Unfit Father

Published on September 1st, 2017 | by Richard Black


The Baby Tooth Conundrum

Let me start with a story…

I was rummaging around the top drawer in my dresser a few days ago, the one where I keep my sweaters, when somewhere around the back I found something that was a bit…unexpected. Now it’s reasonable to ask why I’d be rooting around my sweater drawer at the end of August and I have a decent answer.

The fact is that I’m not that bright.

It would be kinder to say that I’m a creature of habit and that might be true but, after a decade of marriage and seven years of parenthood, I’ve become remarkably stupid.

For the past few years I wake up in the morning, stumble around into the bathroom or the hall closet to relieve myself and then attempt to get dressed. I’m not sure why but for some reason I always open the top drawer of my dresser to look for socks or a t-shirt despite the fact that those items haven’t lived there for a good ten years.

That said, and on this particular morning, I opened up the aforementioned top drawer and heard a distinct although muffled rattling sound.

It’s entirely possible that I’d heard the rattling sound the past few thousand times I’d opened up the drawer but this time…this time it made an impression and I decided to investigate its source. It wasn’t the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life but looking back it certainly wasn’t the best.

After sorting through crew neck sweaters that hadn’t seen the light of day since the late 1990’s I pulled out a tiny little plastic container, gave it a good shake and confirmed the source of the sound. Intrigued I opened the lid to find, what looked to be, five or six baby teeth and that’s when I promptly lost me shit.

In hindsight it turns out that, instead of throwing our daughter’s used teeth away like a normal person Laura had been hiding them away for some purpose yet to be determined. In her defense I’m fairly certain that my wife may have mentioned that she’d be storing our daughter’s teeth in my sweater drawer but, in my defense, Laura says a lot of things that I just nod and apparently agree to without really listening.

I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit put off by the discovery and by “put off” I mean shriek like a…well like a grown man who’s just found six of his daughter’s baby teeth in his FUCKING  SWEATER DRAWER!!! The words “what in the ever loving fuck” may have been uttered as well as a few others. There also may have been a shart…or two.

Speaking of off putting here’s a fish with human teeth.

There’s something distinctly off-putting about finding…remains…(I’m really not sure what to call them) in the back of one’s sweater drawer. On the scale of upsetting things to chance upon in a plastic container baby teeth lies somewhere between toenail clippings and a few left feet.

Once I’d calmed myself down and cleaned myself off I gave some thought to the problem which, in all fairness, deserves some consideration.

“What does one do with baby teeth once they’ve been removed from the baby?”

It doesn’t seem right to just throw them away. In the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages or some Age many years ago (I’m not a historian but I’ve slept with a few in college) people thought that human remains like hair and teeth could be used by witches for nefarious purposes to curse the living.

In those days the solution was to bury or burn the lost teeth, hangnail or gangrenous finger that inevitably came about.

The tradition is, apparently, still carried on although in a more confused sort of way and one that prompted me to look into the issue. It turns out that most people don’t know what in the hell to do with baby teeth and those that do are the ones we should be worried about. As such I’ve created a comprehensive list of the five types of people and how they deal with this particular issue. I’m not a sociologist but I’d be surprised if my findings aren’t used in some sort of research that turns out to be the underpinnings of a Nobel Prize and so…without further ado here we go:

Group One
The first group is composed of relatively normal people who simply throw their kids’ baby teeth away albeit with some to little guilt. These are my people and I’m happy to be a part of them.

Group Two
This second group is composed of people like my wife who aren’t sure what to do with used baby teeth. They aren’t comfortable tossing them in the garbage but they’re also not emotionally prepared to part with them either. Instead they store them away in some hidden spot the same way I keep leftover screws and allen wrenches in the hope that someday they’ll serve some purpose like being made into Cornuts or provide the means to give their spouse a stroke.

Group Three
The third tier is composed of grandmothers and mothers who have hoarded these creepy mementos only to spring them on their sons and daughters at the worst possible moment. My friend Julie Burton was presented with a bag of her baby teeth on her wedding day. I’m not sure why but I’m going to assume it’s because Julie’s mother didn’t want to her to consummate her.

Group Four
It would be kind to call the people in this group pranksters but they’re really just a few steps away from a serious emotional disorder. My friend over at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion keeps her children’s  teeth in a sock drawer before, occasionally, packing them in her husband’s lunch. At night she’s also been known to put them under his pillow because men are totally turned on by this sort of thing or Stephanie enjoys making her husband soil himself when he goes to bed.

Group Five
And here we have the outright wackos. Thanks to Elly Lonon, who directed me to a Pinterest page, I learned something that cannot be unlearned or unseen and in a few seconds now neither will you.

Apparently there are people out there in this great big wide and confusing world who enjoy sewing children’s teeth into their kids’ stuffed animals. Kids, it turns out, don’t have enough fodder for nightmares these days or parent’s either.

Upon a bit more research I learned that my assumptions about this group were incorrect. These…creations called Fugglers, and featured on Mrs. McGettrick’s Fuggler Emporium, do not contain actual baby teeth. She has however been solicited to create stuffed animals using baby teeth so I feel comfortable (or incredibly uncomfortable) noting that there are people out there who belong to this group and who, might or might not be, more comfortable living in a padded cell.

…and there you have it.The five levels of freakdom when it comes to baby teeth and what to do with them.

For the record I’m still not exactly sure what we’re going to do with my daughter’s baby teeth. Until we figure it out my wife will probably keep them in that little plastic container in the back of my sweater drawer as it lays in wait for the next time I need to have a heart attack or feel a bit constipated.

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