Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can The Tooth Fairy collect unemployment?

Max is losing his teeth. Five, so far. He looks even cuter than usual. Our babysitter, Linnette, has been joking about getting him dentures. Only I don't have a single one of those teeth. Max has been swallowing them.

It happened last night before my eyes. I was helping Max brush his teeth, and all of a sudden there was blood on the toothbrush; I looked in his mouth and saw a gap in his lower jaw where a little tooth used to be. Only it was nowhere to be found. Max has oral-motor issues, and isn't able to spit out a tooth or notice there's one floating around in his mouth.

I can vividly recall the thrill of a loose tooth when I was Max's age; I wiggled out a few in my day. And I remember the exciting anticipation of a visit from The Tooth Fairy, who'd leave me a whole dollar in exchange for my paper-towel wrapped tooth. Last night, I got a little bummed out. Bummed that I didn't have one of Max's teeth to preserve as a memory of his childhood. Bummed that Max wasn't going to experience The Tooth Fairy—not just because he didn't have a tooth to leave under his pillow, but also because he doesn't get the concept of a Tooth Fairy. Not yet, anyway.

Then I got a grip. I was doing it again, projecting visions of my own childhood onto Max. I've written before about wishing Max could lick lollipops and jump on a pogo stick, the joys I experienced. Thing is, he's having a different kind of childhood—one that's just as happy as mine was, if not more. He doesn't need a visit from The Tooth Fairy because he is perfectly content without her. (Is it un-p.c. to assume it's a her?)

"Max! You lost a tooth!" I said. "Say 'Aaahhh.' Say 'Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.'"

He giggled and said "Aaaahhhhh." I got inside his mouth with a tissue and stopped the bleeding.

Then I grabbed a few of his stuffed animals and made them kiss his jaw. I kept saying "Buh-bye, tooth!" He thought that was funny, too.

Guess The Tooth Fairy is out of a job at our house.

Photo by Peter Miller


  1. Well Ellen...you could always...um...wait until it appears out the other end...:)

    Yeah on losing teeth! Jonathan has lost 6...wiggling a few out before their time so now he has HUGE gaps! Makes speech and eating fun fun fun! He has 2 more that are loose...I told him if he wiggles them out the tooth fairy won't be visiting!

  2. Great post! I completely identify with the part about Max having a different childhood. Where my peers swung on swings and ran around the playground when we were kids, I spent a good portion of my childhood in hospitals. True, it was a different sort of childhood, but I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything.

  3. I'm dreading the sensory issues we are going to have when the Roc realizes his teeth are loose...though I'm projecting some negativity there in assuming that he is going to react unfavorably to the sensation.

    Great post! I know that I've done the same thing and have had to remind myself that he is still having a great childhood because we know what he likes and try to provide the activities that make him happiest.

    It's what we do! Anyone can see the happiness in your boys eyes!

  4. Hey Ellen, That's ok! You can still do a mock up Tooth Fairy prize! When Faith lost her first one in July, we had it b/c I got it out but Faith doesn't understand the concept either. No money for her! SO we used wipes (yes, baby wipes) b.c she loves to pull them out of the box so we filled a plastic baggie with them and put it under her pillow! She carted those things around for days!

  5. Luke has now lost 2 teeth -- and I haven't the foggiest idea of when or where. But the tooth fairy still visited. One of Luke's big sisters was VERY worried so she wrote the tooth fairy a letter explaining what happened. She also suggested that a small toy be left instead of money because Luke doesn't understand money. The end result was the tooth fairy had to make a mad dash to Walgreens and there were 2 very happy big sisters. Luke sorta liked the light flasher thingy I found.

  6. The hardest thing is not to project. Heck, it's hard not to project what my five year old could do at 2 on what Bennett can/can't do at 2.

  7. Well Regan understood the concept, but hated the thought of things or people being able to enter our house at night while she was asleep. Hence we had to be creative about toothfairy and santa....because if they can get in our house who all knows what else can get in!!!!! I think you handles it beautifully cuz stuffed animal kisses are the best.

  8. Well, he can't lick a lollipop but he can eat a chocolate drum cone (I like the cone better!). And he can't hop on a pogo stick but he can jump on the giant inflatable castle (I like those better as well!).

    And as for that tooth...if you REALLY want it as a souvenir, it'll show up eventually!

    And now Max is into the "Picket Fence" years! Funny how that look is so cute on kids, but less cute at the other end of life!

    Hey Ellen, you're out of work! Just as well Max isn't into the Tooth Fairy--stuffed animal kisses are way more fun and cheaper as well!

    A "different" childhood can be a wonderful childhood. After all, there are folks all over the world who don't "do" Santa, either...and they grow up to be happy and well-adjusted! Don't stress...instead, experience Max's different childhood right along with him and have a blast doing it. Rather than retracing steps along your path, you have the opportunity to walk down his path and experience his brand new childhood--almost like having two childhoods, yourself!

    As a perpetual child myself, I see advantages to that approach!

  9. I love that picture of Max - he is SO handsome! (I know you know that already)

    Isn't it funny how we get all worked up over things that our kids could care less about? So funny.

    Emily has been very slow to get teeth - VERY slow. She is 2 and only has 8 teeth. We feel like she will be getting baby teeth until she is a teenager - so I cannot even imagine what we will do when her teeth fall out and I bet she starts swallowing them just like Max does!

  10. Great picture!

    One year my brother lost the tooth that was supposed to go under his pillow, so he put a little toy part under his pillow instead--worked just as well:)

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