68. The Forgetful Fairy

68. The Forgetful Fairy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

The Forgetful Fairy

The tooth fairy teaches children that they can sell body parts for money.

~David Richerby

I should have been saving more money this past summer, not just for vacation and camp, but for those visits from the Tooth Fairy… or “Toof Fairy,” as one of my twins, Emily, affectionately calls her. The past few months, my three kids have been spitting out baby teeth left and right. When my oldest, Aaron, lost his first tooth, it was such a momentous event. As soon as he drifted off to sleep, I tiptoed into his bedroom, carefully leaving under his pillow: two dollars for the first tooth lost, a new toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, and a wonderfully crafted letter from the Tooth Fairy. The next morning, he was thrilled at what the Tooth Fairy had left for him. Ha, I thought. This is fun! I’ll be so good at this. Well, that is until the next tooth fell out…

A week later, Aaron was having a pillow fight with his Uncle Jimmy. His second tooth was dangling out of his mouth, ready to fall out. Uncle Jimmy swung the pillow at Aaron. Wham! Out came tooth number two. That night, Aaron put the tooth under his pillow and fell asleep. And then… Mom forgot! I woke up around 3:00 a.m. in a complete panic. Darn Tooth Fairy! I stumbled to the kitchen and grabbed my purse, but all I could find was a twenty-dollar bill. Are you kidding me? I love my son to death, but he was not about to get twenty dollars for a tooth. So I scraped together whatever change I could find in the house and literally dumped the coins under his pillow. Aaron was thrilled the next morning to receive a huge pile of coins. Whew, that was close!

Two weeks later, Emily lost her first tooth, and I was back on track: two dollars for the first tooth lost, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a note. Good to go. A week later, Emily lost her second tooth. Mom forgot. This time, it was midnight, and I awoke again in a panic. I rushed to the kitchen and rummaged through my purse to find no cash at all. This time, I went through the closet downstairs. It contained some Christmas gifts the kids hadn’t used yet, and I found a Little Mermaid game. Thankfully, Emily didn’t remember that gift. The next morning, she was thrilled, yet confused about the whole board game idea. Emily had a broken leg at the time, so I said, “Well, the Tooth Fairy knew you’d be laid up and wanted you to have something to pass the time.” Mom, you liar you. But it worked!

Another couple of weeks passed, and Aaron’s top tooth was very loose. He was having a sleepover with two of his friends, and they decided they would pull out the tooth and stay up to see the Tooth Fairy. Their tooth-pulling event began around 9:00 p.m. I had to intervene at one point because they came up with the idea of putting Aaron’s head in the doorway, and then trying to shut the door on his tooth. Then, apparently, we ran out of dental floss and they began looking for rope. On top of that, my hand mirror was mysteriously broken. I was told later that Aaron’s friend was trying to spank the tooth out of him with my mirror! These kids were definitely creative.

I went to bed around 11:30 and could hear the kids still whispering and working on the loose tooth. Finally, one of his friends pulled the tooth out for him. I could hear the whispering excitement. “Aaron’s tooth fell out! Now let’s set up base and wait up for the Tooth Fairy!” They all went to bed, waiting. I fell asleep. Around 4:00 a.m., I woke up, frantic. I had forgotten AGAIN! I grabbed a dollar from my purse and snuck into Aaron’s room. Luckily, everyone was fast asleep. I slithered over each sleeping child and slipped the money under Aaron’s pillow. The next morning, one of Aaron’s friends claimed he saw the Tooth Fairy. I said, “Oh, really? What did she look like?” He simply said, “I don’t remember.” Ha!

A month went by. Emily lost a second tooth, and now her top tooth was very loose. One day, she yanked it out and came to me crying. “Mommy, I don’t want the Tooth Fairy to take my tooth. I want to keep it!”

I said, “Don’t worry, Emily. The Tooth Fairy is a wonderful, kind, caring fairy, not to mention smart, beautiful, funny (okay, maybe rambling a bit there), and she would not take your tooth from you unless you wanted her to.”

Together, we crafted a letter to the Tooth Fairy to come and view the tooth, not take it with her, but still leave Emily her surprise. Of course, Emily made sure it was fully explained in the letter. All went well. The next night, however, Emily wanted the Tooth Fairy to visit again and take the tooth. I told her, “Well, Emily, she can come and take the tooth, but she can’t leave you anything this time around.”

Emily looked at me bluntly and said, “Never mind. I’ll keep it.”

Oh, my gosh! She was planning to double-dip the Tooth Fairy! I couldn’t believe it!

Last but not least, Sara finally lost her first tooth last week. It was such a treat. She was my last one to lose her first tooth. She had waited so patiently, watching Emily and Aaron getting all the Tooth Fairy surprises. When she woke up the next morning and saw what the Tooth Fairy had left, she was beaming so proudly. It was the sweetest thing to see. She felt like she was part of the club. Good memory, Tooth Fairy!

Today, in addition to scouring the “Help Wanted” ads for a second job to pay for all the lost teeth, I am also playing Memory games with my kids so I can improve my recollection skills. This is one of the many journeys with my kids I want to remember!

~Michele Christian

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