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Smile and Say, 'Tooth Fairy'

A son's toothless grin is adorable; the snaggletooth on the way there is horrifying.

Seven years ago I made a deal with my husband when our son Ethan was born. I would carry and birth our child, and he would handle all loose teeth.

I have this freaky little anxiety about teeth, and I knew that at some point our children would start to lose their teeth. The thought of this would seriously make the hair on my arms stand up. Loose, wiggly teeth hanging on to a swollen gum for dear life.

I don't know where this issue came from. I had no problem as a child pulling my own teeth.

Everyone has that story of their parents pulling their first tooth or at least trying.

I vaguely remember my first loose tooth. My dad had to lay me on the kitchen counter, and I'm not sure what happened. But I know I went running to my room with the tooth still in my mouth. (I think.) It was traumatic enough for me to handle all other teeth.

I couldn't stand to have loose teeth in my mouth. I recall going into the bathroom before or in the middle of dinner, locking the door, and wiggling and twisting my loose tooth (sometimes teeth) in the mirror until I had extracted it from my mouth. Then I would finish up a cold dinner. 

There was of course the whole ritual of putting my tooth under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy. I believe way back then we were spoiled by a quarter, sometimes 50 cents. Well, today I have heard of the Tooth Fairy bringing gifts and large bills along with the gifts. Yowza!

So having a child who isn't the first to lose his tooth in his pack of friends, we have a lot of research to do as parents. Talk about keeping up with the Joneses.

There really should be some sort of price cap set for losing a tooth. Is it really necessary to break the bank over a tooth? Won’t these kids need braces and retainers in a couple of years anyway?

Seriously, it’s a tooth, not a kidney, folks. 

Well, last summer Ethan lost his bottom front teeth. It was insane how loose he would let these teeth get. We were at the pool, and I was scared to death he would lose one or even swallow it during one of his tricks off the diving board.

We were taking an ice cream break with some friends, and he couldn't even enjoy it because his tooth was so loose and bleeding. My friend was trying to help him (she clearly didn't have issues with loose teeth).

I, on the other hand, was about to toss some cookies and pass out from the whole experience.

Yep, Mom of the Year—can't even look at her son with a tooth hanging from his lower lip.

The only thing we accomplished at the pool that day was to get his tooth so grossly loose that it was connected only by a breath.

That night at my parents’ place, Ethan collected a handful of candy my dad was enticing him with, knowing he couldn't eat it with that tooth. Finally my mom took him in the bathroom “just to have a look.”

Whew.

Minutes later, out came my superproud boy with a gaping hole in his smile! Not having to pull it was worth $5 to me. The following week, he pulled the first tooth’s neighbor.

Whew—another $5 for not making me crazy with a dangler.

We then had a nice nine-month break from crazy loose teeth.

Ethan’s top teeth seem to have been loose for months. I remember thinking if he really went to town on the wiggling, we could totally do the “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” Christmas card.

Nope. He let them slowly—and I mean SLOWLY—loosen on their own.

My husband is a big believer that when they are ready, they will fall out. I'm more of the thought of “Oh, it’s moving a bit. … Get it out.” Go hide in the bathroom and make it happen.

So needless to say, Ethan takes after my husband, and he lets his teeth practically turn gray with lack of blood supply.

His front teeth have been so ridiculously loose for the past month. One was so loose, it fell out while he was eating yogurt. Really??? Yogurt??? Do you feel my pain??

I was losing my mind, not even able to look at him, because his front teeth were all jacked up and twisty, hanging from his gum line. It was the craziest thing. 

Somehow we made it through the weekend, a sleepover with six roughhousing 7-year-old boys, followed by a day on the Slip ’n Slide, without losing that second pesky tooth.

Ethan's smile was not even a smile his own mother could love. He gave “snaggletooth” its definition.

Somehow this one front tooth had centered itself sideways in his mouth. How? One side was actually hanging lower than the other. Ohhhh, so freaky.

Well, when I was pulling up in carpool, I caught Ethan's eye and then his big, fat, toothless grin as he pointed to his mouth. I honestly think it was my favorite silent moment we have shared. I was giggling and clapping at him, while he was giggling and smiling his big-gapped smile, knowing I was thrilled not to have to see that snaggletooth again.

He had lost it at lunch in the cafeteria. The clinic gave him this creepy plastic molar to hold the lost tooth and wear around his neck. Wow, talk about a job I could never do. 

For now we are free from loose teeth. I want to enjoy this toothless smile. To me, it is the most precious thing ever.

It has come full circle from his teething days as a baby, which still seem just like yesterday. Oh, how I loved those little pearly-white Tic Tac-size teeth on my baby boy. Funny how things change over seven years. 

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