When our neighbors, Lorenzo and Jenny came over for a visit, we had an interesting conversation.
Lorenzo had lost a tooth, giving him that cute six-year old jack-o-lantern smile. After hearing the story about his aunt’s technique of painlessly extracting his loose tooth, I asked the obvious question, “Did you put it under your pillow?”
Jenny and Lorenzo looked at each other with confused expressions on their faces. Why on earth would someone put a tooth under a pillow? After asking twice, I realized the confusion was not stemming from misunderstanding my words, (which STILL happens), but from not being familiar to the whole notion of the Tooth Fairy….
So, I asked, “When a tooth falls out, what do kids in Paraguay do with the tooth?”
The answer to them was as obvious as the Tooth Fairy regime was to me- “Obviously you throw the tooth onto the roof of your house! Why would you put a tooth under your pillow? How would Kyju’i find it there?”
That led to my explanation of the story of the Tooth Fairy, (a really bizarre notion when you think about it…). Jenny then shared the story of Kyju’i. It went something like this…
In Paraguay, when a child looses a tooth, she must throw it on top of the roof of her house, and recite,
“Kyju’i, Kyju’i, eme’e cheve che raira ipyahuva.” Translating from Guarani to English- “Kyju’i, Kyju’i, give me a new tooth.”
During the night, Kyju’i, a cricket, will visit and collect the tooth from the roof. If he is successful in finding the tooth, Kyju’i will keep it, and in return will ensure that another tooth grows in its place. And sure enough, those “new teeth” seem to grow in every time!
So there you go, no monetary trade off, just an exchange for a bigger, better model. Interesting these cultural traditions we have for children. Too bad the magic doesn’t continue for adults. Then again, I’d be happy to keep all of my teeth at this point!