Sunday, August 23, 2009
The tooth fairy doesn't cast a long shadow at most houses. Her saga was a little different at our place.
My daughter lost her first tooth at church, walking up some stairs. There was a major panic when she thought it was gone forever, but we did find it and, later that night, the tooth fairy took it from under her pillow and left a dollar. (She left a quarter when I was a kid, but times have changed.)
When my daughter lost her second tooth, we were at a hotel in Orlando, Florida, on our first visit to Disney World. My daughter nearly went into hysterics because her tooth fairy was back home in Illinois. I thought fast and invented a cousin for her tooth fairy -- clearly, I didn't think fast enough or I would have given her tooth fairy a Lear jet or super-powers. But, no, I had to get clever.
Jessica always loved a good story, so she demanded to know all about this mysterious cousin. And that led to questions about her own personal tooth fairy. Thus Tatiana was born, along with her Florida-based cousin, Desiree. Later, Jonathan got his own tooth fairy, too -- I'd forgotten her name was Clea until I recently found my notes. What I should have done was create a freaking spreadsheet.
The thing about teeth is that months -- even years -- can go by before another one falls out. And when two kids are involved, the whole tooth fairy saga can go on for years. When Jessica lost her third tooth, I'd all but forgotten about Tatiana and Desiree. Thank the lord, I'd kept the long letter Jessica wrote to them while we were in Florida, and she'd mentioned them both by name, as well as some details of their history. I kept that letter in her baby book for future reference, until it was dog-eared.
But that's only part of the story. The thing is, the tooth fairy looked an awful lot like Mom, and occasionally Dad. But usually it was night owl Mom who did the honors, since both kids slept with half an eye open, hoping to catch the tooth fairy in the act. This meant that I lived in dread of being caught -- dollar and/or tooth in hand -- by a tearful, disillusioned child. After one memorable night when I couldn't find the damn tooth and had to explain why the tooth fairy left a buck AND the tooth, I insisted they put the tooth in a Baggie before placing it under the pillow.
One night, I was more tired than usual and completely forgot. The tooth fairy was so remorseful, she left two dollar bills the following night. And then there was the night the Dad tooth fairy pulled what he thought was a dollar bill from his wallet, in the darkened bedroom, only to be awakened in the morning by a thrilled child shrieking that the tooth fairy had left twenty bucks under the pillow!
After that, our crafty son starting looking at every tooth as a potential windfall. He tried bargaining with the tooth fairy, suggesting she might leave bags of Skittles in place of money. And then there was the time Jonathan made an extremely realistic tooth out of bits of Dixie cup smooshed up with toothpaste. Luckily, the Dad tooth fairy overheard the commotion in the hall bathroom and left Monopoly money under the pillow in place of the fake tooth.
Every time a tooth came out, it seemed the ante went up -- Jessica wrote long, heartfelt letters and required letters back in response, while Jonathan wrote letters asking what the tooth fairy did with all those teeth, probably with the view of selling his teeth elsewhere and cutting out the middle man. Did I mention he's got an Economics degree now?
And Jessica works at Disney World. If she loses any more teeth, I'm passing the job on to Tinkerbelle.
(My daughter just read this and, in the way of the modern world, posted this to me on Facebook: "TIANA!!!! OMG, Mom, how could you forget her name??? This must be amended pronto! And pssst, it's Tinker Bell."
All I can say is my notes say Tatiana, but I will admit that my memory leaves a lot to be desired. And there were probably other notes. But, seriously? Tinkerbelle is Tinker Bell? That is so unfeminine! What was Disney thinking?)