Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Has anyone seen the tooth fairy?

Last Sunday my 7 year old son lost his tooth! It wasn't his first lost tooth, but it was his first upper FRONT tooth, so he has officially begun that 5 - 7 year period lovingly known as the "awkward years." Now, being his mother, I think the missing front tooth is absolutely adorable, but if my son is anything like me, he'll look back at photographs of himself at this period of time and just shake his head. Truth is, he might be looking at the rest of our family and shaking his head too - who knows?

Anyway - the lost tooth. At our house we're careful not to play up Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Although we haven't been dwelling on their "un-realness", we try to capture the true meaning of the holidays instead of these traditions. HOWEVER, the tooth fairy is part of my kids lives and she is real, living, takes used teeth and leaves money in it's place. She is little and flys and somehow enters into our house summer or winter. I don't know why they are so convinced that the tooth fairy is real, or why we perpetuate this myth, but it's what happens, and we all play along. So, Sunday was a big day! Another tooth, another $1 in the piggy bank. (I know, inflation has hit since MY tooth fairy came too!) This is a monumental event in my child's life - probably the highlight of his week. I kept reminding myself throughout the day that the tooth fairy needed to "visit" that night. And guess what? Yep, I forgot.

I'm taking a shower on Monday morning, when I hear knock on the bathroom door. "Who is it?" I ask. My son yells his name, and immediately I remember what I have not done. "Come in!" I say, feeling all the guilt you can possibly feel standing in the shower. "Mommy, I found my tooth box with my tooth inside and there's no money." I am in the shower, and I can HEAR the distress my child is feeling. So, I say to him..."Let me finish my shower and dry off, and then I'll help you out." I mean, come on, what was I supposed to do while I'm halfway through rinsing out my hair? Plus, I need time to make a plan. I can either:

a) Explain that the tooth fairy had a former commitment and that she'll come tonight.
b) Somehow sneak the $1 into the bed and convince my son that he had missed it.
c) Come clean. Not shower clean. Confession Clean.

I'm mulling over my choices in the shower when I realize that all of our money is downstairs, so option b, which I was leaning towards, is no longer an option. Sadly, option c never really crosses my mind as a REAL option because I don't feel like explaining such in-depth matters to a 5 & 7 year old at 7 a.m. Plus, I LIKE the tooth fairy. So, I finish showering, dry off and escape to my room. I'm still trying to figure out exactly HOW I have some kind of knowledge of the tooth fairies whereabouts when I see it. I see the answer to my dilemma. Praise God! My husband had left a crisp dollar bill on the dresser that night, after emptying the contents of his pockets. Option B might work after all. I get dressed, stuff the bill into my pocket and head to my son's room.

"Let me take a look here - are you sure you didn't miss it?" He's pretty sure, but has also noticed that his tooth box is broken. It wasn't that way BEFORE he went to bed. Hmm...When I asked where he found it, he said on the floor. I thought maybe the tooth fairy had a struggle? He's thinking about it and coming up with a few ideas of his own. PERFECT! Now I just have to get the bill into the bed without him seeing it. I haven't actually climbed into the top bunk of a bed for a while - which is where my son sleeps, but in order to pull this off I knew that I was going to have to root around. As I'm doing this, my son says "Mommy - I think you are too heavy to go up there." I didn't say what I was thinking (you know something to the tune of...Kid, if you want this $1, you'd better can it!). Instead, I just replied "Honey, it's ok - it's just for a moment." I spend a few seconds reaching into the cracks and crevices of the bed (After all, I want it to seem real) when I finally slip the dollar under his stuffed webkinz penguin sitting on the side of the bed. I tell him I've found it and too look under the penguin. He switches places with me, finds the dollar and his faith in the tooth fairy is restored. AND she is quite clever for hiding the $1 under the penguin! I only feel a little bad about passing blame off to Penguino. :) Someday, when my kids have children of their own, I'll tell them this story. For now, I'm the hero - and I kind of like it.

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