As we were working hard to get ready for church this morning, Hannah came into the kitchen as I was fixing breakfast for the kids and myself. It was quick breakfast day with the choices of cereal, cinnamon-toast, or instant oatmeal. She had a disgruntled, serious business look on her face.
“Daddy, the tooth fairy did not come again last night!” she exclaimed.
With about a half-second pause, and feeling a little sly, I replied “Well, where did you put your tooth? Maybe the tooth fairy couldn’t find it.”
“I put it in this tooth box right under the lamp by my bed, “ she said matter-of-factly as she held out her hand to reveal the small, plastic, tooth-shaped box she was carrying. She popped it open to display its contents. “See, there’s the tooth, still in there.”
So much for that blame-game. I thought I might trip her up on that one, explaining to her that she had probably put it in a bad spot, but she was too smart for that. Sometimes the tooth fairy has not been able to make her pick-up and delivery because the tooth has not been in an easily accessible location. Not the case this time.
“Well, maybe the tooth fairy has gone on vacation, or she had a very busy night with other kids,” I said. Hannah paused a moment and pondered that idea. I wasn’t sure whether or not she was buying it. All I know was that I was sure looking forward to having a talk with the tooth fairy to see where she had been last night, and the night before that, too.
A few moments later, as Hannah’s nearly seven year old brain kicked into overdrive, Hannah began asking me if there really are reindeer, and I told her that there really were, but that they could not fly. She put two and two together pretty quickly and assessed that Rudolph probably did not really have a red nose, either. I quickly agreed.
As I placed Hannah’s steaming oatmeal in front of her, when what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer…no, no, no; it was just Mommy. As Katrina passed through the kitchen, Hannah began her plea all over again about the absentee tooth fairy, and with quite a pause and look of surprise, Katrina said, “Well, shoot! What in the world has happened to that tooth fairy?” I let her in on my vacation theory.
As the kids huddled over their bowls of cereal and oatmeal, Katrina and I huddled in the laundry room to gasp at each other over being total failures as tooth fairies. We have no excuses. The tooth fairy just has a poor track record at our house in the dependability department. Pitiful.
When Bradley, the firstborn of our five younger children, came of age to start losing teeth, we were anxious to have him put that first tooth under his pillow. We were shocked to discover that Bradley had other ideas about all that. For some reason, he did not want to part with his teeth. He didn’t seem to see the value of trading teeth for cash money. We encouraged him to do it after his toothless smile grew more and more holes, but he didn’t want any part of that. Who knows, maybe he was planning on making a tooth necklace or something.
A couple of years ago, while Bradley was busy stockpiling his teeth, Hannah had not yet reached the age for her teeth to begin to turn loose. Then, one unfortunate event changed all of that and Hannah lost her first tooth in the most precarious way possible.
The kids were all outside jumping on our trampoline in the yard as we were enjoying a quiet afternoon in the house. All of a sudden, Hannah came bolting through the front door screaming, testing the limits of her voice box and exceeding the capacity of our eardrums. A crimson flow was coming from her mouth, which was a sign that something actually justified her blood-gurgling scream.
When we finally got her calmed down and got the blood fountain to stop spewing, we discovered that she was missing a tooth. We immediately came to the conclusion that she must have hit her mouth on one of the other kids’ heads while jumping in the trampoline. But Hannah and Bradley assured us that that was not the case. Hannah then explained that while she was jumping, as she was coming down, her face got hung against the safety net on the side, pulled against her mouth, and snagged on one of her teeth, jerking it out.
After we got the story straight, we were a little upset that Hannah’s first tooth had been lost to the yard outside. Bradley leaped to action, went outside, and scanned the bottom of the trampoline. He returned quite quickly carrying Hannah’s tiny eye tooth. Hannah cheered up and became perky when she discovered that she would be able to participate in the cash for calcium program.
Although Hannah’s first visit from the tooth fairy went pretty well, we have had a few bad toothless moments. Hannah and Holly have both actually had a problem with not only losing their teeth, but losing their teeth, literally. Somehow both of them, at one time or another, has lost their tooth somewhere in the house before they can actually got it in place for the tooth fairy to visit. On other occasions, the tooth fairy has been tired, busy, or couldn’t actually locate those incisors when the time came.
As I look at this tooth box sitting on my nightstand, recently delivered by my lovely wife Katrina as I write this, I know that the tooth fairy will do better tonight. Now that we are well rested and the tooth fairy has hopefully returned from the beach, things should go well.
Third night’s a charm, right?
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, February 28, 2010.