Monday, August 27, 2007

Down A Tooth

Madison has had her first "wiggler" for the last couple of weeks, one of her bottom central incisors. She's gone through periods of fascination with this - wandering around the house moving it back and forth with the top of her finger and sharing the experience with anyone who happened to be around.

Appropriately horrified by this clear and present precursor to college, we would implore her "not to rush" the thing out of her mouth and let it "take its own time." Sometimes these warnings took the form of "STOP!" Eventually, we would all forget about the unstable chopper, Madison included, and go on with our lives.

We were at my parents' yesterday to celebrate a family birthday and, once again, the refreshing blue rectangle of water that occupies their backyard. During dinner, Madison bit down on the tooth at an odd angle and it loosened considerably. She had the same experience while eating dessert. By the time we had her in the tub for a bath before driving home, the thing was clearly ready to roll, hanging on by a thread as she pushed it back and forth with her fingers.

She wanted to know if it would hurt when it came out, if it would bleed a lot, if Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens would come to our house for a party and to see her dance to the songs on the High School Musical 2 soundtrack if she invited them.

I was trying to rinse the shampoo out of her hair, reassure her that pain and blood were not going to be much of an issue and explain that Zac and Vanessa are really pretty busy at the moment when suddenly she looked up and said, "It's out! Daddy, look, it came out!"

She extended her palm and there it was... a tiny white chip, smaller than a Tic Tac, to go along with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon, missing an essential span of rock. All of the other party guests had already left, so Madison ran around the house looking for Grandma and Grandpa to show them the tooth and, after receiving the requisite praise and adulation, asked us to start calling friends and relatives on the phone.

When we got into the car for the drive home, she wondered aloud how the Tooth Fairy would know to come to our house that night. To be honest, Gwen and I hadn't appropriately prepared for this obvious question, even with the early warning, but Ava jumped in and attempted to save the day.

"I know, I know, I know," she said. "The Tooth Fairy has a special machine, and she carries it around with her and she puts the machine on the pillow to tell her if there is a tooth inside."

Madison considered this for about half a second and said, "NO... that's not it! Because then she would have to go to every house and every pillow in the whole world looking for teeth every night, and there is no way she could do it. Maybe she has a magic globe that shows her where to go for teeth."

Gwen and I agreed that they were both right. The Tooth Fairy uses a magic globe to find the houses she is supposed to visit each night and - once inside - a special machine to find the teeth waiting under their respective pillows. That seemed to satisfy the occupants of the back seat and end the debate.

When we got home the girls were ready for bed. Madison put the tooth into a plastic bag and nestled it under her pillow, in between asking several thousand additional questions related to the logistics and machinations of the Tooth Fairy.

Gwen and I settled in and watched Entourage while waiting for sleep to take hold. There was plenty of Ari, which is always the sign of a good episode. After the show was over, I went into our office and started work on the note that appears below. We went through several drafts and finally, as I was getting ready to fold some money into the finished product about 11:30 p.m., Gwen had an inspiration worthy of Christmas morning - she got out of bed and liberally covered the page with glittery hairspray.

Dear Madison,

I was so happy to pay you a visit tonight, and see the first of 20 baby teeth you will lose over the next few years. What a cute little tooth. Congratulations!

As your Mommy and Daddy probably told you already, it is very important now that you brush your teeth every morning before leaving for school and again at night before going to bed, because the new teeth you grow will be with you for the rest of your life. Take good care of them!

Since this is the first tooth you lost, I am leaving it for you in your special box, so you can always remember it. I am also leaving you something special under your pillow… buy yourself something nice!

Tell your family that I said hello. This is the first of many visits I will make to your house to pick up your baby teeth as they come out, and it is nice to have a new friend.

The Tooth Fairy

I went into Madison's room, confirmed she was sleeping and made the exchange. As mentioned in the letter, I dropped the tiny tooth into a little silver "my first tooth" box she'd been given as a baby, which we'd left on her nightstand.

About 4 a.m., she appeared at the side of my bed. "She came! Daddy, the Tooth Fairy came! She left this under my pillow," she said, producing the note.

We opened the letter together and she asked me to read it, which I did. Her face was like a fireworks show, an amazing representation of child-like wonder and astonishment worthy of something out of J.K Rowling. When I finished reading, she ran around the bed to Gwen's side to show her as well.

This morning, as she was getting dressed, she called me into her room and showed me the note again. Holding the paper at an angle, so the light bounced off the glitter, she said, "Look, Daddy, see how it sparkles?"

One down, 39 more to go in our house, and I am looking forward to lamenting and celebrating all of them.


Blogger Priya Giri said...

i think that was a sweet and wonderful thing to do for a daughter who lost her tooth for the first time - as a mother of a six year old i am waiting for that "shaky-tooth "moment - nothing so far ... but i shall be inspired by that note when it does happen .....
priya -mumbai /India

5:59 AM  
Blogger Neer said...

you know what....!!! i think you guys are SUPER! Madison and Ava are such lucky girls! Touche'

Keep it up Jim and Gwen... you don't know what great job you are doing... i am taking inspiration from you here!

2:17 AM  
Blogger sombergal said...

You are truly talented at being able to capture the moment while writing. Your blog makes me smile, except for the apple adoration.

11:21 AM  

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