The Case of the First Wiggly-Tooth Meltdown: A Suggestion

Perhaps it was a vegetable that spurred the first wiggle. It could have been a piece of pepperoni from the pizza. There was a disturbance in the force, but it truly went off the rails when blood trickled down the side of my son’s lip.

That’s not tomato sauce, I thought. Perhaps I missed something and my son was evolving into a vampire. I checked my neck: no fang punctures. Those vamps can be quite spry so I’m always cautious.

A fresh shoot of a new tooth!

More blood appeared. As my son put one and two together, he realized his first tooth was about to hit the ripcord. My wife and I grinned but the look on my kid’s face was one of pure terror.

Now there’s blood on his finger. It doesn’t stop and I’m sure the taste of blood, mixed with pizza and broccoli, did not sit well. A full-on meltdown ensued and he was inconsolable.

“What’s going to happen!?!”

“You’re going to get your first adult tooth, isn’t that exciting?”

“NO!” He tried to wiggle it back into place which released another trickle of blood. “Oh my God… what if I swallow it?”

“Well don’t expect daddy to go digging around tomorrow for that specimen!”

The parents laughed – the child, not so much.

The rest of the meal was a mix of deep concern, hysteria and little if any food consumption. The fact he could wiggle it back and forth impeded his concentration on digesting his dinner. My immediate concern was that he’d wake up early, hungry and would disturb my wife’s beauty sleep.

Okay, that’s not really a thing in our house – I simply like waking up when daylight is present. 5:30 impedes on R.E.M. sleep.

To alleviate the situation, I came up with an idea, and if you find yourself in this situation, it works. Most parents have some method of tracking a child’s height, and you likely do as well. Tell your son/daughter they are growing up super fast and pin him/her up to see where they stack up if they go bonkers about their first wiggly tooth.

We showed him how in less than four months, he had grown an inch. Immediately thereafter, he got it. He was nearly ecstatic when he mentally put one and two together – his growth and his bloody tooth.

The next day, he gave it a tug and BAM! Within the confines of his hand was tooth number one, ready for the tooth fairy.

What did the tooth fairy bring? A $5.00 bill and a silver dollar, one of those big ones from the sixties which I polished up and put in an envelope by his bedside.

Why did I use an envelope? I was paranoid I’d screw up the switch late at night and he’d wake up and proceed to call me a ‘fairy.’

The moral of the story – find a way to make growing up relatable to something a child can easily process, and the process itself will be easier.

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Damon Ashworth Psychology

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