It’s Time for the Tooth—by Jamie Levine
Unlike most of the babies Jayda and I interacted with when she was a baby, my daughter didn’t get her first tooth until she was well over a year old. For awhile I was concerned about the delay…and then when Jayda’s first tooth finally did come in, I realized I should be grateful for Jayda’s maturity, because she expressed very little discomfort from the event. I honestly think that because she was older than most teething babies, she tolerated the pain better.
Because Jayda’s teeth took so long to grow in, I assumed it would be awhile before she lost her first tooth. And now that Jayda is almost six years old, and many of her friends are starting to sport gap-toothed smiles, I know that Jayda is jealous. She’s been reading books about the tooth fairy, and asking questions about her, and even making up tooth-loss-related stories. For example, a few weeks ago, Jayda ran into my room one morning and exclaimed, “Mommy! The tooth fairy came last night!”
“Huh?” I responded. “But none of your teeth have fallen out.”
“I’m not kidding, Mommy,” insisted Jayda. “I lost my tooth last night and put it under my pillow—and the tooth fairy came and gave me a brand new one!”
Then, last week, Jayda started moaning and groaning while she was brushing her teeth before school.
“What’s wrong, Jayda?” I finally asked my overly-dramatic child.
“My tooth is loose, Mommy! And it hurts!”
Of course I didn’t believe her, but she started jiggling her tooth to show me, and, what do you know—it moved just a teeny tiny bit.
Jayda moaned all morning about her loose tooth, and after school, she asked me, “Can I have two snacks today, Mommy?”
“Two snacks?” I asked suspiciously. “What kind of snacks?”
“I want graham crackers and an apple,” Jayda responded.
“I think it’s great you want an apple in addition to your cookies, Jayda—but why?” I had to ask.
“I want to bite into it and make my tooth looser!” she responded.
For the next few days, Jayda was obsessed with her “loose” tooth (in reality, it only wiggles a miniscule bit) and had her finger in her mouth jiggling it constantly—when she got off the school bus, during her gymnastics class, and even on the ice skating rink. And she told everyone about it—from her teachers and classmates at school to the woman behind the counter at the frozen yogurt store. She also insisted, “I bet it will fall out in three days!” But to my eyes, even after a week, it doesn’t seem to be getting any looser…and I think it will be quite awhile before it falls out.
Even so, I find my daughter’s antics amusing. When she gazed longingly at a giant cookie in a bakery window the other day, I innocently asked, “but won’t it hurt your tooth to bite into something like that?” And as usual, Jayda had a smart answer for me: “I’ll dip it in milk, Mommy! And chew it on the side of my mouth without the loose tooth.” One thing’s for sure: When the tooth fairy finally does arrive at our house, I think she’s going to have to reward Jayda generously for her creativity and her patience; my daughter certainly deserves it.