Before I begin this post, I feel I should say in my defense that I had been up working until midnight the evening before.
When I went to bed, the small bloody tooth in an envelope under my daughter’s pillow had drifted to the very back of my overtaxed brain. And since my husband and I had been tag-teaming family duties the past few days, he hadn’t even been told about the lost tooth. And quite frankly, when your third kid loses their 11th tooth (or whatever), it’s not as exciting as it used to be.
When morning came far too early the next day, and I dragged myself on crutches (a story for another post) over to her room to wake her, I was momentarily stumped by the crumpled face and sobbing when she reached under her pillow to retrieve the envelope that should no longer have been there.
Now my littlest girl is nearly nine years old, and she’s very precocious. You can call it social intelligence or manipulation or whatever, but she has a pretty sophisticated take on how to work people. And she thrives on drama. So while her big blue eyes were welling up with tears, I couldn’t escape the feeling that she had also pinned me down, as if to say “I know that you know that I know. But we’re not going to talk about it. I’m still your baby and you forgot to play your tooth fairy game and this is going to cost you BIG TIME in therapy bills one day.”
This kid was born knowing.
Not that it really matters. The truth is, our tooth fairy had crashed and burned. Major parenting fail.
Since my recovering knee meant I was in no shape myself to run downstairs and grab some money from my wallet, I hugged her hard, sent her off to the bathroom to wash up and dragged my husband out of the shower to find a $5 bill. Spare me your comments if you think we overpaid (or underpaid), or your children are delighted by a shiny apple or a spanking new toothbrush as a tooth fairy gift. Good for you. This was guilt money, and at 6:30 that morning we were willing to pay a premium for the lost premolar.
He shoved the bill under the pile of pillows on her bed. When she came back into the room, I gently suggested she check again for her prize. Perhaps it had gotten tangled up in the groupings of stuffed animals and decorative pillows?
Why yes. Yes, it had. Whew.
The tears stopped. She smiled prettily at me from under her lashes. And I knew that she knew that I knew. And she still has 13 baby teeth left.
Oh yes, this is going to cost me.
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