Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tooth Fairy and Science

While we were on vacation Toby mentioned several times that one of his molars was loose. I was a bit skeptical - I thought that you would be older than 8 before losing a back tooth, but he was convinced. Then the night we got home he yelled out that the tooth had come out, and sure enough there was one healthy molar, with a new one already growing in the gap in his gum. He put the tooth in a little plastic bag and put that under his pillow for the tooth fairy.

We weren't sure if the tooth fairy visits kids in India, or even what the going rate is for a tooth here - it turns out that yes she does visit, and Rs100 (about 2 USD) is the rate. When Emma told Stella, our housekeeper, about this, Stella was kind of amazed at the tooth fairy thing - apparently Indian kids bury their teeth in the ground, although I'm not sure if they get anything for this.

At this point I should mention that Toby is a highly rational person - he's always been very literal and he's really into science and learning about the world and what makes sense. He's had some great questions about gravity lately, so I suggested this evening that he should read the chapter "How Stars Work" in the wonderful book "The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins, some of which Toby had already read and enjoyed. This chapter has some cool stuff about the cosmos, but the neat thing was the questions it brought out in Toby - like if you're on the other side of the Earth from the Sun, does the Sun's gravity pull you through the Earth? Or how were the planets formed, and have they always had the same orbits?

Anyway, we've been a bit surprised at how Mr. Rational was so into the idea of Santa visiting us in our Disney hotel, and the tooth fairy visiting this week. Emma in the end just asked him outright if he really believes in the tooth fairy. His answer, after a bit of a pause, "When I have a loose tooth I do."


  1. Oh, that's great. But how was his belief after the question?

  2. I think it's like in Ghostbusters when a guy is asked "Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?" He answers, "If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."

  3. It delights me that Toby is already asking more thought provoking questions about science than the vast majority of my college level students. It sounds like you are going to have quite a genius on your hands!! And given his response to the tooth fairy maybe also an economist too :)