It was so exciting to lose a tooth, wasn't it? If it happened at school, you got attention, congratulatory praise and sometimes a trip to the nurse. If it happened at home, your parents made a sweet fuss and there was the promise of a little money under the pillow.
Your mouth felt different—sometimes your whistling talent took off, other times it stalled. Sometimes you could do funny things with spaghetti noodles until the new tooth grew in.
How many of you did something crazy to lose a tooth?
I know once, as a kid, I tied a string to one of my baby teeth, tied the other end to a doorknob, and slammed the door. Nothing happened.
The string wouldn't stay on my slippery tooth. So I gave up and yanked it out the normal way a few days later. I didn't have a video camera in my face or a dad tempting me to do something nuts for the camera.
Of course, my dad wasn't on MTV's Jackass.
Dave England, a daredevil who meets Johnny Knoxville's craziness head-on, stunt after stunt in three Jackass movies and counting, has two little kids who share his attitude. Their YouTube channel shows the older sister, Ruby, tying the string to young Roan's loose tooth, then riding the other end of the string away on a pint-sized motorcycle.
Is this childishness inventiveness? I sense a parent's hand here, especially since one was holding the video camera. Were the kids egged on, or just encouraged when they came up with the stunt themselves?
I'd have thought it was funny, especially with the Jackass connection (of course the next generation of Jackasses are going to be fearless before they're even done losing their baby teeth ... right?) until a close-up of Roan's face, after the tooth was gone, showed him briefly fighting back tears.
Okay, now, sometimes kids cry when they lose a tooth. It doesn't mean they didn't want to lose the tooth. Roan might be crying because it hurt a little, or from the let-down after an adrenaline rush of all the anticipation, or because he's all of, well, 6 years old at best.
But maybe he was crying because he was scared, and an audacious, fearless and rash parent was too busy getting a cool video clip to really stop to consider his son's feelings.
I really don't know.
Dave England, I'm not calling you out here (I know the stars of Jackass read Moms Talk). Knowing that gene pool you're passing on, even with your one remaining testicle after a snowboarding accident, your kids are both probably going to be as talented, intrepid and foolhardy as you, and we all know that makes for good entertainment. I respect the crazy stuff you do. Your last Jackass movie was actually the only one I saw in the theaters that whole year.
I just don't want little kids to be the unwitting victims of parents' overzealous attempts to make cool, videoed memories of those baby teeth milestones. It's got to be the kid's choice, and not the choice of a parent with too many good memories of their own venturesome tooth-yanking.