03 May 2016

A conversation with a 4 year old about the Tooth Fairy

The other day Ashton, Alex and I were all playing outside but the truth is, Alex was really cranky. Like bad. He was just walking around saying no to the world and swatting things. At one point he was wailing loudly for no particular reason, so I pulled him in for a hug and saw it. A big ole...

Painful lump with half a tooth coming out of it. It alllllll made sense. Ashton watched me give him some Advil, Alex pepped up a little and we all moved on. Or so I thought.

One of the funny things about young children is they can bring something up hours, days, or weeks after it happens, as though they have been marinating on it and finally want to discuss it. You need to be careful when this happens because you are suddenly under investigation with no warning at all.

So later that night, teeth brushing session before bed. Ashton asks,

"Mommy, Alex has a MOW-wer?"
"Yes, a molar. He's definitely getting one."
"Well, he turned 2 and it's just kind of a thing. The two year molars, you know."
"I know?"
"Yes. You have molars too."
"I do?"
"Yes. Back here." [show him in the mirror]
"Oh! I see. What do they do?"
"Well they are big strong teeth. They do what the Dinotrux do: Crush it! Smash it!" [emote verbs like in the theme song] "We use them for chewing food."
"Oh. Do you have any?"
"Yes." [open my mouth and show him, at which point he sees the metal bar along the inside of my bottom front teeth]
"What is THAT?" [pointing at said metal bar]
"That's my retainer. It keeps my teeth straight."
"Where did you get it?"
"At the special doctor called the orthodontist. A long time ago."
"When you were a little girl?"
"Kind of. I was 14."
"Oh. I'm 4."
[move into his bedroom, I start tucking him in]
"So the mowers just grow back there in your mouf {"mouth"} when they are ready? When you are two?"
"Then what?"
"Well then you have all these teeth until you are a big boy and then because you grow, your mouth is ready for bigger teeth, so the little ones you have now fall out and new ones come in."
[quiet while there is some very hard thinking about this]
"They...fall out?"
"Yes. But it doesn't hurt! And then the Tooth Fairy comes. You put the tooth under your pillow, and she comes and takes it and leaves you some money. Good night sweetie." [kiss, hug, turn off light]
"But why does she want to take the tooth?"
"Ummm..." [Anyone have answer ideas that don't sound sinister? I'm certain to get asked this one again]
"Why does she leave money? What do you do with it?"
"Well you can put it in your piggy bank. Good night." [standing in the doorway]
"Does the Tooth Fairy ever bring presents?"
"Well...no, just money."
"But what if I want presents not money?"
[shut door, pray he has no scary dreams about a pixie flying around his room and snatching up teeth]


I heard that kids ask somewhere in the neighborhood of 288 questions per day. This never-ending conversation included just 18 of those 288. A measly 6.25%! So you see what I am dealing with here.

The larger concern is that third degree interrogation is happening to parents everywhere. The questions are constant and most adults are not walking Googles. I, for one, would estimate that 85% of my answers are legit. Like I fielded the above questions pretty handily. Otherwise I wing it. Good thing he goes to school.

Ashton, age 4, possesses unknown amounts of misinformation even though his mom has her bachelor's degree and works at a university. 

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