So I’m the asshole mom who forgot to be the Tooth Fairy when my son lost his top left incisor last night.
Honestly? I’m surprised he put the tooth under the pillow to begin with, because just last week he said “tell me the truth, the tooth fairy isn’t real, is she?”
“What do you think, baby?” I asked him.
“I think it’s you,” he said.
“And how does that make you feel?”
I smiled, he smiled . The end. Except, not really.
He lost his tooth last night – it was hanging by a thread all day, and while they were playing in the living room, I heard his sister say “Mazal Tov! Happy birthday, dear tooth!”
He came over to me pleased as punch with a little ruby hole in his mouth, and a tiny pearl in his hand.
“Great, dude!” I said.
He rinsed his mouth out, and went back to playing.
The end. Right?
This morning, bleary eyed. still in bed, I heard the kids chatting as they woke up.
“Did she come?” my daughter asked.
“No.” my son answered.
Did who come? I asked myself.
“Did you put it under the pillow?”
My daughter knows for a fact there’s no tooth fairy because the last time her brother lost a tooth, SHE tucked the little pink stuffed dog under his pillow in exchange for the tooth.
She likes giving gifts.
And apparently, parenting advice, too, because she stalked into my room this morning, shook her head like “mm mm mm” and said to me “Mama, you dogged it.”
She was right.
“Ok, I got this,” I told her and got out of bed.
“Hey baby, guess who called me at 3 in the morning?” I asked my son.
“Who? Uncle Dani?”
“No, baby. The Tooth Fairy. And I’ve got some disappointing news. She’s over in Japan, and she ate too much sushi and couldn’t fly.” I said.
My daughter arched her eyebrow. “Sushi, Mom? Really?” She’s 9.
“Yes, she ate too much sushi, and she was weighed down, and could’t fly.”
My daughter rolled her eyes.
“Oh, is she ok?” my son asked.
“She’s going to be fine, she just needed to rest a night, but she’ll come today!”
“Sababa. Cool” he said.
I went back to my room to change.
“I think he bought it,” my daughter said.
“Its weird though, I thought he didn’t believe in it anymore,” I said.
“I think there ar two things here, Mama,” she said. “Being young goes fast, and it’s nice to believe. Plus, he gets a present, so what’s not to believe? Just don’t fuck it up this time, ok?”
She’s right. Childhood is fast and fleeting – just two nights ago, she asked me to sit with her while she fell asleep, and I balked because the dishes in the sink, and work, and I just wanted to watch a movie and have some ice cream in a living room steeped in quiet. But she struggled, and cried, and eventually, I gave in and sat with her, and she was asleep in seconds.
This too shall pass – all of it. And the house will be very quiet and very empty and I won’t need to think about little stuffed animals under pillows, or (thanks to my lame Japan excuse) a handful of foreign coins, or a few old stamps placed under the head of a dreaming boy.