I can’t remember how I lost my first tooth. But my daughter won’t have that problem. We have the video to prove it.
On Oct. 19, my 5-year-old approached us with a problem. “Look how loose my tooth is. I want it to come out already.”
She had her first loose tooth on the bottom row of her front teeth. It was loose a while, but we’d never thought of pulling it out before. I’m always of the “when the time is right it will happen” mindset, but after nearly two weeks of her wiggling it all day and being distracted by it, we offered her the option of pulling it out. I expected her to shy away in fear, and us not force the issue. We got the opposite.
She jumped up and down excitedly. “Yeah! Let’s pull it out!” That led to a challenge for me to make this memorable event an event to remember.
So I went upstairs into her room looking for some kind of inspiration while I heard my wife tell our daughter, “Are you sure? We don’t have to pull it out today,” and my daughter reply with an absolute confirmation that she wanted it done. Then I saw it, a toy Easter Bunny laying on her floor, one that’s driven me crazy for nearly a year but would be perfect for a situation like this. This bunny, which does a whole song and dance called “The Easter Hop,” actually jumps up and down off of the floor about a half inch every time he says “Hop, hop, hop.”
Doing our quickest MacGyver impression, we tied one end of string around the stuffed, mechanical bunny, and the other end around our daughter’s tooth. I had my wife, daughter and the bunny go upstairs next to the balcony, and I went below and built a soft landing pad of couch cushions. Then I pulled out my phone, hit record on the video setting and watched.
My wife balanced the bunny on the rail’s edge. My daughter pressed the palm of the bunny to get the annoying song started, then stood back and squealed with both anxiety and delight. Then the chorus hit, and the bunny, facing towards them and away from me, hopped off the ledge.
He landed on the cushions and bounced off and onto the floor, unscathed. My wife cheered, “It worked!” as my daughter felt for her once loose tooth. It was gone, tugged out by the bunny’s second-story leap, still attached to the other end of the string which now was next to me below. I moved the camera from recording their celebration above to the bunny and tooth below. The bunny’s song was still going, and he kicked his legs to hop to no avail while laying on his back. It was a success, and no animals were harmed in the making of this film.
That night my daughter put her tooth in a ziplock bag and fell asleep with it under her pillow. The Tooth Fairy came overnight apparently, leaving some money and a note which read, “I heard that you lost your first tooth, and I flew as quickly as I could! You are doing a great job taking care of your teeth. It’s very important for you to brush your teeth every day and eat healthy foods so that your teeth stay strong and pearly white. Keep up the good work!” My daughter, of course, woke us up well before 7 a.m. on a weekend to show us all this. For once, we didn’t mind.
It was a special life moment for her. We caught her a few times looking in the mirror at the gap her missing tooth left, sticking her tongue through it and then smiling. I forget kids enjoy the strangest things sometimes. I’m sure she proudly walked through school today, too, bragging to every one of her classmates about how tough she was on Saturday night.
I can’t help but be proud of her. My little princess, who has littered my house with pink paraphernalia, did something pretty brave with no pressure from us, and she’s been rewarded for it with something she can brag about for life. And I have the video evidence to back up her claim.
She grew up a little bit that day. That seems to be happening a lot lately.
Patrick Ibarra is the managing editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.