My six year old has his first loose tooth. He is delighted. Losing teeth is the most popular subject in his class at school (after football cards). He said one boy spent the “whole morning” in the toilet waggling his teeth! T is completely envious of peers who have already lost a tooth but I have discovered how much I am dreading this stage.
I had forgotten those years of losing teeth, of waggling them with your tongue until they are hanging by a thin strand of flesh; of tying bits cotton then slamming doors to pull recalcitrant teeth out. I don’t remember the pain of new ones coming through. I do remember the excitement of placing a little tooth under my pillow and waking to see what was there in the morning.
My children have beautiful teeth and I am dreading them dropping out to be replaced by unsightly gummy gaps and huge crooked slabs, teeth seemingly too big for tiny mouths. Maybe part of my dread is that this is another stage of them growing up, and children growing up can be hard for parents. Much as we can enjoy the new experiences (and sometimes freedoms) that growing up brings, there is also, for me certainly, a little pang of loss at what is now passed for ever.
Mostly however, the excitement over losing teeth has made me feel quite queasy. I didn’t really want to wobble my son’s proffered tooth and I’m hoping my husband is back from Bangladesh before it needs any intervention!
And what’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days? I’ve heard that in some playgrounds it’s become competitive - before long I’m sure we will be expected to put a Nintendo Wii under the pillow as payment for each tooth. Fortunately I am blessed with a level-headed group of mums, but I’m sure some are more generous than others.
Pocket money has more meaning for T now – he has things he wants to buy. He’s being sucked into the playground football card obsession and me, being Harsh Mummy, has dictated that if he wants the cards, he has to use his pocket money (which he earns by helping in the garden, one friend asked me if this was child labour!) It might sound hard but I think it helps for them to learn the “value” of money, to appreciate the having of it and that it doesn’t just appear by magic. The boys certainly are wonderfully excited when they are given coins to drop in their money boxes.
I also do not feel inclined to start the endless quest to fill the very expensive football card book which will soon be discarded for the next craze. So I’m resisting, and to give T credit he is excited enough about joining in with the couple of packs he has bought. A pack of six cards costs 50p, so maybe that’s where the Tooth Fairy should start.