Seriously, WTF is wrong with the Tooth Fairy?
Wednesday, my almost 8-year-old son had a tooth pulled, and the only thing getting him through the hours leading up to the intimidating experience was that the Tooth Fairy would come that night. He sat in the vinyl, reclining chair, shivering with a bit of fear, holding my hand. The dentist shot him up with novocaine. He wiggled out his tooth. We went for ice cream. Before bed, he put his cute little tooth all nestled in its cute little tooth-shaped case underneath his pillow, surely thinking about all the riches he’d receive in return for his lower lateral incisor.
Then, morning came. He walked into our bedroom.
“The Tooth Fairy didn’t come,” he said sleepily.
Fuck. I looked at my husband. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I know in the GRAND scheme of things, forgetting about the tooth fairy isn’t really that big of a deal. But I don’t like to disappoint my kids. And Braedan’s on the cusp of believing in such things. He’s asking questions. I try my best to keep the kids small and naive and innocent and believing in all these fairy tales. But here I am planting the seeds of doubt with my own hands, right on my very own soil.
“Oh, you know what? There was this thunderstorm last night,” I say casually. Cooly. Believable. “I bet the tooth fairy got holed up somewhere and couldn’t make it through. She’ll come tonight, I bet.”
I’m telling my son this even though he’s seen Rise of the Guardians. He knows the shit the Tooth Fairy goes through to protect kids’ teeth and knows she’ll stop at nothing. Luckily, he seems satisfied.
I vow to never forget the Tooth Fairy Again.
Until I do.
While Braedan is in school that day, I run to the store and pick some toy off the shelf, a toy I know he’ll discard after a few days, but one that in the moment, he’ll think is cool. I’ll make this right, I think. That night, Braedan puts his tooth under his pillow again. My husband and I stay up too late watching episodes of The Walking Dead. As soon as the television is off, I run into my room, get into bed, and huddle under the covers, as I always do after watching that show because it scares the hell out of me. I dream of zombies and remote farm houses.
Morning comes. I am awoken by a small, spiteful voice.
“Hey mom, look what the Tooth Fairy brought me,” Braedan says.
Fuck. Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck.
He holds up the cute little tooth-shaped case with his cute little tooth still inside, a sarcastic look on his face. (God, he is his mother’s son.) The Tooth Fairy is on his very short shit list.
“What the….?” I say. I am on his side. WTF is going on with the Tooth Fairy?
I go into the kitchen, where my husband is making coffee.
“The Tooth Fairy forgot to come. Again.” I say, incredulous.
“Someone needs to be fired,” Rich says.
I look at my son, who is simply defeated. “We’ll get to the bottom of this, Braedan. We’ll find out what’s going on.”
“We’re going to send an email to the Tooth Fairy’s people,” Rich says.
“Was there another thunderstorm last night?” Braedan asks. He seems so small. So unlike the little tough guy who dons hockey skates and mounds of equipment and races like a phantom across the ice and earns MVP trophies. He is straddling two worlds. On the one hand, he is growing up. So fast. Too fast. On the other hand, he is still my little, tiny baby boy who depends on me. I want to crawl into a hole and stay there until the Tooth Fairy does decide to get her shit together and leave something underneath my kid’s pillow.
“I don’t think so. Something is going on though,” I say.
“Or the Tooth Fairy just doesn’t care about me,” he says, sitting at the kitchen island, his head in his hands while he waits for his breakfast.
I. Am. Such. An. Asshole.
This is a big thing to him. Huge. And I have failed. I didn’t even try to blame my husband, who I asked to remind me before bed about the Tooth Fairy. This is my job. It always has been. And I like it that way. And I have to make it right.
So that day, while Braedan is at school, I come up with a plan I think will work. I run to the store – again – and purchase something I think he actually will like. A pouch of crystals and minerals from the local toy store. Then, I sit down with my phone and compose a fake news story.
Subject: Re: Breaking News: The Tooth Fairy Apologizes for Disappointing Children
The Netherlands – In a statement released earlier today, the Tooth Fairy apologized to the thousands of children who woke up the past two mornings with their uprooted teeth still under their pillows.
Since Tuesday, a drastic increase in the number of falling teeth has been reported in The Netherlands, sending the Tooth Fairy and his people into tooth containment overdrive.
The dental community is speculating that the increase is due to the recent Easter holiday, and the extra chocolate and jelly beans children in the area have been eating. Some are further speculating there has also been a severe decrease in proper brushing habits, though that had not been confirmed as of press time.
“I sincerely apologize to all of the disappointed children, especially those in North America. I can promise you that in the next 24 hours, you will find a little something extra underneath your pillows,” said the Tooth Fairy at a press conference held this morning at The Hague, where protesters assembled and held signs and chanted, “Take our teeth. Take our teeth.”
“We are working double time to make sure the children of the world are not disappointed,” said a clearly distraught Tooth Fairy, whose wings appeared tattered and stained.
The last time a tooth event of this magnitude occurred was in 1982, when thousands of children in Eastern Europe went 6 days without teeth being collected. That incident is still under investigation.
When I’m done writing, I am quite proud of myself. I read it over and am impressed with my commitment to making things right. When Braedan gets home from school, he reads the story, which I tell him I came across on the Internet while I was reading the day’s news. His reaction is hard to decipher. But he reads every word and then marvels over the Eastern European part. The year 1982. “Wow, 1982. That’s a long time ago, Mom.” He says this as if I had written 1782.
That night we stay up too late watching Walking Dead. Again. I am about to get into bed, when Rich makes some casual and unrelated comment that reminds me of the Tooth Fairy.
I. Am. Totally. Losing. My. Edge.
But I slip the pouch of crystals, a $5 bill and a note under Braedan’s pillow. When he wakes in the morning and finds them under his pillow, he is ecstatic. He takes the crystals out of the pouch and is sorting them on our bed while we are still trying to sleep. He’s telling us about the crystals and reading the note the Tooth Fairy left him. He believes. And all is right with the world.