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Tales of the Tooth Fairy

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. 

 

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2 Responses to Tales of the Tooth Fairy

  1. Courtney April 22, 2017 at 1:20 am #

    This is hilarious. It is interesting to read the perspective from the parent/tooth fairy.

    ‘Tis the season for losing teeth in my classroom. We keep a poster-board sized graph on the door, which children proudly colour in at the departure of each tooth. In my classroom I have an aspiring dentist (she has yanked out a total of 3 teeth during school hours, only 1 of which was hers). Losing teeth is a competitive field amongst the kids, and when someone colours in another block, there are guaranteed at least three kids the next day diligently working to wiggle a tooth free in the classroom. They start the mornings off with open mouths exposing the fresh gaping holes and left over skin. I am the protector of these teeth until they bring them home for the tooth fairy. I wrap them up securely with whatever is nearby, and delicately finish the package with themed tape or stickers. One particular day this past year I was charged with the responsibility of finding a lost tooth outside. The child was so intoxicated with bliss at losing a tooth that he ran into the front door on his way to show me. The tooth fell and disappeared. My colleague took a dustbin and brush and began sweeping the floor. Kids descended from all corners of the play area to assist, and then finally I thought to myself “What would Dexter do?”. I channeled my inner- forensic scientist serial killer, and re-enacted the child’s movements. There on the ledge of the blue door, was one lonely, blood stained tooth.

    …the next time I wipe a tooth clean and safely keep it until the child goes home for the night, I will think of you parents- and the saga that awaits before the dreaded tooth finally leaves us alone:)

  2. Stephanie
    Stephanie April 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    That’s also really funny. i can’t imagine being responsible for all those teeth!