I noticed Ry was not himself the other day, so I suggested we have a father-son chat. Some part of me thought this was going to be my chance to impart fatherly wisdom to him. He confirmed that something was bothering him. I assumed it was going to be a problem with one of the kids at school, or maybe he was stressed out by some work he had to finish. I was wrong on both accounts.
He was sad that his teeth had not fallen out yet. And as a result of this, his name is not on the tooth board and he hasn’t received a “dental necklace.” It’s not really a necklace, but a plastic tooth, in which you place the tooth that had fallen out. He was genuinely concerned that he might finish the year without losing a tooth. He was one of two kids left who hadn’t lost a tooth. I told him that since his teeth didn’t really even come in till he was one, it probably would come in later. I suggested we could talk to his teacher about it. “Maybe she’d let you return for a dental necklace, even if you lose a tooth in first or second grade. He liked the idea, but coming from a long line of skeptics, he was not sure this would work.
The next day at school, I ran into his teacher. I explained the situation. She appeared confused at first and then smiled. She pointed out that first and second graders that used to be in her class have been coming in all year long to collect their dental necklaces. She also mentioned that some kids teeth come out early, just like some kids, like him, read early. He liked that answer, and then he bumped into his friend who asked, “Where’s your Mohawk, Ry?” And like that, he moved on and I am sitting here writing about it.