Six years in and I’ve started to take this parenting thing for granted. I don’t know if this is a sign of being busy or just taking my eye off the ball for one minute. Big mistake. Because, as all parents know, you give your
enemy children a small amount of ground, they will stomp all over you. Never relax. Hell, you’re a parent of small children, what is relaxation?
So this is what happens: the Chatterbox loses her fourth (maybe fifth tooth) on Sunday night. We are all sitting around the table when it happens. She’s happily munching on her food one minute and then crying the next about how the tooth is about to fall out.
I turn into the dentist – it’s one of my many roles around here – and extricate the tooth with a paper towel. Her mood lifts immediately and now all the Chatterbox is thinking about is MONEY. Tooth fairy money.
We go through the ritual of putting the tooth under the pillow and making a big deal about what she will get. She’s excited and goes to sleep, undoubtedly thinking about how much money she will receive in the morning.
And it’s NOTHING. I don’t know if the English Husband and I were having too much of a good time on Sunday night. He came home from the pub in an advanced state of hilarity (i.e. drunkenness) and I was drinking red wine while watching Downton Abbey. Whatever the reason, we forget to put the money under the pillow.
(This does not happen the first time she loses her tooth – read my blog post here.)
Socialist tooth fairies
The next morning the Chatterbox is crestfallen, literally. I’m not sure what to say about this. I think about various excuses: the tooth fairy doesn’t work on Sundays; tooth fairies in England are essentially socialist and get a lot of days off; the tooth fairy went on strike (she’s socialist, remember?); and tooth fairies can be forgetful, even if they aren’t human.
I decide to tell her that maybe we need to write her a note. The Chatterbox takes this seriously and writes to the tooth fairy on a piece of stationery:
‘My tooth is clean. I will go to bed tonight. Please pick up my tooth.’
Well, the note nearly breaks my heart. The English Husband leaves the money under the pillow; there’s no forgetting this time. The lucky girl wakes up to find £2.
That night, as she is going to bed, she looks up at me, eyes as wide as saucers, and says: ‘Mommy, the tooth fairy forgot to take my tooth!’ She is holding it aloft, and I verify it’s the tooth.
I am speechless. I left this small task to the English Husband while I went out to my book club. He later tells me that he thought the tooth was in the envelope with the note and never bothered to check.
At this moment, though, I am standing in this child’s bedroom and wondering how I will explain myself out of this crisis. The Chatterbox is staring at me. I can see her thinking. I’ve got seconds to come up with a plausible explanation.
Finally I mumble, haltingly: ‘I guess she must have got confused. Maybe she’s a new tooth fairy. She’ll definitely spot it and take it tonight.’ I put the tooth on the dresser in plain sight.
I have no idea if she believes me. Frankly, I’m rather worried that she might. Is this is a sign that she will struggle with logic later on?
With Christmas coming, my only hope is that Santa Claus won’t get too drunk on Christmas Eve and screw the whole thing up.