And there was great rejoicing in the land!


When one of the children loses a tooth, it is a very big deal. Not because they think, “Yea, I’m becoming a big girl!” or even “Cha-ching! Come on, Tooth Fairy!” But because it means a whole lot less whining going on around here.

Initially the loose tooth is an exciting topic of conversation, meriting daily, if not more frequent,  updates as in, “My tooth is a little wiggly!… I can move it back and forth!… Now I can move it left to right! See!” (open mouth shoved in face.) “Now I can touch the bottom of it with my tongue!…It’s hanging by a thread!”

You would think by the time we’ve reached that last level of development we’re sitting pretty, but no, that stage lasts about a week. These children will keep that tooth in there as though their lives depend on it. Why? Clearly they aren’t motivated by greed. They don’t worry they’ll have nothing to talk about once the tooth is gone. They’re not even concerned about diminished chewing quality when one tooth down. Nope. It’s the simple fear of pain.

Here’s where I go from being World’s Greatest Mom to, uh, something a little closer to the opposite extreme.

Let me explain.

Physical pain doesn’t bother me as much as the average bear. If it were my tooth, I’d yank that sucker and get on with my day. Physical annoyance, on the other hand…

Here’s how it begins: “I can’t eat that; it’s too hard.” {Whining.} “Do we have anything softer?” {Whining.} “Can’t I just have applesauce for dinner?” {Whining.} “There’s nothing here that I can eat. I might as well starve.” {Whining.}

Then it becomes time to brush the teeth before bed. “Be careful of the loose tooth,” I get reminded every.single.night. for weeks. Then there is the cringing and jaw tightening as I try to ever so carefully brush the QUADRANT that the tooth is in. I’m not going to waste time on the loose one itself. That sucker is headed for the trash heap anyway.

Then it’s, “The tooth is making it too hard for me to spit out the tooth paste. Can we get the swallowable kind?” Not unless you’re going to swallow that tooth too and be done with it, Kid!

Throughout all of this madness, most especially when it’s at the hanging by a thread stage, I’ll frequently ask, “Why don’t you just let me take it out?” I could probably touch the thing and it would fall out. This suggestion always elicits more whining, however, and in some cases, tears. Now wary, my children won’t even let me look at a loose tooth without my hands tied behind my back.

And so, it was with great joy that I heard this, while my daughter was eating her soft squishy pasta: “Doot! Doo! Doo!” (Yes, she made her own fanfare.) “My tooth fell out!”

“Hooray!” I cheered from the kitchen with sincere enthusiasm. She waved as though from a float in a parade or a window in Buckingham Palace.

Then came the ritual cleansing of the tooth followed by the ceremonial enshrouding of the sacred tooth in the sacred toilet paper square and placement under the royal pillow, all while being trailed by her adoring and awed sisters.

Then my daughter returned to her meal. “Finally, it’s over!” I thought with a sigh of relief.

“It’s hard to eat with the gap in my teeth,” she complained. “My tongue keeps getting stuck in it.”


How about you, parents? Do your kids make a huge deal over a loose tooth? Do you handle it well, or with less enthusiasm, as I do?



9 responses »

  1. I was too young when I got my 1st haircut (but have the movie) to think of it as a loss, and I doubt I ever went thru the stage that’s been said to exist of children wanting to hold on to their feces, but I really did feel it as a loss when it came to my baby teeth. I knew that the next teeth were the last real ones I’d have, and it did bother me a few years ago when I had to have a molar pulled (although previously I’d had a wisdom tooth extracted — and even that loss bothered me a little), and I felt very bad as a child about accidentally causing my father the loss of an incisor.

    However, as I think about this it reminds me of a Miller High Life TV commercial, one of their Miller Time series. It started with the explosive demolition of a bldg. & continued by following the demolition team to “Miller Time”. But then in the closing shot, the foreman, still drinking the beer in an office, was shown by the contractee flipping the sheet on an easel, “…and this is what you’ve made room for.” It was a drawing of a…just…magnificent…bldg. I’m sobbing with joy as I recall this. Just a very poignant scene, more emotional to me than probably the producer of that ad felt. The timing, the surprise switch from destruction to construction…movie making hardly gets any better.


  2. My first child’s first tooth loss happened in a large store. We were walking through a large center aisle and she says loudly that her tooth fell out. We never did find it. Not even with the help of all of the staff who joined us to look. She was sad. Briefly. But quickly got over it. Or at least in my memory, it is now “quickly”. Though it is a funny memory of us all looking for it.


  3. Cute story! My dad used to tie the string to the tooth and a doorknob and slam the door. Yikes! I wonder what the little one will be like during the nine months before childbirth!


  4. I was one of those with teeth hanging by threads. I remember more than one on one occasion. And one tooth was lost during a tonsillectomy at age six. Luckily the TOOTah FAIRY saved a previous tooth so the story about going back to the hospital to retrieve the tooth was plausible.

    Liked by 1 person

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