“Loosing baby teeth were a part and parcel of one’s life – a symbol of growing up, and it is the tooth-fairy that makes this otherwise dreaded and painful process an exciting one – something to look forward to.”
Some childhood memories are so deeply embedded in our minds that they are crystal clear and the mere thought of them transports us back to that golden-period.
One such memory related to my childhood is about the falling of my milk-teeth. I am a child of eighties(80’s), when loosing your milk teeth or falling of milk tooth was no great deal, it was considered merely to be a simple natural occurrence, at least this is what my parents thought. All their concern was limited to new permanent teeth were in symmetry and not hap-hazard . When the gums-grip loosened, the teeth started moving and the trouble part began, at this point of time my dad use to make a knot of simple thread, put it around my tooth and then gently tightened the grip and with a slight pull the tooth came out. Further I was made to hold the tooth in my hands and made to say
” haare-haare khabala purana danth tere and naya daanth mera”( Oh! green grass this old teeth is for you and new one for me),then my father use to gently press the old tooth in between the green grass. This simple ritual gave me immense joy and happiness . It was 1980’s, but today nursing a 6 year old is drastically different from my times as a child, as we have to act as per their instructions, they are ever ready with answers, solutions and their never-ending demands and it a herculean task to convince them unlike me as a kid , as me and my younger brother quietly complied to my father’s orders. Yes times have changed, some for better and some for worst.
Recently when my six year daughter lost her first milk tooth it was not as normal falling of milk tooth and instead of putting it in the green grass she insisted on hiding it under the pillow so that a dainty female attired in a ballerina type costume and flying with her wings the ‘ Tooth-Fairy’comes and takes it and in return leaves a gift under the pillow for her. This was something new for me and when I consulted other mothers with kids of same age group, I got to know that after the Santa Claus tooth fairy was the most popular fantasy character with the children of this age group. I as a kid had my own make- belief world and stories when i lost my milk teeth, so now how could I discourage my daughter from her tooth fairy and her gift though I found it utterly ridiculous , as losing her each milk tooth everytime would leave me much poorer.
It may be a myth but children have their own make belief world, every time complying to their demands is not acceptable but to shatter their little dream world is not justified. May be this tooth-fairy story is from the West but if without harming anybody it gave children happiness and joy there was no harm, even we as kids enthralled ourselves with Nani-Dadi ki stories. So with slight variations I convinced my daughter to accept the gift of tooth-Fairy’s choice and her secret tooth-fairy was me and i decided to give her 10 rupees coin along with banana cake baked by me and so i was able to give a desi touch I mean Indian touch to the fantasy of tooth fairy.
Tooth Fairy evolved from the early European traditions where a child was given gift or money under the pillow. These rituals date back to the Middle-Ages, but in India the Tooth-Fairy is a fairly modern and a new concept.
But the concept of the Tooth-Fairy and many other fantasies like this has always helped my child in a positive way, instead of feeling the pain and anxiety of losing her tooth,the wait for the Tooth-Fairy has brought a smile on her face. For that matter when we grow old I may also need my Tooth-Far ires for getting my dentures fixed.
Apart from playing the fantasy world Faries to our kids let us play them in real lives too,
we should like the umbilical cord blood banking, keep the milk teeth of our children for harvesting stem cells in the dental stem cell bank for future use, that would we like tooth fairy story coming to life literally.