My daughter lost her first tooth! Let’s ignore the fact that my baby is getting so big and grown up that I just can’t stand it. Let’s talk instead about another thing about parenting that “they” never warned us about. Being the tooth fairy is really hard!

The tooth had been really wiggly for about a week. Secretly, I hoped it would fall out it at school because my girl is kind of a whuss. I didn’t want to deal with the hysterics of the “pain” and ohmygod the blood. On the other hand, I really didn’t want to deal with the drama if she lost the tooth (as in “I can’t find it”) or heaven forbid, if she swallowed it. I was a mix of emotions on this one. The problem solved itself. During lunch on Monday all of a sudden the words “Look Mom! My tooth fell out!” spouted from my daughter’s lips.   Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. It popped right out, no pain, no tears, no blood. Just covered in pizza. We put it in a baggie for safe keeping.


Photo: K. Stevenson

As Zoey kept me updated every 5 minutes, “I can’t believe I lost my tooth!” and “I can’t believe the Tooth Fairy is coming to my house tonight!”, I was picturing an easy bed time and an easy tooth fairy switcheroo. Thankfully, the kids we ate lunch with were happy to give us the low-down on the going rate for teeth. Holy crap inflation! In my day, I remember when you got a shiny quarter under your pillow, she said in her crotchety old lady voice. Now, it was looking like five bucks for the first one and a dollar thereafter! I made sure I had cash because slipping my debit card under the pillow just wasn’t going to fly.

At bedtime, Zoey was getting a little excited. We put the tooth in a special tooth fairy pouch and put it under her pillow. Way under her pillow (Big mistake). For an exhausted kid, she took forever to settle down. Honestly, I think the idea of a fairy coming into her room freaked her out a little.   She doesn’t like the idea of Santa coming in our house, so I imagine that the thought of a fairy coming that close to her was making her nervous. I snuggled in bed with her until she fell asleep (yeah, issues). I thought this would work to my advantage for a change. While she drifted off, I would slide my hand under her pillow, grab the pouch, grab the bills that were stuffed in my bra and put them in the pouch. One more move to slip the pouch back under the pillow and voila! I had the perfect plan.

Then, little miss suddenly turned into the world’s lightest sleeper. As I made my move to pull the pouch out, her head popped up. “Mom! What are you doing?” “Um, nothing, just stretching. Go back to sleep.” Crap.

Time for Plan B. I waited until she was asleep and crept out of her room.   I gave her time to get into a deep sleep so she wouldn’t wake up. I sent my husband in to do the job this time. About 2 minutes later, I hear a little voice squeak, “What are you doing in here Daddy?” “Just giving you a kiss good night sweetie.” Seriously? This girl can sleep through dogs barking and the vacuum running, but she wakes up from the breeze of a person entering her room??

Third time’s the charm? Later, I crept in as quietly as I could. I leaned over the bed and tried to make a move towards the pillow…and got totally busted. I fumbled with an excuse “I heard you calling me. You must have called for me in your sleep” and snuggled in bed with her. She was starting to get upset because the tooth fairy hadn’t come yet and she kept waking up. I calmed her down and convinced her to put the pouch more towards the edge of the pillow instead of all the way under. She fell right to sleep.

The next move I made looked like something out of the secret agent’s handbook. I slithered off the bed, trying to avoid the creak of the mattress springs. I laid my head against her back, so she wouldn’t notice I was gone. Then I reached under the pillow to grab the pouch. I sat on the floor and made the transfer: tooth for cash. Finally, I put the goods under the pillow again. Then she woke up! Again! She was crying because the tooth fairy still didn’t come and why didn’t she come Mommy? At this point, I wanted her to get some sleep more than I cared about this tooth fairy crap. I didn’t tell her that there was money under her pillow, just that I was sure that by the time she woke up in the morning (read: daylight) the tooth fairy will have been there. She finally konked out and I snuck out of her room for the last time.

The next day, when I was telling my tale to my father, his only comment was “Yeah, that was nearly impossible when you were growing up too!” Now you tell me. I’m not sure if I have the energy to be the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny all in one week.

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