me to do something so odd, but I complied. “Did you lose a tooth yesterday?” she asked.
“No. They were all there when I brushed my teeth this morning,” I replied.
“Go look in the mirror, sweetie,” she instructed me, grinning. I’m sure I huffed as I got off the floor to go to the bathroom, irritated at leaving my beloved cartoons behind. I’m sure I thought she was nuts, since I had no dramatic moment of feeling a tooth fall out. Shouldn’t I feel a tooth dislodge?
Standing on my tip-toes, I peered across the sink into the old, cracked mirror and slowly opened my mouth. There, in the center of my bottom row of perfectly aligned teeth, was a dark gap where a little pearly white tooth should be.
I was stunned, and my heart started to pound hard. Where was my tooth? When did it disappear? And most importantly, WHAT WAS I GOING TO TELL THE TOOTH FAIRY?
I don’t remember what exactly happened after that. We figured out that I must have swallowed my tooth when I ate my after-school snack. I vaguely remember a mix of glee and horror, happy to have hurdled across another milestone in the journey of growing up, but worried that swallowing a tooth could somehow hurt me, and frantic that I was going to miss out on a payday from the tooth fairy.
It wasn’t the ideal First Lost Tooth experience, although I believe the tooth fairy was understanding of my situation. (And for the record, my mom was NOT sympathetic enough to look for when the tooth came out the other end. My first lost tooth was never recovered, and I can’t say I blame her for that.)
But I’m happy to say that Cordy did not share my first lost tooth experience. When she had dental surgery this summer the dentist warned us that, based on the x-rays, she was likely to lose a few baby teeth in the next year. The roots were shortening and her permanent teeth were beginning to form underneath.
About two weeks ago I noticed one of her teeth on the bottom looked out of line with the rest. When I wiggled it, I discovered that it was completely free in the back and just hanging by a tiny piece in the front. I expected a tooth fairy visit in the next day or two, but that tooth kept holding on.
Then the other night, while eating a chip, Cordy paused with a confused look on her face, reached into her mouth, and then handed me her tooth, shouting, “Mommy, I lost my tooth!” Apparently my child chews her food better that I did at five years old.
She put the tooth into a pouch, placed it under her pillow, and the tooth fairy replaced the tooth in the pouch with several coins for her piggy bank, along with two activity books. Cordy was thrilled.
Of course, further examination of her mouth reveals that the tooth fairy better not go too far away. Her permanent tooth is already coming in to that spot, and it’s larger than the space available, now pushing out the tooth next to it.
What is the going rate for a tooth now, anyway? I’m hoping she doesn’t ask at school. And if her permanent teeth are anything like mine were, we’ll need to start saving for orthodontia now.