This week I took both Shortlings to the dentist for their bi-annual check-up.

Aside: do your kids love the dentist as much as mine do?  I was never afraid of the dentist when I was a kid per se, but it was no great honor to go either.  I'm a little surprised by the squee of joy every time I tell these kids they have a dental appointment scheduled.  Not that I want my kids to develop dentophobia, like fourteen percent of the American public, but they actually get excited when they have cavities because it means they get to go see the dentist more than twice a year and I'm a little worried about the precedent this sets.  They're either going to grow up with really weird fetishes or a mouthful of silver.  Maybe both.


Anyhoo... while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office, one of the girls picked up a book. This book

Spain: I tuck my tooth under my pillow. While I am asleep, the little mouse called Ratoncito Perez will take my tooth and leave me money or candy in return.

It's an adorably illustrated book about quaint traditions children follow in different countries around the world when they lose their baby teeth. 

Denmark: I put my tooth under my pillow at night and wait for the Tooth Fairy called Tand Feen to take my tooth and leave me some money.
England: When I go to sleep, I put my tooth under my pillow and wait for the Tooth Fairy to come.

I started reading about the convention of throwing your upper teeth on the roof so a new one will grow straight down and burying your lower teeth in the ground so a new one will grow straight up. 

France: I put my tooth under my pillow.  A mouse, La Petite Souris, will come to take it and leave a gift for me.

Or a legend about a magical mouse who will take your tooth and leave money in its place. 

Greece: I throw my tooth on the roof for good luck and make a wish so that my teeth will grow in strong and healthy.

And sweet poems that are repeated while feeding the tooth to an animal to help kids grow from childhood to... well... older childhood.

Sweden: I put my tooth in a glass of water.  In the morning my tooth will be gone and a coin will be in the glass.

I flipped through page after page of myth, legend and lore meant to alleviate children's fears about losing teeth and establish cherished customs those children would one day pass on to their own children.  

And then, there was this: 

Germany: I don't do anything special with my tooth.

There's a point to be made here, but I'm not sure I have the courage to do it.