So, last night, Selam was more determined than ever to lose her first tooth. She had an apple after breakfast and two after dinner and still the tooth hung on.
Bedtime was the grouchfest that it’s been lately, with her having honed her stall techniques at about the same time that I lost my patience with it. I delivered my “right now, young lady” speech and sent her to the bathroom. She was crying when she began to brush her teeth. I kept an ear on it, hoping that she’d stop when she lost her audience. After a minute, I heard this funny hiccuping sound. I thought that she’d wound herself up to a full-on cry over being told to stop throwing blankets around the living room when it was time for bed. I had just stepped into the bathroom, when she busted out shouting, “I lost my first tooth!!!!”
“Today is your lucky day!” I said. I rinsed her mouth with water, oohed and ahed over the tooth, helped her find the little tooth box she’d made in Arts and Crafts a year ago, and took a picture.
After that, we still had reading to do, but it was slow going, since every page had to be related to the fact of the lost tooth. Several times, she interrupted just to have the chance to look at her tooth again.
I sang to her as always, but the tune didn’t lull her like normal. I sang and sang and sang, and she remained wide eyed and awake. “I just can’t believe I really lost my tooth,” she said.
Finally, finally she was asleep. I filled an envelope with glitter and 3 crisp dollar bills (the first one gets bonus pay–all others will be a dollar). I wrote her name on the front in my fanciest script, and slipped it under her pillow.
Morning, she sprang from bed, “the fairy!” she exclaimed. Under her pillow she found the envelope. She was thrilled with the dollar bills because she got 3 of them and her friend Ben who got $20.00 for his first tooth only got one money! Then she spied the glitter….fairy dust. She sprinkled it in her hair.
After school, she was excited to go revisit the fairy dust. She hoped it would make her fly. It didn’t actually work that way, but she is undaunted. It might just be because she’s inside, she said.
At dinner, she told me that her eating was a little different, on account of the lost tooth. She also told me that she was smarter in math as a result of the lost tooth. Pretty much all good things in life can probably be directly linked to the lost tooth.
She wonders, also, about her lost tooth. What does the fairy do with them? Can she visit it someday? Does it miss her other teeth?
Sometimes, babe, you just have to let lost things be lost, I say. Push those birdies out of the nest, put the donations in the goodwill box, send the letter, shut the door, walk away. And then turn around and dance with the fairy dust that only comes after you say goodbye.