Dear Tooth Fairy, please accept this rotten tooth…

About two weeks ago Rae took a hard fall. Don’t ask me how or where or what happened–I swear she falls every five minutes (or bumps her knee or hits her foot or pinches her finger or knocks her head) and I can’t keep all these “injuries” straight. I’ve even had a hard time kissing boo-boos lately. How am I ever supposed to get anything done when I have to rush to her side every two seconds to kiss and “ooo and ahh” over every bump and bruise!?

Anyway…after this particular fall I remember her complaining that her teeth hurt. She kept touching them and she wouldn’t eat certain things, like apples or cereal–anything hard or crunchy. I figured she’d just get over it. And she did.

Until today, when we noticed that her front tooth has turned gray.

Oh my gosh, my daughter looks like a hick.

My husband and I were talking about what we were going to do about the ominous tooth and Rae somehow caught on. Naturally, she assumed she had a loose tooth, which meant a visit from the tooth fairy. She was quite excited. She jumped up and down, chanting, “I have a loose tooth! I have a loose tooth!” then ran upstairs to look in the mirror and promptly returned to the living room to ask Daddy to “Please pull it out.”

But here’s the thing: I am seriously bothered by this graying, decaying tooth. And she could care less! As long as she has a pretty dress on and her nails are painted, she thinks she’s the hottest thing in the world. Literally, today as we were walking into a store she said, “Everyone’s going to think I’m so attractive because I have my lipstick (chapstick) on and I’m so pretty.” (Yes, my three year old thinks she’s “attractive.”)

So I am the vain one! It’s ME who’s worried what she’ll look like! It’s ME who’s questioning the truth of “it’s only the inside that counts”! Of course, I can blame my “issues” on society and our whole messed up view of beauty, but deep-down inside, I know that I’d be concerned if my kid looked like a freak. I know it doesn’t matter in the long run. I know that I’d much rather have a daughter who is kind and joyful and demonstrates empathy and compassion than one who’s self-centered and focused on the latest beauty trends and name brands.

But the outside still matters, at least somewhat. We wear certain clothes to demonstrate who we are (uniforms, sweats, gowns, suits–they’re all symbols of events or status.) We feel good about ourselves when we have our hair freshly cut and our toes painted and pedicured–and this can affect how we interact with others. We all have insecurities that probably date back to when we were a little kid and someone cruelly teased us about things we couldn’t change (Pudgy Pam, maybe? or Bug-Eyed Benny?) So of course i do not want my daughter to enter Kindergarten known as “Rotten-tooth Rae.” Which is why we will be getting her tooth fixed (hopefully!)

But in the meantime, maybe looking at my daughter’s messed-up mouth will serve as a reminder to me of the parts of people that really do matter. And with a little luck, that tooth fairy won’t be visiting our home for a few more years…