Our Tooth Fairy Bites

27 Jun

The Tooth Fairy forgets to come to our house.

A lot.  

At the moment, between my older two sons, we seem due for a visit from the Tooth Fairy about once a month.  That being the case, you’d think that she, I mean I would have developed some sort of system by now:  something subtle like a string tied around my finger, perhaps; or maybe “T.F. 2 NITE!!!!!!” cryptically scrawled across my bathroom mirror in blazing red lipstick?

I’m ashamed to say that there have been several mornings that one or the other of my toothless sons wakes up to find nary but the lonely little bloody stub of a former incisor under his pillow.

Right where he’d left it the night before.  

On those mornings I beg off with some sort of vaguely magical yet boringly logistical excuse about my not having e-mailed her to let her know a tooth was indeed waiting for retrieval.  I’d much rather take the heat than blame an innocent mythical being.  You see, my sons are quite used to Mommy forgetting things, but I’d just hate for them to lose faith in the Tooth Fairy.  

Once my son reported the double travesty that not only had the Tooth Fairy not come, but that he somehow had also lost his tooth in the middle of the night.  I went with him to his room, sure that we would find it in the rumpled bedding.  As luck would have it, I happened to spot the tooth on the floor under his bed.  “Well, she just couldn’t find it, that’s all!”  I said, relieved for a second shot.  I rarely forget two nights in a row.  But there was that one time.  

I can still see my son entering the kitchen, head hung low, dejectedly reporting that the Tooth Fairy had forgotten for the second night in a row.  Thinking uncharacteristically fast on my feet, I said:  “Well, maybe you didn’t see it, that’s all.  I quickly snagged a bill from a little pile of dough on the kitchen windowsill (how it happened to be there just when I needed it, I’ll never know…perhaps the Tooth Fairy left it for me!)  and followed him to his room.  

“See?!” he said, half-heartedly gesturing toward the empty bed.  “There’s nothing here.  She forgot again.”  

I went through the motions of exaggeratedly looking around his bed for the dollar bill I knew wasn’t there.  “Hmmm… gosh… maybe it’s here somewhere…”  

Then, when I knew he wasn’t looking, I chucked the buck on the floor near the head of his bed.  

“Look!” I exclaimed.  “Here it is!  The Tooth Fairy didn’t forget you after all!  She’s not nearly as lame as you must have thought she was!  Long Live the Tooth Fairy!!!”  In my head the cheering crowds roared as this clinch player circled the bases on her victory lap.   

But my frequent forgetfulness isn’t the worst secret this Tooth Fairy keeps.  The worst secret involves a crumpled one dollar bill that I keep in the top drawer of my jewelry box.  What my sons don’t know is that every time one of them loses a tooth, I secretly go get that same dollar bill and hide it under their pillow.  In the morning they find me wherever I am:  my bedroom, the kitchen, sitting on the toilet, wherever; and strut into the room, triumphantly holding the same pitiful wrinkled dollar over their heads.   I spend the requisite minute, joining in on the whooping and hollering; and offering them my heartiest congratulations on their new found wealth.  Then they fork over the crumpled dollar bill to my custody for “safekeeping”  (and recycling– shhhhhh).  

That’s the one great thing about my sons’ youthful memory lapses.  Usually their selective sieve-like memories work against me, like when I tell them to wash their hands before dinner, or to stop smacking a brother…  Their faulty memory skills usually cause them promptly not to do or to do exactly whatever it is that I have just asked them to do or not to do.  Their only defense, a lame:  “I forgot.”  (I wonder where they get that?)

But in certain rare instances their holey memories work to my advantage. Such as when they forget by November 3rd that they still have huge stores of Halloween candy left (that is, if you consider a paunchy, irritable middle-aged woman with zero self-restraint having sole custody of enormous mounds of chocolate, a scenario that works to anyone’s advantage). Or in this case, when they forget to ever ask me if they can access all their “saved up” Tooth Fairly Money.  

As more and more of my two older sons’ precious little baby teeth are replaced by oversized, overlapping, awkward-looking, and decidedly crooked “mature teeth” I not only mourn that my poor performance as the Tooth Fairy is nearing its end, but I also mourn a future of palate expanders, bracket tightening, dental wax and orthodontic bills that are surely headed our way.

But wait a minute.  Maybe that’s where all that money I saved by shirking my dental responsibilities as our home’s Faulty Fairy could come into play.  Perhaps there was wisdom in those teeth after all…


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