Baby teeth

My daughter finally lost her tooth. It was a relief, that it came out just before the first day of school.

The tooth was hanging on by the merest hinge, and as long as she was home, she delighted in flipping it back and forth gruesomely; but the prospect of losing it at school presented some problems. She’s a bit of a bleeder.

What if she wore her favorite mask with the parakeet on it for the first day of school, and she ended up bleeding on it? She could bring a second mask as a back-up, I suggested. But does blood come out of masks? I assured her that it does. Still, we were all relieved that the tooth fell out the night before. So much better to deal with these things at home.

So then of course she lost the tooth anyway — lost it after losing it, I mean. She had put it in a sandwich bag and set it by her plate while she ate dinner, and her older brother cleared the table and mistook this fragment of her for trash, and threw it out.

Understandable all around. A sympathetic hug, and she was mostly over it. She probably has another baby tooth in her head to lose, still, so I don’t think this was her last chance to slip a tooth under her pillow and hope someone, magical or otherwise, would come and collect it in the night.

It’s a strange thing to work around, the idea that part of our skeletal system might fall out during the day, and we have to decide what to do with it. It’s hard to shake the idea that the system of growing and losing teeth isn’t halfway magical — not in an airy, sparkly way, but in a murkier, more occult vein, where biology bleeds into grisly existentialism, and hidden things come to light only to be lost again, leaving a half-healed wound. Strange that we just live with this system, as if it’s normal.

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