We tell our kids about the tooth fairy. It’s just one of those fun things we do, although we don’t take it very seriously. Since he stays up later than I do, my husband plays the tooth fairy. I’m usually asleep in bed before Beta actually manages to fall asleep and since she’s the one who’s losing all the teeth right now, it makes life easier.
Except the Tooth Fairy keeps forgetting to show up. The first time this happened and Beta came downstairs disappointed in the morning, we said, “Oh no! Were you awake really late? Because the Tooth Fairy won’t come unless you fall asleep early.”
She admitted she had been up late. “I was just so excited about the Tooth Fairy coming and giving me a coin, I couldn’t fall asleep.” She tried her best to fall asleep the next night and my husband made a note to remember to go up there and take the tooth. It all worked out and Beta found a coin under her pillow the next morning. That was a close one, we told each other.
This last tooth, however, we failed miserably. My husband forgot the first night and without prompting, Beta blamed herself. “I was awake too late! I’m going to have to go to bed really early tonight so the Tooth Fairy will come.” My husband felt horribly guilty.
Next morning, Beta slept in. I quietly asked my husband in the kitchen if he had remembered the Tooth Fairy. He cringed. “No! I forgot! What are we going to do?” I thought a second, then went to his office and grabbed the coin and headed up to her bedroom, hoping she was still asleep. She woke up when I entered and I approached the pillow and, while slipping the coin underneath it, told her “Good morning! Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah,” she answered sleepily. I cast around for a way to distract her so I could slide the envelope containing her tooth out from underneath her pillow.
“Well, why don’t you go get dressed?”
“Okay. But you have to turn around so you don’t see me get out of bed. I don’t want you to see my underpants!”
I gave her a confused look. “What? Aren’t you wearing Pjs?”
“I am, but you might see them and it would be embarrassing.”
I thought for a moment. “Alright. If you turn around and face that wall, I’ll turn around and face this wall while you get out of bed.” She did and I quickly snatched the envelope and crammed it under my shirt. She then got out of bed and I opened her blinds.
“Oh!” I said suddenly, as if a thought were just occurring to me. “Did the Tooth Fairy come last night?”
“No,” she answered sadly. “I didn’t see a coin.”
“Oh. Well, did you look carefully?”
“I did but I didn’t see one.”
“Why don’t you look again?”
She moved her entire pillow and there was the coin. She smiled happily and took it into her hand. “I must have looked before she had time to come. Or I didn’t look in the right spot because here it is!”
I smiled at her and agreed that must have been what happened. Then I headed to my room to stuff the tooth into my underwear drawer until I could sneak it downstairs to where we keep all the kids’ teeth. They’re one of the millions of things we’re planning on keeping to hand out to the kids when they pack up to move out.
When I went back downstairs to the kitchen, my husband whispered, “Did you get it?” I nodded and told him what happened. He looked relieved. Crisis averted. Disappointment averted.
We’re beginning to wonder how long it will be until my kids figure out that we’re the ones who are forgetting and not some mystical being who is simply waiting for you to fall asleep before taking your tooh.