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.