Losing your very first tooth as a child is one of life’s mini achievements. It comes with the introduction of the Tooth Fairy and, hopefully, a monetary or candy-shaped bonus. It’s one of those things you can’t wait to tell your friends about – well, can’t wait to tell anyone who stands still long enough for you to yell it at them excitedly, really. There’s nothing more satisfying than that final pop of the tooth coming loose after tonguing it for days and days and annoying your parents going, “Look, look!” and wobbling said tooth around grossly.
My first tooth fell out while I was at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida. It was pretty much the two greatest things of my, thus far, short life combined into some sort of Jeopardy daily double for children. I’d been fiddling with the tooth for about two weeks prior before we made the trip and it was one of those for sure it-will-happen-when-it’s-least-convenient kind of deals. My family was on vacation with both my Grandma and my Nana at the time, miles away from home, at one of the greatest water parks in the country.
We’d spent most of the day bobbing around in the lazy river, my parents taking a much needed break while the in-laws watched me and my sibling, as we played and tried to see how fast we could swim while propelled by the jets underwater. I was still amusing myself by prodding the tooth with my tongue, and it no longer hurt, but it was kind of sickening knowing that something wasn’t quite right. You never forget the metallic taste and the smooth new skin underneath a missing tooth. We met up for lunch and it was while we were lounging about on the sun-beds that the final pop came and I spat the tooth out into my palm and stared at it in wonder. I was finally a real child – moreso than Pinocchio; I couldn’t wait to tell my friends. I made my mother wrap it up in a napkin and keep it in her purse because it would have been the end of the world if I’d lost it after such upheaval. And obviously the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come if I didn’t have anything to offer!
For the rest of the day, my tongue would automatically find its way back into the gap, the feeling of another tooth something through, new and strange, and one of life’s little pleasures. You’ll be pleased to know that the Tooth Fairy gave me $1 in exchange for the tooth. Which I promptly spent on toffees since I could finally eat them again!