Last week, our oldest daughter popped out a loose tooth on her own.
Now that she’s 10 years old, we don’t bother going through the Tooth Fairy charade with her. She actually has the baby tooth sitting on her desk right now—next to a couple of Harry Potter novels and some tween magazines. The Tooth Fairy is in her rearview mirror, along with things like Treehouse TV and holding hands with her parents.
Our youngest daughter is seven years old and still believes in the Tooth Fairy. So when she loses a tooth, one of us has to remember to go into her room, take the tooth out from under her pillow while she’s sleeping and replace it with cash–or a gift card equivalent. You see, since we always use debit and credit cards, we rarely have any actual money floating around the house. So our kids often wake up to find things like Canadian Tire money or partially used gift cards under their pillows. “Wow Lily! It looks like you’ve got $5.43 to spend at Chapter’s/Indigo from the Tooth Fairy!”
But my question for readers this week isn’t about what you leave under your child’s pillow; instead, I want to know what you do with the old baby teeth after they fall out. You obviously have two choices here: You can throw out the teeth or hang on to them as a keepsake.
To me, hanging on to the old baby teeth seems a little weird. Do you just hang onto all of them in an envelope? And if you have multiple kids, do you just toss all the teeth into one envelope labelled “Various Baby Teeth”? Or do you split up the teeth based on the child? But then an envelope marked “Lily’s Baby Teeth” might seem a little strange too. And if the child still believes in the Tooth Fairy, stumbling onto a collection of their own teeth would be a pretty crushing way for them to find out the truth.
To me, looking at the lost baby teeth would be a constant reminder about how fast the kids have grown up and I guess that would seem really sad. So that feels like a strike against hanging onto the teeth in an envelope. I suppose you could always do something with the teeth—but then you’re getting into creepy territory. Personally, I don’t want to become one of those parents who makes a necklace out of my daughter’s baby teeth and then wears it on the day she leaves for college.
Also, it seems a little weird that we have locks of hair from their first haircuts alongside their old teeth. It’s almost like we’re waiting for the Jurassic Park technology to come around and we can recreate the kids using DNA samples that we have stored away in our attic.
On the flip side, just throwing out the teeth in the garbage does seem a little harsh and cold. Those lost baby teeth are more sentimental than toenail clippings—which you toss away without a second thought. (Although if you are keeping your child’s toenail clippings, you’d better be making one hell of a necklace out of them).
But if you are throwing away the teeth, it does free up the clutter and you won‘t get choked up when you’re looking at them down the road. Maybe just saving one tooth per child is the way to go.
I think I fall into the camp of tossing out most of the teeth out in the trash, but I would love to know what other parents do.
Follow along as Ottawa-based sports radio host Ian Mendes gets candid about raising daughters, Elissa and Lily, with his wife, Sonia. Read all of Ian’s The Good Sport posts and follow him on Twitter @ian_mendes.
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