Thursday, 24 March 2016

A toothy subject too...

As a sequel to K'la's post about the biting incident I was making some light conversation with the resident 2-year-old over dinner, and I mentioned that one day... in the future... but not too soon... his teeth would fall out."Jimmy, do you know that one day all these teeth that you have now are going to fall out" 

Now, I tend to think I have my biases as daddy, and that those biases are usually to assume Jimjim to be the brightest, spunkiest, and savviest possible dude that could possibly be - to the point where I wonder if I tend to overestimate his comprehension. But on this occasion I think I underestimated, and so the news of his dental impermanence may have been delivered a little too bluntly.


As soon as I saw his reaction I knew I had a battle. I couldn't well back-pedal, so I had to qualify. In a moment between forkfulls of shell pasta the words left my lips, were processed in gory detail and extrapolated in the full-spectrum imagination of the soon-to-be-gummy-jim.

It was not that he was upset, but he was swept over with a small kind of terror that I've not seen in him before, as his eyes widened and his face paled at the prospect of being left without the tiny white pegs he was so attached to. He asked Mummy to tell him it wasn't true. She said it was. He said he didn't want it to happen. We said it would happen regardless.  

We assured him it would be years before it happened.

We assured him new, big teeth would grow to replace them. 

We assured him that M and D had been through this process too and that he could still eat his dinner without it happening tonight.

Losing and replacing teeth is something all human adults have been through, and it was so easy to take the normalcy of this process for granted. But in the mind of a 2 year old whose entire experience of their body is additive development this must have been a horrifying thought. 

Giving him these little insights into his future - watching as he conceptualises these words - is one of the most rewarding things about parenting. It's this lesson in delivering a message to a profoundly uninformed little person in such a way as to prevent horrifying misconceptions. Even if the thoughts are scary, it's pretty cool to see how he responds and know he's a bit more prepared for the messy business of growing up. 

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