Thursday, October 11, 2012

Looth Tooth

My six-year-old got his first loose tooth the other day. Like many parents of boys, I was initially skeptical about whether he had come about this naturally, rather than as a result of jumping from the top bunk onto his brother. Six seemed early to already be losing one’s teeth.

But my musings about how the tooth had been jarred from its moorings were interrupted by my wife. “Are we going to do, you know, the Tooth Fairy thing?” I was speechless. I thought we wouldn’t have to make any potentially life-altering child rearing decisions again until girlfriends started calling. But there I was, pondering the existence of a midnight wanderer in a tutu.

I have to be honest; we’ve been pretty inconsistent in recognizing the figments of our culture’s imagination. We’ve introduced Santa Claus, but only as a character in a story, not as a prowler who slinks into our living room once a year and leaves presents behind. The Easter Bunny has been completely ignored, as I never could determine its connection to Jesus Christ.

But I haven’t thought about the Tooth Fairy since I was, like, nine. My image of her was something between Tinker Bell and that Bippity boopity boo chick from Cinderella. And I have no need for some mini-skirt clad hussy flittering around my kid’s bed offering him money. 

There’s the question of cleanliness too. Isn’t it sending mixed messages to teach my son to wash his hands and sort his laundry and then turn around and ask him to put a decaying tooth under his pillow?

Finally I have to think about his impressions of money. I guess it depends on your political persuasion, but most folks don’t think money is something that just shows up after you’ve done nothing but put in a good night’s sleep. 

Whatever I choose, I have to do it quickly. This thing is hanging by a thread, and I know it’s only a matter of time before some wrestling match or acrobatic routine shakes it out.