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It's Tough Work, Being the Tooth Fairy
August 27, 2008 - Summer Wallace-Minger
My daughter lost a baby tooth Saturday. She walked into the room and put this tooth in my hand. It was dripping blood. I was less than enthusiastic.
"Mommy, I lost my tooth," she exclaimed.
"Um. I see." I was eying this tooth and wondering what I was going to do with it. I'd thought weád gone through the baby tooth-losing phase.
Of course, she had to stick it in a plastic bag and shove it under her pillow.
I hustled downstairs to confront my husband. "Have you got any change?"
Now, when I was little, you were lucky to get a quarter from the tooth fairy for a lost tooth. Now, apparently, the going rate is a dollar. It's only been 20 years - has the price of a tooth inflated by 300 percent in that time?
So we had a dollar. All we had to do was out wait her. Unfortunately, this child never sleeps; ever. I went in at 10 p.m. Still awake.
11 p.m. - still awake.
"Aren't you going to go to sleep?"
"I'm too excited about the tooth fairy coming to sleep!"
Problematic. How could I get it under her pillow when sheás awake? "If you don't go to sleep, sheáll never come."
"OK, Mommy." Eyes were obediently closed.
I waited another hour, then crept into the room again. She was asleep. I slunk over to the bed and peered over the side. Still asleep; good. I slid a hand under the pillow and snagged the bag, pulling it slowly and carefully out from under the pillow.
Her eyes opened. Crap. I hid the bag behind my back. Her eyes closed. Good. I started edging backward.
Her eyes opened again. "Mommy?"
"Um ... I came in to check your air conditioner. A good thing, too. It was set on one. Uh ... I fixed it. Goodnight, sweetheart." I ran downstairs and showed my husband the tooth. Now, we had only one problem - we needed to get the money under the pillow. I was starting to feel like Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible," only without all the cool gear.
Of course, my husband had to critique my tooth retrieval process. Apparently, he takes the change up with him and makes a simultaneous switch. Next time, he's in charge of tooth retrieval.
We were having a hushed discussion about how we were going to get the money under the pillow when the cry came from upstairs: "Mommy! My tooth is gone, and there's no money!"
"Get up there and help me distract her while I hide the money in her bed!" I demanded of my husband.
Somewhat miffed, he followed me up the stairs.
"Daddy will help you look in the bathroom," I suggested. Why on earth the tooth fairy would drop the tooth money in there, I have no idea, but it got her out of the room. I tossed the money under the bed. "It's right here!"
She scampered back in - not looking at all tired, although I was ready to drop myself - and peeked under the bed. "I looked there, and it wasn't there!"
"Well, you didn't look hard enough," I said firmly.
"I did look there!"
"How much money did you get?" I asked in an attempt to distract her.
Distracted by her dollar, she was momentarily pacified ... until she started looking for fairy dust. Now, when the tooth fairy visits our house, there is usually a trail of glitter from a cracked window to the bed. Tonight, there were no cracked windows and no glitter. Does my daughter go back to bed so I can stage a fake break-in? No, she has to be that observant at 12:30 a.m. to notice it is not there.
"She was probably running low on glitter," I said.
"It falls off of her," she points out, peering at the window ledge, as if that would make the glitter appear.
"If you were her last stop of the night, then maybe there wasn't very much to fall off of her. Although, I thought I saw something when I came in your room," I said, thinking fast on my feet. Well, pretty fast, anyway. It wasn't as if my brain was functioning all that well as we approached 1 a.m.
"What did you see?" Being that excited that early in the morning/late at night should be a crime.
"Well, it was a light. I thought maybe it was headlights, but it could have been the tooth fairy." I am a bad liar.
"Did she have toothpaste-green hair?" Toothpaste green? Where did that come from?
Next time, my husband goes after the tooth.
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