The tooth fairy at our house should be fired. To say that she’s incompetent is really too kind.
The following conversation has played out at our house many times:
“Mom, look! My tooth finally came out!” one of my twin daughters says.
“Better put it under your pillow before you forget,” I say.
Her excitement instantly dissolves. “Do you think the tooth fairy will come tonight?” she asks.
“I’m sure she will, honey. Maybe she’s not so busy right now,” I answer, swallowing the sick, guilty feeling curdling in my throat.
I’m a note writer. I have to keep a running to-do list at all times or I will forget to do something as simple as returning a phone call. The problem is I can’t write “Put money under pillow” or “Be tooth fairy” on my to-do list. It’s always sitting out in the open – where I can remember to find it – and my daughters are often interested in what my notes for the day are.
With no written reminder, I just can’t seem to remember to put that money under the pillow. If my husband is home, he switches the teeth for money in my place, but since his job often involves being gone nights, the role of tooth fairy usually falls to me. And I’m always, absolutely without fail, late.
One time, the tooth fairy was so outrageously overdue, my daughter left a tightly-folded, carefully printed note along with the tooth under her pillow. It said, “To toth farey you are at Rachel’s. Ples com. I lik you but prite ples com and get mi tooth.”
Though I chuckled as I read it, standing in the bright light of the hallway outside their bedroom door, the shame I felt overshadowed any real humor in the situation. The letter was pitiful; my daughter had been driven to write this?
The guilt and remorse mounted even further when my daughters came banging home from school one day and demanded to know why their friends’ tooth fairies didn’t wait a week to collect their teeth. I had no good explanation.
“Maybe our tooth fairy has more kids in her area and she’s just behind schedule,” I said, trying to hide my discomfort, yet be convincing. This could, in theory, be a plausible explanation. We live in a rural area where the kids’ schoolmates live up to 35 miles away. The hastily concocted cover-up was totally lame, but thankfully, they seemed to buy it.
Now ten, my daughters have lost the majority of their teeth. They still claim belief in the tooth fairy, but at this point it’s mostly whimsy – a fantasy they seem reluctant to give up, even though they’ve been faced with clear evidence to the contrary on several occasions.
I’m hoping our tooth fairy (I guess that’s me) gets it together before my two younger sons start losing their teeth. Then I won’t have to hear anything like this disheartening conversation again:
“Mom, are you the tooth fairy?” asked one twin.
“No, she couldn’t be the tooth fairy because she’d never be so late with the money,” said the other.
Yep, that Mom of the Year award should be arriving any day now.