My kid lost a tooth.
It had been dangling precariously for a few days before our six month dental visit. The dentist remarked "wow, that's kinda early", but then again this is the kid who had six teeth in her mouth by her 4 month pediatric checkup. Her teeth don't mess around with concepts like "average age".
Somehow the tech managed to get my kid to sit for two x-rays, which is half of a complete set, but knowing my kid, the woman must be a miracle worker. I can't even get a finger near her teeth, let alone convince her to put anything in her mouth. We tried to spark her curiosity by telling her she was gonna get a photograph of her teeth on the inside. "Isn't that neat?" I kept proclaiming, as if I had never heard of dental X-rays before. Surely enough, just under the gum line, there's two teeth pushing their way up.
Of course, her mouth was even more off limits after the dentist's visit. I'd be begging to touch the loose tooth. "C'mon, I'm just gonna touch it gently...". No dice. Don't blame her. I also refused to have my teeth touched as a kid (my kid cries at the dentist, but it's nothing compared to my dentist's visits as a kid: I would kick and scream on the chair, and usually the dentist would give up waaaay before the exam was supposed to be over). I did mention that we'd need to save the tooth for the tooth fairy. "I think she's gonna visit soon, and I just want to get to see the tooth one more time before she takes it!".
No dice. Thursday night, as I'm getting kiddo ready for bed (bath, vitamins, tooth brushing, flossing, then PJs and bedtime books*), I put toothpaste on her toothbrush, turn around and ask her to open her mouth and... a tooth missing.
"Did you know you are missing a tooth?"
"When did it fall?"
"Did you still have it before dinner?"
She ate the tooth. I wasn't upset, more wondering "Can you really swallow a baby tooth and not notice???" (apparently so: one of her Pre-K teachers remarked on Friday "I used to do that too!"). No matter. We brushed, went through the nightly routine, and during flossing I said "Giada, the tooth fairy is gonna come tonight! She's been waiting to visit!". Confused stares follow. "Well, you did lose a tooth. For this once, I'm gonna leave the tooth fairy a note vouching for your tooth. But next time, let's try to take the tooth out of your mouth when it dangles, so the tooth fairy can get a tooth. She needs a tooth to leave a present, you know..."
Later, when I was absolutely sure kid was asleep, I left a little bejeweled box on the floor in her room, with a shiny half dollar inside (let's face it, she has no concept of money, it might have as well been a million dollars). The tooth fairy was way too chicken to try the pillow. You really can't sneak up on this kid, she sneaks up on you. We didn't nickname her "the ninja" during my pregnancy on a lark.
The next morning, she gets up and runs out of her room with a box, which she shows dad. I'm not sure if she told him about the tooth fairy. I was upstairs, fighting to make myself get out of bed (I'll never be used to being up before 9 AM, as long as I live). Once I made my way down, I asked the kid if the tooth fairy had come.
"What did she bring?"
"Was it... the box you're holding?"
"Was there anything in the box?"
"Are you sure?"
As near as I have it, she was enthralled with the box, took the coin out, and replaced it with her own beloved trinkets. I retrieved the half dollar later and said
"Wait, was this coin in the box? I've never seen this one before."
"Why didn't you say so?"
We put the coin in her favorite drawer. I told her that by the next time the tooth fairy comes again ("Hopefully not soon. She's very busy, you know. You don't happen to have any more loose teeth, do you?" "Nope". "Good"), we'll get a piggy bank so she can save up her tooth fairy money to buy a prize.
It barely registered. Four is just too young for the tooth fairy. My mom (who's visiting) told me I was even younger when I started losing my teeth (being that my brother is only a year older than me, it's more likely that we were both losing teeth around 4-5 years old respectively, and it got hard to keep track of it), and that she mostly stuck to consoling me because I was sad, so she kept reminding me my baby teeth were coming loose to make space for some new friends. I wonder how weird it sounded to me. Then again, the tooth fairy would have probably been a fuzzy concept too.
But damn. Four and a half is too young for the tooth fairy. It seemed like only yesterday I held her, a red faced, fuzzy headed bundle who was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me.
* On a good night, I only have to read three medium length books. On a bad one, we read for a half hour plus because someone is trying to put off sleep.