I used to be an awesome tooth fairy. I was always on time, left little notes, sometimes left some fairy dust, made it really fun for the kids. Then, the inevitable happened. My two oldest found out there wasn’t a tooth fairy. That it was really just me. That took the magic out of it for me. I still played along because they still hid their teeth under their pillows in the designated tooth jar (a decorated stone jar that I told them was to hold their tooth offering to the tooth fairy) and still waited for the money to show up.
Though I appreciated that they were trying to keep up appearances for their two little sisters, I sometimes wanted to just slip them their hush money in their newly laundered pockets rather than having to wait until they were asleep to pay the bribe. And my nine-year-old routinely stays up later than I do.
My nine-year-old’s night owl habits may have been one reason why I was so delinquent in my tooth fairy duties. Who wants to stay up an hour past when they’d like to be asleep only to slip in money they are begrudgingly giving up in return for something that only hours ago was covered in blood and saliva? I didn’t. Then, after a few nights when I finally remembered that I had a tooth job waiting, I went to look for the tooth and couldn’t find it. It wasn’t in the sacrificial jar. It wasn’t hanging out under the pillow.
I questioned nine-year-old about it and she said, “Oh, I put that tooth surrounded by all my guard statues.” (These are the Oscars she has “won” every year for her participation in a children’s musical theater group.) “It was a really good tooth and I didn’t want anyone but the tooth fairy to take it.”
What? Did she forget that the tooth fairy wasn’t real? I had to wonder since she was making such a big deal out of it. I thought I would be a good little tooth fairy that night. But by the time nine-year-old was asleep, I had forgotten. Again. This went on for at least a week. One night my daughter even came in and said, “I don’t mean to bug you, but the tooth fairy forgot about my tooth. Again. Could you remind her please, Mom?” She’d given me one other reminder besides. Oops.
“The tooth fairy can’t come until you put your tooth in the correct jar. And under your pillow,” I told her with a wink. I don’t know why the placement of that tooth made me forget. Perhaps those Oscar statues were performing some sort of theatrical voodoo on me. They really wanted that tooth for themselves. Hmmm, I can’t be sure.
Once the tooth was away from the pernicious influence of the gold painted plastic pieces of pure evil, my mommy instincts took over and I waited up for nine-year-old to fall asleep. I slipped into her room with two dollars instead of the usual one since I was feeling so guilty. I got the tooth out, put in the money, and noticed my daughter had left the tooth fairy a note. Here it is:
My heart and eyes filled up at the same time. Even though my tooth fairy performance had been less than stellar, my daughter was thanking me for it. I went in, gave her a kiss on her sleeping face (which is hard to do since she’s on the top bunk), and vowed to be a reformed tooth fairy. After all, my kiddos obviously deserve the very best.