My daughter, Charlie, lost her 5th tooth a few nights ago following a physical altercation with her little sister. Not one minute earlier, I had heard my husband shouting, “If you girls don’t stop rough housing with those suckers in your mouths, somebody’s gonna get hurt!”
In the midst of nursing my infant son, I hear a scream, running feet, then running littler feet, and finally my 4-year-old saying over and over again, “I’m so sorry I did that, Charlie!”
Charlie bounds into her brother’s room with tears streaming down her face and a look of horror. “Vivian punched my tooth out with my lollipop and now I’m bleeding everywhere!”
Despite the crying, my husband and I look at each other, muffling our chuckles.
Sometimes those “I told you so” moments are just so satisfying as a parent, aren’t they?
Having arrived home from a trip to Hawaii literally 15 minutes prior to this incident, the chaos in our home is particularly palpable in this moment. Neither my husband nor I want any extra duties right now.
Lucky for me, I designated my husband as tooth fairy 4 teeth ago. My nerves are just too delicate for the hand under the pillow of a sleeping child routine. So, once our daughter has calmed herself, I give him a look that serves to remind him of his obligation. He’s already realized and accordingly flips me off as he leaves the room to fully assess the damage.
Once the children are asleep, we discuss how long he has to wait.
I decide to go to bed because, well, I don’t have to be the tooth fairy. 30 minutes later the hubby is doing the fast walk into our bedroom mumbling obscenities.
I laugh because I know the tooth fairy experience has been yet another cluster.
It always is.
Last time she put her tooth in a tiny wooden container her grandparents had gifted her from Europe, and the extraction process reportedly did not go smoothly.
That time, despite my husband’s effort to gingerly make the swap, Charlie’s head thumped down on the pillow, startling her awake. He said she sat up and stared at him in a daze. He was apparently able to shush her back to sleep, but I know he was traumatized because I was on the verge of a panic attack just hearing the story.
None of this is helped, you see, by the fact that Charlie writes notes- very long and detailed notes. She makes requests for chocolate coins rather than quarters. She details her brushing process and recounts the minutes leading up to the loss of the tooth. She asks questions about what the fairy does with “all those teeth!”
So now, I lie in wait of the latest tooth fairy saga.
On this night, the bounty under the pillow included one tooth, one detailed note, one thank you note, and 2 coins from her piggy bank that she requested be given to another child…all shoved messily into an unzipped snack sized zip-lock baggie.
When I asked what happened, my husband presents the zip-lock bag to me. Empty. He tells me EVERYTHING fell out of the bag when he pulled it out from under the pillow and that he crawled around on the floor in the dark patting around to, at least, locate the tooth… with zero success.
The story is hysterical and we both laugh until we cry about how the tooth fairy should write a letter back detailing how she was nearly crushed under the weight of all the paper and coins and requesting that just the tooth be under the pillow next time.
The tooth has still not been located.
After this incident, I did some research regarding the origins of the tooth fairy. Whose asinine idea was it to make this exchange occur UNDER the sleeping child’s head?! The answer is still unclear, however, I did find this article which, among other things, discusses 9 rituals historically surrounding the disposal of a child’s lost baby teeth:
“(1) the tooth was thrown into the sun; (2) thrown into the fire; (3) thrown between the legs; (4) thrown onto or over the roof of the house, often with an invocation to some animal or individual; (5) placed in a mouse hole near the stove or hearth or offered to some other animal; (6) buried; (7) hidden where animals could not get it; (8) placed in a tree or on a wall; and (9) swallowed by the mother, child or animal.”
Any of these seems preferable to the current tradition in America. Though I wonder how the kids would feel about swallowing their teeth.
It would probably require a more lucrative reward, but it just might be worth it.