My son had a basketball game yesterday and sitting in front of me was a father and his little daughter. I would say she was about 4 or 5 years old. Even though I was engrossed in the game, I noticed their interchange because she appeared so nervous and fidgety. Then I saw her turn to him and her eyes looked so pensive when her father took his hand and wiggled that bottom loose tooth. He shook his head no and returned to the game. This went on a few times: stop, wiggle, ‘nope’. The game progressed and I lost track of the outcome but if I were a betting gal, I would think she had a sparkle of Tooth Fairy dust visit her last night. We lost the game, sadly by 3 points, and the drive home alone was quiet. Jack likes to take the bus with the team so I was alone in my thoughts and that little girl and her dad came back into my head. I began to recall my Tooth Fairy memories.
My Dad drove a Volkswagen bug, Herbie, and I could hear the sound of that engine when he was at the corner. I would get a piece of gauze and wait at the back door for him to examine the tooth. I remember how huge my father’s fingers felt underneath that gauze in my mouth as I held my breath while he wiggled. Most times he would say, “it’s not ready” and I would wiggle and wiggle until I worked it ready for the pull. When he he tried it again and showed me the gauze, there was my tooth, ready for the Tooth Fairy to come.
You know the drill, under the pillow in foil or plastic wrap and in the morning, wahoo…cash. Score: $.25, yes, twenty five cents. Maybe it turned to $.50 at some point but I cannot remember that anymore. One year, under my pillow, I placed the autograph book that Santa brought me hoping to see her handwriting. In the morning, she signed it: a picture of a tooth. Cool. I still have that autograph book.
Then I became a parent and do you know what kids get today for a tooth? Serious beanos. Anywhere from a few bucks to $5.00. One time I was traveling and got home late. In the morning I heard the saddest thing come from Amelia’s room, “she didn’t come”. Oh God. we forgot. What terrible parents. We told her a story to the effect that the Tooth Fairy must not have felt that you were really asleep and was afraid you’d see her. That night we made sure we took that tooth and left a buck or two under her pillow. (Guilt money) We then changed the plan to the little ‘tooth pillow’ that hung on the doorknob for easy access, and easy remembering. That never happened again.
Amelia was a worrier and never wiggled. Jack would work it and work it until it came out. blood all over. We have lost teeth at school, swallowed teeth at school, and come home triumphantly from school with the little treasure chest from the nurse housing that tooth. I never knew what to do with the teeth after the tooth fairy made her acquisition. Keep them or throw them out? What did you do with them? Share your story in the comments, I would love to know.
It’s early, about 5:30am. I got up for spin class at 4:40 but this time, I hit the snooze. Ugh. I woke up at 5am and I knew by the time I got dressed and over there, I may not get a bike. It fills very quickly. So I sit here writing this and listen to the sounds of my house: the furnace clicking on, the refrigerator running and soon the coffee pot. Since the kids had their tonsils and adenoids out, the only snoring is coming from Izzy. This is the kind of morning I longed for as “the Tooth Fairy” so I could slide in and out undetected. I wonder what my kids will say about us as the Tooth Fairy. In the years to come when they have kids, a tooth could be worth $20. I better tell them to start saving now.