slice of life

To Keep the Baby Teeth or to Throw Them Away… That is the Question!

Marc insisted we save Isabelle’s first baby tooth — which was actually a natal tooth she’d had since birth — when it fell out. Personally, the idea of saving teeth creeped me out. However, Marc’s mom saved his baby teeth. Since he doesn’t ask for much I slipped the tooth into a plastic baggie and put it inside of Isabelle’s baby book.
As each subsequent tooth has fallen out, I’ve traded each one for some money. Each tooth has been placed — while I cringed — into that same plastic bag every time.
Yesterday at 2:00 a.m., Isabelle woke us up from deep slumbers to announce her seventh baby tooth had fallen out. (Thankfully, Marc got up with her since I had already been up with Ari.) By the time morning came, I noticed the tooth was in a plastic baggie, taped to her bedroom door, awaiting the tooth fairy’s arrival. (Yes, our tooth fairy still doesn’t go into her room. She doesn’t want to be found out!)
Last night, after Isabelle had been in bed for a couple of hours, Marc handed me the Tooth Fairy two dollars (Since the tooth was clean!) and said, “Show me what you do.”
The Tooth Fairy removed her house shoes and shut down the lights in the upstairs hallway. Next, she asked for some scotch tape.
“Why do you need scotch tape?” Marc asked.
“I tape the money to the door and then I remove the tooth in the baggie,” she replied.
“I don’t have any scotch tape up here,” Marc replied.
The Tooth Fairy muttered something under her breath and then trudged downstairs to locate a roll of scotch tape. When she returned, she tiptoed down the hallway and made the exchange. She had to urge Marc to move back since she had to scurry out of sight in case Isabelle awoke.
When the Tooth Fairy returned to Marc’s office she reached the top of the bookshelf and retrieved Isabelle’s baby book.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m putting this tooth with the rest of them in the baby book,” she replied.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because you told me you wanted to save them when Isabelle lost her first tooth.”
“Maybe the first one, but not all of them,” he retorted.
“Well, you didn’t specify, so I’ve been saving all of them in here.”
Marc examined the bag and shook his head.
“This was your idea. Would you like me to throw them out?” the Tooth Fairy asked.
He hesitated.
“See! I knew you wanted to keep them.” the Tooth Fairy retorted.
“We don’t need to save all of them,” he replied.
The Tooth Fairy faded away and I reappeared. “Well, it’s all or nothing at this point. So if I’m out of town for work, you’d better save any teeth that fall out. Or pitch them all. Whatever you want. I don’t think Isabelle will care either way when she grows up.”
Indecision set in for my husband so I wrote a quick note to my daughter (who will probably find the teeth when she’s a teenager) and slipped it into the baggie full of teeth:
I have a feeling this bag of teeth isn’t going to be around for much longer. But if it is, I’ve done what every not-so-mature adult does: shifted the blame.
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33 thoughts on “To Keep the Baby Teeth or to Throw Them Away… That is the Question!

  1. GROSS!! LOL My sis-in-law did the same though. Her 14 year old found out about Santa, and her loving sister said, “Well if you think that’s bad, wait until you find out what Mom’s been doing with your teeth!” She was devastated!

  2. I love this slice. Laughed all the way through it. We never saved teeth, but I will admit to saving my youngest son’s tail (small piece of hair that grew longer than the rest. It was a style for awhile). It’s gone now though 🙂

    1. Glad I could provide some comic relief today!

      I saved the locks of hair from each kid’s first haircut in an envelope. (I took Isabelle to a baby salon in NYC for her first haircut and they attached it to a special certificate for us. Therefore, I figured I should at least throw some of Ari’s first curls into an envelope so he can’t say we didn’t give him the same treatment.) But that’s it. No other hair has been saved!

  3. I enjoyed reading this. Brought back so many fun memories. At first, I kept my daughter’s baby teeth simply because my mother had kept mine. Didn’t take me long to decide to throw them out. We also had to start a rule that the tooth had to be out before bedtime for the tooth fairy to come. Too many teeth were lost after bedtime in our house.

      1. I keep a stash of singles for this very reason – along with the Tooth Fairy that sits on a shelf OUTSIDE her room and has a pocket for the tooth. The pocket is big enough for a US quarter as it was mine when I was a kid. I put the singles underneath her.

        I laughed out loud when you got to your note. Love it!

  4. This is great. Have you read Ralph Fletcher’s memory of his grandmother “planting” the teeth in the garden? It’s weird what we think is weird and what’s not. My daughter couldn’t throw out toothbrushes. She kept them all. I confessed this to a friend at work. Instead of being grossed out, he made her a personalized toothbrush holder.

    1. Honest admission: As a kid, I saved my teeth in one of those plastic treasure chests they give you at the school nurse’s office. I found them buried at the bottom of my jewelry box at the end of high school and pitched them.

  5. I love this post – I have the same dilemma – only I haven’t been very careful about WHERE to save the teeth. So somewhere in our house are Lily’s baby teeth, all saved in places where I “wouldn’t lose them.” It’s pretty creepy!

    1. That’s what I used to do with my classroom keys. I’d put them down in a place where I wouldn’t forget them. My kids had to land up finding them for me. (Alas, keys and teeth don’t have the same creepiness factor!)

  6. We just recently ran into the same dilemma when our oldest lost her first two teeth On the same day. I consulted my sister who has four kids. She said she just has random bags of teeth stuffed in her jewelry box… that’s where I stuffed ours for now. But I keep wondering what they’ll want with their old teeth later on in life… I loved the voice in this piece!

    1. Thanks. I wonder if my husband will like the voice as much as you once I share it with him. (NOTE: I think he’s read this blog twice so I am not too worried. However, my mother-in-law reads it regularly so she might tell him. If that’s the case, HI LINDA!)

  7. I am so laughing at this post. My children are 25 and 21 and I just threw them away within the last year. I do not know why! They were always kept in the back of my jewelry box in a little sack. The thing is, both kids’ teeth were in there, so I don’t even know who they belong to!

    1. It’s incredible to me how many folks are storing teeth in jewelry boxes. (See my admission under Aileen’s comment below.) I love that you pitched them last year. Good for you, Leigh Anne!

  8. Hahahaha. I think my favorite part was actually how you had to go look for the tape, grumbling! 🙂 When I was little, I wanted to keep my teeth, so I’d make little crafts for the tooth fairy (since I wasn’t letting her keep the teeth!) and write her notes asking if I could keep my teeth. I think my parents still have all the notes and all the teeth! (Now I think that’s gross!)

  9. This is too funny – I have my girls and just recently thought about throwing them away – my middle daughter didn’t like having her teeth taken and found some of them at some point and have them in her room in a little box. It might be time to let them go, they are teenagers. Thanks for the nudge.

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