Once again, you can read a million books and still never be prepared for the next thing that surprises you child rearing. I’m actually reading three toddler rearing advice books right now and still wasn’t able to respond properly this morning when Jack, at the young age of 4 and 1/2, showed me his wobbly lower two teeth.
He was pretty upset about this recent development. He couldn’t stop crying. After smiling and telling him it’s a good thing I realized I ought to be empathizing with him. That trying to explain to him he shouldn’t be upset was just upsetting him more, belittling his fears.
I tried next, “It can be scary when your teeth fall out.”
That put him in a tailspin where he felt the need to go brush his teeth for 20 minutes while crying the whole time.
No matter what I did he could not be comforted. Letting him know it’s normal and everyone goes through it did nothing. (I guess while feeling labor, hearing that every mom went through it is no consolation either). Nor did boasting that he’s getting his ‘big kid’ teeth in.
In the end I resigned to the lap cuddle. Jack cried on my lap for even longer while Ben tugged at my back, crying from lack of attention.
Even the explanation of how the tooth fairy came and left money under his pillow scared the crap out of him. He replied, “I’m going to keep my window shut!”
Which made me wonder who came up with that crazy idea anyway. It is kind of a scary concept to think that, once you go to bed someone will sneak into your room in the middle of the night.
In hindsight I hope he’ll be happy we had the tooth fairy in our house. When I lost teeth my father wouldn’t just put money under the pillow. He would leave a note with an elaborate scavenger hunt. I hope I can pass that tradition on.