Teeth: Money for Blood
The tooth fairy deigned to bless our little family with a first visit back in the day, when Youngest was even younger and Eldest not so much so.
Easy-peesy. Obviously a loose pearler would painlessly vacate Eldest’s hotdog waiting-room per happenstance, followed by a mystical visit from Tinkerbell’s cousin. The child would sleep her deep sleep that night, perfect for the loving parents with a crisp note of currency a-hand to do the necessary. The morning is sure to be filled with wonder and awe at the tooth-peddling pixie’s generosity.
Enter Eldest, aged five.
I arrived home to “I HAVE A LOOSE TOOTH! LOOK DADDY IT’S LOOSE!”
A wiggly demonstration ensued and the guilty incisor was beheld, photographed and afforded the general brouhaha such Earth-shattering occurrences deserve. We noticed that the tooth, in truth, was but barely wobbling, and that there would be a wait before the chomper would be ready to come out. We told her to be patient, and that the tooth fairy would be ready with some small amount of money as reward.
I believed her over-the-top aversion to pain should be enough to prevent an undue amount of fiddling (see on Kettles, Bandages and Lions). Nevertheless I drove the point home by suggesting the usual Dad solution of attaching the tooth to a door handle with string and giving it a slam. I even offered the services of my car bumper with a similar modus operandi. Suggestions from me were banned thereafter by a bizarrely angered Wife as she comforted a mortified child. The correct way to ensure that she understood the waiting game was through reiteration, positive stroking and general good parenting practice, apparently.
Eldest is many things; dutiful, intelligent, caring and such . . .but she is not patient. She also has the close-fisted disposition of Dickens’ Scrooge, some might say.
I refer to my previous statement regarding her pain tolerance:
Immovable Object, meet Unstoppable Force.
An afternoon went by. Then a morning.
The wife and I were going about our business in the living room, the children occupying themselves safely in their rooms. In hindsight I should have been suspicious of the long silence, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? I specifically remember that Eldest had spent a long time in her tiny pink princess tent (not suitable for Dad-use, but that’s another story). This sublime calm of our household lasted about an hour before it was cracked with exclamation of, “It fell out! The tooth fell out!”
There stood Eldest beaming with the enamelled source of her enamour held out in front of her. She bristled with pride and excitement, and the Wife reflected the same back at her. As happy as I was, my reaction to this happy event was stymied thanks to the red teeth her huge smile exposed and the suspicious rivulets of blood running down her chin. Now, either she’d eaten one of our cats, or there had been undue fiddling involved.
As it turns out, this small beautiful and skittish child of mine, with whom tiny splinter removal becomes an afternoon long ordeal as well as reason for the neighbours to alert child protection services, had sat in the little pink princess tent and worked that stubborn tooth loose; through pain, tears and torture.
I’m not even mad at that. Apparently the unstoppable force won, and this child isn’t going to wait for life to give her her boons and dues. She’s going to grab them.