This post goes out to all of my fellow pack-rats out there. You know who you are. The next time you're attempting to clean out a drawer, and you turn to your spouse/significant other and say, "But we can't get rid of this! What if we need it again for something really important?" and your spouse/significant other points out that you're holding an envelope containing a human tooth, you can tell your spouse/significant other this story:
WCK lost her third baby tooth today. The tooth had been wiggling for quite some time, so she was ecstatic when it finally came out. We had a little celebration, and then I got back to unloading a mountain of groceries. A few minutes later, I noticed WCK walking to the downstairs bathroom with a toothbrush in one hand and the tooth in the other. When I questioned this, she said she was just going to brush her tooth so it would be clean for the Tooth Fairy.
Am I to blame for what happened next? Should I have intervened, forbidden her from brushing said tooth, or, at the very least, walked to the bathroom to make sure she closed the drain first? Instead, I just said, "Well, make sure the tooth doesn't go down the drain."
"Oh, it won't!" said WCK. Of course, mother. Don't you trust me not to drop a tiny, wet, slippery object down the drain?
Exactly two seconds later, cries of anguish rose up from the bathroom.
"MOMMY!!! I DROPPED MY TOOTH DOWN THE DRAIN BY ACCIDENT!!!"
Of course. Of course.
Now, I could have used this as an opportunity to teach an Important Lesson about listening to your mother, not washing tiny objects over an open drain, etc., etc. Let me tell you, though: You've never seen true human misery until you've seen a five-year-old who has just lost a tooth and then lost that tooth. We sat on the bathroom floor and rocked while she cried for the lost tooth and I repeatedly reassured her that the Tooth Fairy didn't care, that this sort of thing happened to kids all the time, and that the Tooth Fairy still left them money. WCK didn't buy it. The worst part was when she wailed, "AND I WAS SO HAPPY!"
After about 20 minutes of sobbing, I had a brilliant idea. I managed to calm her down, and suggested that she sit in the dining room and draw a picture to leave for the Tooth Fairy. Then I slipped upstairs.
Oh, yeah. I still had her first two baby teeth in the top drawer of our dresser. The pack-rat triumphs!
I slipped back downstairs to the bathroom, and pulled the old tooth out of my pocket. "WCK! Come quick! I found your tooth!"
WCK came running. "That's my tooth?" she said.
Oh, please, I thought. Please don't let this be like the episode of Diff'rent Strokes where Arnold's goldfish dies and Mr. Drummond replaces it with a new one, and Arnold can totally tell.
"Yeah," I said. "I was able to dig it out of the drain."
"How did you get it out?"
"Oh," I said, realizing that I hadn't really thought through how I'd explain this. "I was just able to."
(Long pause while WCK evaluated my in-depth explanation.)
"OH, I'M SO HAPPY!!!!"
"The next time I lose a tooth," she said soberly, "I will be really careful when I brush it over the drain."
She'd better. There's only one spare tooth left.