When Margaret was just over two and Cole was still small enough to fit in the baby bjorn (which was a short period of time, since he was born 8 lbs. 10 oz. and got heavy fast) we went on a family outing to Marshall’s. I can’t remember exactly what we were looking for, but we decided I’d carry Cole in the bjorn and Matt would carry Mags in our frame pack, so we didn’t have to bring the stroller on the bus. If you bring the stroller on the bus, you must take your child out and fold it up, a pain, but something I’ve done many, many times since. So we were trying to simplify traveling in this city with two kids, it was new to us . . .and for a while after Cole joined the fam everything felt harder than twice as hard. We both agreed our parenting efforts required an exponential amount more energy. It doesn’t make mathematical sense, but I imagine many parents could verify this phenomenon.

Anyway, back to shopping at Marshall’s. Matt took the pack off and sat it on its kickstand on the floor so we could have a look at some pillows or comforters that were no doubt an amazing deal for a designer brand. We asked Margaret if she wanted to get out of the backpack, but she chose to stay in. We turned around and less than 10 seconds later heard a bang, “Waaaaaa!” There Margaret lay, face down on the cold commercial tile, strapped into the backpack. We picked her up, and I started to freak a little because her beautiful little face was covered in blood. Matt investigated further and found the blood was coming from her mouth. He reached in to pull her front tooth forward out of its now pointing straight back position and it popped right out.

After some startled Marshall’s employees bustled around to clean up the floor and let us in to their secret employee bathroom where I cried a few big tears for the loss of Margaret’s most gorgeous beautiful smile. We pulled it together and found out what we needed to know. The next day we visited a pediatric dentist who told us it was a good clean pop-out, no damage had been done to the other front teeth, and she’d get her new tooth eventually, possibly a couple of years later than normal; we went on our way. Because the tooth fairy felt bad about this happening so early, and a wee bit responsible, though I told him over and over that sometimes accidents just happen, Margaret was given a dollar and a bag of Skittles.

Now Margaret is five years old. Last week her first loose tooth fell right out at school while the librarian read them a story, without any help from commercial tile. When I went to pick her up she skipped across the school yard and grinned a new less toothy smile. I got every detail and some, “I told you so’s,” in response to my requests from the past several days for her to let me yank it out. She had insisted that she wanted to wait and let it fall out on its own. Well, it finally did, though I do take some responsibility because I kept packing apples in her lunch box. The rest of that afternoon she intermittently brought up how excited she was for bedtime and wondered out loud if she’d get something besides money from the tooth fairy. I told her I bet it would only be money, since the last time was an accident and it came out early that was “special”. Margaret asked if she could leave a note under her pillow, to let the tooth fairy know that she would love it if he could bring something extra, ya’ know, more than just money. I told her the tooth fairy doesn’t stop and read notes and she better just be grateful and not ask for extra or the tooth fairy might think she was spoiled. That didn’t scare her, she replied, “I wouldn’t be sad if he doesn’t; I just want to let him know.” Well I continued to discourage the note writing and got in touch with the tooth fairy right away. Since Margaret is the oldest and this is the first official tooth falling out I wanted to let him know he would now be setting a precedent, so bring a couple of quarters, please, and nothing else, especially not candy. However I think the tooth fairy may have been in touch with someone else. Someone with a little more clout than me.

That night Margaret’s prayer went like this:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We’re thankful for this day. Thankful that my tooth came out today and that it was such a nice day.

Please bless Daddy to get home safe and bless the tooth fairy to get here safely.

I hope Mom’s foot gets better and that Cole and I sleep well.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

She didn’t make special requests for extra treats in that prayer, but maybe her asking for his safetly softened him up, because the next morning there Margaret stood by my bed, whispering excitedly in the dark, “The tooth fairy left me THREE GOLD DOLLARS!” I smiled to her, then rolled over and kicked the tooth fairy as I did the math, “$3 x 20 teeth x 3 kids = More than I want the tooth fairy to bring.”

Oh well, my foot is feeling better too, so I guess prayers from pure-hearted, enthusiastic five-year-olds get results.

September 27, 2008

Heather H.

Emerita

19 Comments

  1. Shelah

    September 26, 2008

    We’ve had a long-standing (well, twelve teeth long) tradition of having the tooth fairy bring a dollar. Last time my 6yo lost a tooth, the tooth fairy got held up in traffic and didn’t make it to our house. The next night, feeling guilty, the fairy left five bucks. You can bet that the fairy and I exchanged words over the new precedent. Because if we’re only 13 teeth down, that means we still have 67 to go.

  2. Jessica

    September 26, 2008

    At least the tooth fairy remembered. Ours has “forgot” on more than one occasion…

    Unlike Shelah however, he only left a silver dollar the next night anyways. I think he’s trying to eradicate his existence along with Santa and the Easter Bunny.

  3. Jennie

    September 26, 2008

    My husband was so excited when my oldest daughter’s tooth fell out that he left five dollars, a set of pens and a bunch of toys. I was completely irate, and asked him if he’d thought trough the financial implications of all those teeth x all those kids. We explained to my daughter that it was a special “first tooth” bonus.

    Now the tooth fairy leaves a gold dollar and a foreign coin (from the last place she visited, of course). We usually find the foreign country on the globe the next day and have a little discussion about what language is spoken there, if they’ve eaten food from that country, etc. (You can get random lots of foreign coins on ebay for pretty cheap.)

