Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Fired Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy was just offered a golden denture retirement package. She currently resides in Key West sipping frozen salted drinks and learning the words to every Jimmy Buffett song ever written, even the one about the mandolin. Her reason for quitting? Overwork.

My newly six year old daughter began losing her front first tooth about a week ago. At the announcement of the impending loss, I felt a surge of panic. She had been outside falling off her bike when her brother’s four year old head met her chin on the way down.

I know there are mothers out there with baby books where there is a drawing of the inside of a mouth with lines pointing to each tooth, and the date of emergence and date of departure have been dutifully marked. I am not one of them.

I racked my brain for the GPS of prior teeth she had lost without successful recall. Was this a baby tooth that had been loosened? All I knew for certain, was if I failed to get this checked, the tooth was a permanent one that could have been saved if only I had acted quickly. My motherhood neurotic tendencies run towards ruing the sins of omission.

We went to the dentist. My old dentist had moved to North Carolina that year, and as such the new one in the same office did not have records of my daughter’s mouth. So we took x-rays and I scheduled appointments for the top five for cleanings and check-ups. The receptionist nearly quit in the process. Meanwhile, my daughter played with the sink and enjoyed riding up and down in the chair. "I like the dentist." she said brightly. Relief came, it was a baby tooth. We just had to wait.

In the back of my head, a little nag that I often fail to listen to, suggested that a bit of preparation, maybe a visit to the bank or post office for some shiny coins might be prudent. Then it was time to fix dinner and I forgot all about such things. Meanwhile, my daughter worried that it would hurt, and gummed her food to allow her left central incisor to enjoy its final days of residence in relative leisure.

Six days later, my daughter came down the stairs early, bright eyed and announcing proudly her tooth had fallen out. She wanted everyone to see. We praised her bravery and placed the honored free ranging front tooth in a plastic bag. I put the bag over the microwave, a spot I would be sure to see in the evening and thus remember to put it under her pillow.

It was a rough day, full of long drawn out errands. My husband was overnight in another state for a business retreat. As such, I had collapsed on the sofa prematurely, visions of dental magical entities entirely out of my brain. My daughter had crashed early too, without so much as a bed time story.

When I woke her the next morning, she immediately checked under her pillow and began to sob. Desperation led to inspiration. I suggested she get washed up. I mentioned that I had fallen asleep on the couch WITH her tooth in the bag in my hand on the sofa. Perhaps we might find the tooth fairy’s gift under my pillow. My older daughter is very quick on the uptake and raced downstairs to check, assuring the six year old with uncharacteristic morning generosity that she could use the bathroom first that morning.

The sofa proved profitable for our kindergartener. Four shiny quarters in a baggie with a note. “Your mother left this under her pillow. She’s a bit old to be losing teeth. Love, T.F.” “Silly Mommy,” my gap tooth daughter grinned. “Yes,” my ten year old echoed, “Teeth are for kids.”

My substitute T.F. then later approached me privately about reimbursing her for the services with a slight gratuity for the trouble. I readily parted with an additional fifty cents and decided to subcontract out permanently.

Now, where’s my margarita?

*Originally run 4/11/2008 --as close as my kids are going to get to a scrapbook.  Run in honor of now six year old son who lost his first tooth yesterday while eating an apple.


Aurora said...

Where do I sign to hire your subcontractor? I definitely don't do well in this dept and would happily throw some money at it to be relinquished of my duties. :-)

Larramie said...

Aw, what a great big sister.

jacobusmaximus said...

I had to use Grammy once to help me recover from forgetting. She happened to be staying with me. It was awesome bc she too left a funny note about the delay (and I don't think she blamed me---she didn't throw me under the bus!).
She got lots of Grammy points and many dinners from me in gratitude.

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