December 2, 2010

A season of change...

Only a few weeks of fall remain, and here at our place the last of the leaves that have been clinging for dear life to the treetops are slowly giving in to the perfect design in God’s creation.  One by one they fall off the trees, dropping to the ground after a valiant but pointless fight, making room for the fresh new leaves to slowly present themselves in the spring.
And so it is with the baby teeth of our three younger children.  With twin eight-year-olds and a six-year-old, we are squarely in the midst of the season where cute little white chiclets are dangling and then falling from their sweet mouths like so many leaves, making way for the new ones to slowly present themselves.  We don’t teach our kids that some fairy comes creeping into their room while they sleep, putting money under their pillow and taking their tooth for who-knows-what-reason, but we do give them a little something ourselves, an attempt to ease their minor suffering with a little cold hard cash.  At a dollar a tooth, it adds up quickly.
We established this amount when our older son lost his first tooth, while I was expecting the twin boys.  We knew he’d be out of the tooth-loss business by the time they got into it, so a dollar was not an unreasonable reward.  But when the younger boys finally reached this time of life, wiggling and tugging on loose teeth, suddenly their two-years-younger sister joined in, even losing her first tooth just before one of the twins.  Perhaps she willed it to be so when she saw how lucrative it was.  With three kids losing teeth all at once, it looks like some sort of poorly-planned government program with a long line of people waiting for their handout the government can't afford.  In hindsight, a nice shiny quarter wouldn’t have been a bad way to go.
And so we pay out seemingly every time we turn around, as the three young ones compare their progress, counting grown-up teeth, wigglers, and empty spaces.  When a tooth falls, the tooth-loser always poses for a picture of their new smile, gets their dollar, and runs off to stuff it into their piggy bank.  The lost tooth then goes into a little jar along with its predecessors from all three mouths.  This is a new part of the process, and the pile is accumulating slowly despite the rapid rate of loss.  Over the years the kids have thrown their teeth out, or have not been able to find them, or have even donated them to science, examining the effects of saturating them in Coke.  But lately, if I manage to get my hands on a lost tooth, into the little jar it goes as one more way to commemorate the occasion.  This is a season of life that is passing all too quickly.

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