  4. Angela

    September 26, 2008

    Now that I have four kids, the tooth fairy is a little, well, forgetful. It’s terrible of her. So she has set a precedent that if the tooth fairy forgets, she is so guilt-ridden that she’ll double the money the next day. There have been a handful of times over the last couple of years that the tooth fairy has left two dollars instead of one, and just last month the tooth fairy had to leave my poor, disillusioned 2nd grader FOUR dollars after getting help up in traffic two nights in a row. I tell ya, we have the worst tooth fairy in our house!

    The funniest one, though, was my now 12 year old son. He lost one of those gigantic molars a few months back and the tooth fairy, well, didn’t show up. I figure you’re old enough to pass the sacrament, no tooth fairy. But every once in a while, he likes to remind me that, according to the “double your money” plan, the tooth fairy now owes him about five hundred million dollars.

  5. Kerry

    September 26, 2008

    My son loves to thank Jesus for his superpowers.

  6. Heather H.

    September 26, 2008

    Jennie, I love that idea. I think I’ll leave a note or say a prayer about it for the next tooth.

    Eradicating the tooth fairy’s existence . . .cranky. :-)A friend of mine already explained to her three year old about Santa Claus. She said she just wants her daughter to trust her so when the daughter asked, she told her the truth. I’m down with that, to each his own. The only bummer is that three-year-olds cannot keep secrets, no matter how hard they try, so do we just not hang around this family around the holidays so they don’t give it away? 🙂 I enjoy keeping the myth alive and seeing the looks of sheer joy that come from belief in the magic of it all.

    What do you see as the pros and cons of these societal myths? Any thoughts?

  7. Heather H.

    September 26, 2008

    Thanks for sharing Kerry. I want some superpowers!

  8. Jennifer B.

    September 26, 2008

    Cute story. Plus, I am so glad that our house is not the only one where the tooth fairy came late. What a relief!

  9. eljee

    September 26, 2008

    One night our son was visited by TWO tooth fairies. Or maybe she just forgot and came twice? Ds was thrilled to see how much money he hauled in that time, and dh and I felt completely chagrined that we had not coordinated our efforts better. (When you’re trying to be sneaky and not get caught, you don’t spend extra time checking to make sure the tooth fairy has not already been there!)

  10. Cecily

    September 26, 2008

    I firmly believed in Santa Claus until 4th grade, when my oldest sister, under instructions from Mom and Dad, told me about the Santa Club we had at our house–that we each got to be Santa for a younger sibling. I confess to being blown away. I remember fiercely defending Santa the last day of school before Christmas vacation. I wasn’t distraught or mentally damaged by my belief (and my parents had tried to help me out of it before resorting to my oldest sister). I really liked the idea of St. Nick’s goodness.

    We haven’t had to deal with the question of tooth fairies, yet. But I have to agree with Heather H. that I love looking at the magic and awe on little faces when they look inside Easter eggs and Christmas stockings.

  11. Moddy

    September 26, 2008

    The tooth fairy no longer comes to our house. After forgetting once (we explained that mommy & daddy had stayed up late wo we probably scared her away) we made a bargin with PJ. If the tooth fairy comes she’ll only leave a buck, but if mom & dad buy if from him he gets $1.50. It is so worth the extra $.50 to not have to rememeber to put the $1 under his pillow. And PJ loves to get “paper” dollars, instead of the quarters that the tooth fairy leaves.

  12. dalene

    September 26, 2008

    What a sweet prayer! (Sweet post, too.)

    I love to hear kids pray for other people. My youngest has been praying for Stephanie and Christian (when he can remember how to say his name) and “The Hurricane People.”

  13. tonya

    September 26, 2008

    The tooth fairy is long gone from our house now, but our kids came to know that he/she didn’t work on Saturday or Sunday nights. For some reason those were the nights we forgot the most, so we just said they needed a weekend off too.

    I love childhood prayers. I have kept a prayer journal from the times my kids were young and wrote down cute things that they said. It is a priceless book now that they are older. My favorite was when Pres. Hunter was called and my daughter prayed for him “to be a good Hunter.”

  14. Dalene

    September 26, 2008

    Tonya–I love that you kept a prayer journal–that is priceless!

  15. kadusey

    September 26, 2008

    The tooth fairy left me money when I got 10 teeth pulled at age 12 so my adult teeth could come in and get braces on them, even though I didn’t leave them under my pillow.

    She left money again after my wisdom teeth got pulled out when I was 21, I think because she felt badly about the dentist having to stop and do x-rays halfway through (also it was right before Halloween and I didn’t get to sneak any candy).

    I’ve always been grateful for such a compassionate tooth fairy who tried to cheer me up. Her efforts succeeded. Hopefully the tooth fairy for my children will do as good of a job as mine did.

  16. Kathy P

    September 26, 2008

    The faith of little children is amazing. Our tooth fairy is slightly forgetful. IF she remembers to snatch the tooth, she never remembers how much to leave. I love this story.

  17. Les

    September 26, 2008

    tooth fairy inflation is a serious risk…
    I love those honest prayers- yesterday we got- “please bless me to stop stealing the treats for moms cupcake class and bless brother to stop going to the school nurse.”

  18. Lori Joffs

    September 26, 2008

    Abby (10) just lost her I don’t know what tooth. When she lost it she remembered she had also lost one in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and was not reimbursed. The tooth fairy at our house is getting slower and slower. It took four days before the tooth fairy finally remembered. She wasn’t very traditional when she did come, while Abby was at school. Sometimes the tooth fairy just has to take care of it when she remembers or it may never happen. Good thing we haven’t set the more money every night deal at our house.

  19. SingleSpeed

    September 27, 2008

    i think it’s interesting that some here picture the tooth fairy as a male and some as a female. She was always a woman in my mind… I was unaware that some people might consider the tooth fairy to be male.

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