I lost my first tooth when I was five years old. Cordy lost her first tooth at five years old, too. So when Mira turned five, I waited to see when her first baby tooth would start to wiggle.
Mira’s excitement at the idea of losing her first tooth has remained high, too. There are many days when she sticks her finger in her mouth, wiggles it back and forth, and shouts, “Mommy! I have a loose tooth!” Of course, every time I’ve checked, not a single tooth has wiggled, even a little bit. (But I usually agreed with her that it did wiggle a little. Can’t crush her hopes.)
It’s been a few weeks since she mentioned loose teeth, and we’ve been too busy for me to think about it. Last weekend, though, she gave me a wide smile as she worked on making a necklace at a community event, and suddenly my gaze was fixed on her teeth.
I thought I saw a little gap between her itty-bitty teeth. “Mira, did you lose a tooth?” I asked her. Her eyes were instantly huge. She gave me the biggest closed-mouth smile she could, and I noticed there was a bit of a gap on either side of one tooth, but not enough for another tooth to be missing.
“Oh, I guess not,” I sighed. “You’ve got a little bit of space around one of your teeth, though. Maybe it’s wiggly?”
It was then that Mira opened her mouth wide to wiggle her tooth and I saw the reason for the space around that tooth: her adult tooth was already coming in, right behind it.
I help this kid nearly every day with brushing her teeth. How could I miss another tooth already coming in? Especially one that’s already made it that far and is the size of two baby teeth?
So after we made all of the Shark Girl jokes (because really? You MUST make shark girl jokes when your child is starting to grow a second row of teeth), it was time to get to work on removing that baby tooth. After all, that big tooth needs room to get in there – behind all of the other teeth isn’t a very useful place to be.
It was very loose, and I told Mira if she could just wiggle it endlessly it would probably fall out that day or the next. So she set to work on it, but after a while it hurt and she stopped. I reassured her it would probably fall out the next day. She was a ball of excitement at the thought of losing her first tooth and getting her first visit from the tooth fairy.
That tooth hung on the next day, though. And the day after. She requested apples to eat, brushed it extra-thoroughly, and did everything she could to get it out without actually pulling it out. By last night it couldn’t even stay in line with the other teeth, but wouldn’t come out, either.
During storytime, I asked her if she wanted me to pull it out. She agreed, and I gave it a few tries. Tiny teeth are hard to hold onto with big fingers, though, and I had no luck. “Mommy, I want it out for school pictures tomorrow!” she insisted.
I had to say goodnight to Cordy, so I told Mira she was welcome to keep trying. As I went into the next room and gave Cordy a hug goodnight, I heard Mira yell, “I did it! Mommy, I pulled the tooth out!”
Sure enough, she did. Just in time for school picture day.
We wrapped the tooth in a tissue and placed it in the pouch for the tooth fairy. She woke up this morning and found two dollars in the pouch from the tooth fairy, clipped with two sparkly hair clips for her to wear for picture day.
Now I can’t decide what to do with the tooth. I’ve kept a couple of Cordy’s teeth, but do I really want to keep collecting teeth? Not to mention, this tooth and I have a bad history going way back to when she was four months old. I have some painful memories from that tooth, and it nearly made me give up breastfeeding when she was a baby.
I’m not going to miss it at all. Although I might mourn her cute, straight-teeth smile as I open the savings fund for her future orthodontics.