The tooth fairy flaked last night, and it's not the first time.
My daughter has been waiting patiently for weeks for her loose bottom tooth to come out. For almost 2 weeks she has been wiggling it, testing it, pulling at it in hopes of expediting the process. And finally, it came out while she was in school.
She was so excited.
She showed it to everyone, taking it out of the zippered silk pouch I gave her to take to school for just such a possibility. She revealed her tooth-less grin for anyone willing to watch and showed people how she could now sip on a straw with her teeth tightly clenched.
This was exciting indeed.
But the most exciting part was getting ready for the tooth fairy. We talked all evening about optimum location for tooth placement and the tooth fairy's going "rate" for a small front bottom tooth.
At bedtime she positioned the whiteness of the teeny tiny chicklet right on top of a pink flower design of her sheet so it was easier for the fairy to see and then she went to bed with high hopes.
Then I went to bed...exhausted and didn't wake up till 7:30am the next morning when she was standing at the foot of my bed with a very displeased pout.
"The tooth fairy didn't come."
I panicked. "Um...really? She didn't??"
"No...(beat...angry stare)...She didn't."
"That's so weird honey." I said searching the corners of my dusty mind for a way to fix the problem this stupid fairy had caused me. "I wonder why?" and I vamped "OOoooooh...you know what? I heard that LOTS of kids lost their teeth yesterday. She must have been really backed-up with work. Wow. That's such a shame, but I totally bet she'll come tonight if we try again."
She wasn't completely convinced of my reasoning, but she was on board with the revised plan.
The next night we tried again. Tiny tooth placed prominently against the flower pattern. Livi must have checked it 4 times before going to sleep.
"Do you think she'll come tonight?"
"Yes, honey...for sure. She was just REALLY busy."
She seemed satisfied and went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up with a small hand tugging on a toe which was sticking out from under my comforter.
I was still in the throes of REM sleep, but I still had enough guilt and neuroses inside of me to instantly snap-to and know what exactly what I was about to hear...
"Moooooom! She didn't come again!" Livi said holding the teeny, tiny tooth in the middle of her teeny tiny outstretched hand for me to see. She looked like she was on the verge of tears.
I couldn't BELIEVE I forgot AGAIN! 2 nights in a row! What kind of mother was I? How do you forget to be the tooth fairy 2 NIGHTS IN A ROW???! How hard was it to remember to take a tooth and put a dollar in it's place before I go to bed??! I was definitely going to be stripped of my fairy wings for this. I felt horrible - and so sad for my little girl.
I called upon my improvisational skills to come up with ever increasingly more satisfying answer as to how the Tooth fairy might miss two nights in a row. "Maybe the tooth fairy was confused by the bunk beds and didn't know where to look?" or "Maybe the tooth fairy was still too overwhelmed from all of the teeth that fell out over the past day or two..." and my favorite lame excuse "You know what? I think I read on-line that our neighborhood got a new Tooth Fairy because ours was relocated somewhere else. Maybe she's just trying to get used to her new job and catch up." Surprisingly, that excuse seemed acceptable to her.
So that night, we placed the tooth even nearer to the edge of the pillow, again set against the bright pink design of one of her flower patterns and we wrote a big note and put it on the wall "Dear Tooth Fairy - My tooth is right here!" and we put a big arrow pointing to Livi's head. I kissed her and told her FOR SURE the tooth fairy wouldn't be confused tonight and would get around to taking her tooth.
I spent the whole evening working really hard to keep my mind on the fact that I had a job to do. "Don't forget the tooth. Don't forget the tooth..." I thought about it while I was clearing the table "Don't forget the tooth. Don't forget the tooth..."; I thought about it when I was cleaning the kitchen "Don't forget the tooth..."; and I thought about it while I was folding laundry in front of the TV "Don't forget the tooth. Don't forget the tooth, Don't forget the tooth..."
When I was about to crawl into bed, I went into my wallet and couldn't find a $1 bill.
But I did have a $10. It was a ridiculous amount for a lower, front tooth, but I decided that the Tooth Fairy had to pay a late fee. A big one.
The next morning Livi was at the foot of my bed jumping up and down and waving a $10 bill.
"Mommy! The Tooth Fairy came and I got $10!!!!!!"
"WOW, Livi! That's GREAT!
I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I had finally gotten the job done.
"And Mom! Feel this!" She grabbed my hand and put my finger in her mouth to test the wiggliness of another loose bottom tooth.
This girl's gonna be rich.