Friday, February 01, 2008

The Tooth Fairy’s getting older!

My little one Melanie lost her first tooth the other day. It was a monumental right-of-passage moment in our family being that she is the youngest and last to go through everything. First there was crying because now she’d look different which then gave way to sheer excitement about the Tooth Fairy. We discussed the benevolence of said Fairy, how she gets in the house and if she had red or blonde hair. Was she in fact the same Tooth Fairy mommy and daddy had as kids? I told Melanie about the day when she was six months old and we discovered that tooth newly broken through her swollen gums.

Kelly, older and wiser at eight, reminded Melanie that she was lucky because it was Tuesday and the Tooth Fairy doesn’t come on Sundays or Mondays. Apparently I had missed one or two teeth-retrieving nights along the way and we gave poor Kelly a lame excuse that those were the Fairy’s nights off.

Melanie and I wrote a note on pretty paper, carefully put the tiny root-less baby tooth in a Ziplock bag and tucked it under her pillow. After a very hectic day and a glass of wine with dinner, I was exhausted and fell asleep early.

The next morning Melanie came running down the stairs into the living room where I was drinking my morning coffee and thumbing through the newspaper. She held up a fistful of coins and paper money and shrieked, “Mommy, Mommy the Tooth Fairy came. LOOK.”

SH_ _ SUGAR. I forgot. But…how? I was truly shocked opening my eyes and blinking to see clearly. For a split second I felt like the movie Peter Pan where everyone chants: I do believe in Fairies. I do. I do. Then my husband came upstairs from the den with a wide grin on his face.

“How much money did you get Melanie?” he asked. They counted out $3.68. Oh Thank God for him because this dunderhead mother fell asleep and forgot. I’m glad we didn’t have to cross out yet another day off the Tooth Fairy’s rounds.

That night eating dinner, I bit into a soft veggie burger and cracked off a piece of my back molar. It didn’t hurt and although grateful that I didn’t swallow it, I was horrified that I’m like an old woman losing teeth and next thing I’ll be sprouting stray hairs out of my chin. It is a weird feeling to lose your tooth or a piece of one. I understood why Melanie cried. I’m not happy that now they’ll have to yank out the filling that’s exposed and maybe even the rest of the tooth with it. I’m sure I’ll need root canal or a crown—expensive—which let’s face it who wants to spend on TEETH—let alone on me, mommy. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had been to the dentist. I think it was five years ago to fill this cavity that hurt over the years, but I ignored. It was just another thunk on the head in a long list of mommy not taking care of herself and my things that get put on the back burner.

The kids coaxed me to put it under my pillow and said I would definitely get money for even a quarter of a tooth, because “Mommy your teeth are way bigger.” Tom winked reassuringly at me. I couldn’t help but notice that the Tooth Fairy struck an uncanny resemblance to Santa Claus only with wings and a wand.

When’s the last time the Tooth Fairy visited your house or that you’ve been to the dentist for yourself?

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