Posted by: Kate | September 28, 2010

The Unbearable Weight of Tooth

Emily lost a tooth this evening.

Willem and I offered to help, repeatedly.  She declined our offers and suggestions, though I still am baffled at her doubt as to the effectiveness of, “I’ll just stand here and pinch the tooth, while you run away.”

She brought the drama, in the way only a ten-year-old can… of course, it helps that her parents are, in the grand and glorious tradition of all parents of ten-year-old girls as far as I am aware, complete idiots.  Throughout and after the de-toothing process, she moaned and whined and mooed and drooped and screeched until Willem realized that this was, clearly, one of the teeth rooted all the way down to the spinal column.  She finally explained to me, “Mom, this really hurts.  You just don’t understand.”

Thus I was properly chastened about the true nature of pain.  Silly me, I now seen what an over-reactive and sheltered life I lead.

Later, she stage-whispered to Willem that she hoped she wouldn’t just end up with another of those stupid Pocahontas dollar coins again, because “Mom just won’t let me spend them.”  Which isn’t, technically, true… I’ll let her spend them, I just know how to properly aim and deliver the  most effective dosage of well-sure-if-you-really-want-to-spend-it-instead-of-keeping-it-special guilt.  And this is a child for whom random torn shreds of cardboard, found in the bottom of the closet six months after their clandestine liberation from the recycle bin and forgotten until this second attempt at discard, is considered “special,” so the word is still quite effective at deflating her intent to go buy some immediately-to-be-forgotten tidbit at the grocery store with her tooth money.

She tried, a year or two ago, to make me see the basic unfairness of it all: “Other kids in my class get, like, three dollars from the Tooth Fairy… and they get to spend that money however they want.”  Imagine her dismay when my response was one of sympathy for those poor children, whose Tooth Fairies didn’t commemorate such an important occasion as the loss of a body part with anything more substantial than a handful of crumpled, common currency.

Seriously, the sheer weight of the unfairness of her life must be absolutely soul-crushing, at times.  It’s a good thing she has such a strong support system at home.

On a more somber note, though: there is just something breathtakingly precious about a situation that involves the maximum height of pre-teen angst and door-slamming and attempted sustained glaring (she is still only ten, remember, so the giggles and fun did break through every now and then, despite her best efforts to remind us that she was serious), but yet saw her very carefully arranging her Thomas the Tank Engine tooth-fairy-pillow at bedtime.  My baby will always be there, and at this point the innocent toddler is just mere angstroms below the surface of the tween.



  1. My daughter lost a tooth yesterday, and the tooth fairy fell asleep last night. So now lily is weeping into her waffles. Bad, bad mom.

  2. You mean my poor-imposed upon children are not the only ones burdened by parents who give them those “golden” dollars (one per tooth)?

  3. The last tooth I lost was about that age, and I did NOT want to do the pliers thing, or the string-on-a-door handle thing, but my parents insisted on helping … so I ran and hid in the closet under the stairs and worked at it myself until it came out.

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