Adventures Of Fatherhood

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It was a big day on Sunday around our house, as Beckett finally lost his first tooth.

While we had been waiting for several months for it to happen, there was no advance warning of it at all. Out of nowhere, he woke up Saturday morning with one of his teeth on his bottom row literally dangling out of his mouth. It was funny to hear him announce it first thing that morning because his annunciation was quite altered by the loose tooth moving around inside his mouth.

After fiddling around with the loose tooth, it became obvious that he had actually two teeth loose at the same time, both on the bottom row.

Understandably, he was anxious to lose the tooth, but when I pulled on it a little he let me know it hurt, so we let it be for the day. However, he never forgot about it. In fact, every time his head popped out of the ocean he reached into his mouth to make sure he had not lost it in the water.

We had a contingency plan in case that happened, but fortunately it didn’t. The next morning it was even looser. Again, after an attempt to give it a little yank, he said it hurt so I stopped.

Finally, on Sunday while swimming in the pool in the rain, I got a good hold of it and gently pulled on it. It came right out and then fell into the pool. Down under we both went and I found it quickly. He immediately jumped out of the pool and ran inside to tell his mom, forgetting he was soaking wet, of course.

Although we had discussed it briefly previously, his attention naturally turned to the entire tooth fairy concept and some things he had heard about it from friends. Naturally, the conversation eventually turned to money. I was relieved to hear he did not have expectations because I feel strongly there is no need to go overboard when it comes to teeth, especially considering there are 20 of them.

After huddling, Pam and I decided a $2 bill was going to be the loot left behind by the tooth fairy for his first tooth. Since he had never heard of that denomination of paper money, he was quite pleased and came downstairs in emotional fashion the morning he found it under his pillow. “Bam, a $2 bill,” he proudly boasted, standing in the living room with legs spread wide and the $2 bill over his head like he was holding the Super Bowl trophy.

He handed it over and told me nonchalantly not to lose it and “put it in his lunch box for ice cream money.” I convinced him that I was happy to give him money for his ice cream and that instead he should save it.

Fortunately, throughout the first tooth adventure, he never asked what the tooth fairy does with the actual tooth. Fearing that question might be coming, I asked Pam and she was as bewildered as I was. In case the question came, I had prepped some sort of nonsense explanation about the teeth being used to make fairy dust for magic, but I was even chagrined by that poor explanation.

Fortunately, for him and me, the question never came, but we still have 19 more teeth to go.


While not possible every day, I enjoy picking my kids up from school when I can.

Along the way, I have learned from past experiences two key things. First, not to pepper them with questions about their day and, secondly, to not come empty handed, particularly with Beckett, 6, a first grader.

Early on, a precedent was set with Beckett and he now expects every day to be picked up with a snack. That’s why most of the immediate conversation is about what is waiting for him in the car. I always ask him how his day was, and he invariably returns the same answer he has for the last couple years. “It was good,” he always reports while chewing or drinking whatever I brought along.

Previously, I would ask him what his favorite part of the day was out of curiosity. I learned early on I was seeking too much. After days and days of responses like, “I don’t know,” “lunch and recess” and “PE,” I don’t even ask immediately. Later, when I do, I preface it with and don’t say any of those.

Nowadays, I work off the assumption that he doesn’t want to talk about school immediately afterwards and hold off my curiosity to later when he has something more substantive to offer.

Fortunately, we did not start the snack with Carson’s pickups so that’s not a daily requirement at this point. Of course, with Carson, 4, an afternoon pre-kindergartner, it’s unique because he can’t tell us verbally how his day was so we have to get more creative when trying to come to a conclusion.

While we can usually gain some insight from his teacher, Carson also sheds some light by either frowning or smiling when asked if he had a good day.

So far, and we are only two weeks in, there have been two common observations with Carson after school.

While walking to the car from school, he has signed “all done” to me each day, and he seems thrilled when I say he is right.

Additionally, he’s exhausted and has fallen asleep in the car ride back home every day I have picked him up, so he too is not much for offering immediate information about his school day.