Supermom Needs a Nap is a WIP and the follow-up to Supermom Breaks a Nail
(available at amazon.com)
I used to adore the Tooth Fairy. Used to.
Like any other self-absorbed child fixated with how much stuff I could get for the least amount of effort, I worshipped all forms of mythical-gift-giving creatures in my youth. I believed in them long after I knew they were made up because I liked the idea they existed – and brought me stuff. I clung to Santa Claus after recognizing that Santa’s handwriting was the same as my mother’s and that a spot of gin doesn’t settle “milk and cookies tummy.” I let Santa live on because he seemed like a really fun guy and he left me stuff even when I filled my parents car with orange juice.
The Easter Bunny made absolutely no sense religiously or practically but why not? A 6-foot rabbit that steals the boiled chicken eggs I dyed to drop in the yard? I accept – he brought chocolate; I would let a known felon into my house if they brought me chocolate.
Gold-producing leprechauns, weather-predicting groundhogs and small, flying, naked cherubs shooting people with heart arrows? Sure, they made life more colorful – and brought me stuff.
Out of all of them, The Tooth Fairy was my favorite. She shouldn’t have been, her description is basically the plot to a Stephen King children’s story: an unknown, fluttering, miniature woman will break into your bedroom, and take a little piece of you that you have hidden back to her Calcium Castle in the sky. This should strike fear into our impressionable, child hearts but no; instead we jeopardizes our grandmother’s silver by unlocking all windows for the Tooth Fairy to have easier access to us (and totally makes me think Stephen King really should write children’s stories.)
When I was a little girl, the Tooth Fairy was my main source of income. Using my body to make money became something my mother eventually tried to discourage but when I was young, it was a sure way to get some quick cash. My desire to have my teeth collected and placed in the Calcium Castle became an obsession of mine – to the point of losing my objectivity. My father once asked me to get something off his dresser. As I was retrieving this item, I noticed his open dresser valet. Looking inside, I saw something I couldn’t explain: a bunch of little teeth. My world began to crumble around me – why did my father have my baby teeth and what could this mean? I grabbed a bicuspid and marched to the living room in all my 7-year-old indignation.
“Why do you have our baby teeth?” I demanded to know.
My father looked nervously at my mother who steadfastly studied her cup of coffee.
My dad folded his newspaper, set it down and calmly said, “Those aren’t your teeth.”
Having not considered that, I looked at my father, slightly confused.
He continued, “Those are some other children’s teeth. Yours, of course, were taken by the Tooth Fairy.”
To that I breathed a sigh of relief because somehow the fact that my father had buried children in our backyard and kept their teeth as keepsakes in his dresser was preferable to my canine not making it to the Calcium Castle.
So you can just imagine exactly how excited I was to invite that little sprite into my home once I became a parent.
Logan lost his first tooth fairly young, younger than any of his friends. I assume it was due to the weird force that surrounds Logan and causes illogical things to happen to him. Because he lost it so early, we hadn’t yet hyped the Tooth Fairy so he wasn’t completely aware of what was going on but Nate and I were very excited, which is generally all Logan needs. We sprinkled the day with healthy doses of Tooth Fairy propaganda; Logan and Tabby were both so excited by the time that evening came about, you would think we spiked their milk with meth, which I am pretty sure we didn’t.
Nate and I sat in bed giggling like newlyweds minus the sex but plus sports section. Finally the kids fell asleep and we snuck into Logan’s room, retrieved the elaborately decorated envelope under his pillow, replaced the tooth with a quarter (seriously, no one else had lost a tooth, what would he know?) and slipped the envelope back under the pillow seamlessly. Walking out of the room, Nate and I high-fived – clearly we were Tooth Fairy savants. Our tooth-retrieving prowess continued with each subsequent incisor; we were unstoppable and becoming something of a legend in our circles.
Gradually, others in Logan’s social camp began losing teeth. Nate and I, heady with hubris, laughed off their parents’ tales of foibles by patronizingly telling them, “don’t worry, you’ll get it.”
Until the day my nicest friend, Laine, threw down the gauntlet.
Fern, her daughter, walked out of her room out holding a very glittery dollar bill.
“What do you have there, Fern?” I asked
Fern replied, “It’s from the Tooth Fairy.”
“Oh, how exciting. What’s with all the glitter?”
“It’s Tooth Fairy dust,” she answered
“Sorry?” I asked, suddenly sitting up straight.
Fern said matter-of-factly, “You know, the fairy dust the Tooth Fairy uses to fly around? Sometimes it gets in the envelope too.”
I looked to Laine, who was grinning, possibly victoriously.
Tooth Fairy dust? I’ll be damned if someone is going to take the Tooth Fairy crown from me. Screw the friendship, I owned the Tooth Fairy!
I impatiently waited for one of the kid’s to drop a molar. I may have tried to rattle one loose by serving week old bread and “accidently” bumping into them when the walked next to a wall. Finally Tabby lost her second tooth. Nate and I camped out in front of Tabby’s door until we heard the weight of Tabby’s breath change from restful to slumber before we moved in, supplies in hand. I grabbed the envelope with my cat-like abilities while Nate began to sprinkle glitter on the windowsill by her desk.
“What are you doing?” I whispered.
“The fairy dust.” He whispered back.
“Why over there?” I asked.
“Because of the Southern Exposure.”
“The Southern Exposure?” I whispered… emphatically.
“The wind current would be less on this side so her landing would be gentler.” He elaborated.
“She has fairy dust, she doesn’t need to worry about wind current. She would enter through this one above her bed: efficiency.”
“I don’t think she would enter from that high a window. What if there was something on the sill and she knocked it off, hitting the person sleeping?”
“But she’s the Tooth Fairy, she doesn’t knock things over. She’s all lithe and stuff.”
“Is that a given? Are all fairies super coordinated? Do none of them run into walls or roll their landings?” Nate asked sprinkling glitter in large swopping motions over the desk.
“What the hell kind of flight pattern is that? Is she drunk? Just sprinkle it in a line, Nate.”
“This is her first time in Tabbs’ room. I think she is interested in the kind of kid Tabbs is. Like what does she read? What things does she keep out to play with?” He whispered.
“Have you been thinking about this all day?”
“No. Maybe a little during the staff meeting… and I possibly jotted down a few notes at lunch.”
Jotted down a few notes?
“Don’t look at me like that,” he said. “You introduced the glitter, it has to be done right.”
“This is her second time in Tabby’s room.”
Nate’s confident veneer cracked momentarily but he quickly recovered. “Maybe there was a rush of teeth loss the last time and she didn’t have the time to look around properly the first time.” He whispered triumphantly, purposefully shaking another pound of glitter out of the jar. When the desk and bookshelf were sufficiently dusted, I held my hand out.
“What?” Nate asked, clutching the glitter to his chest.
“I need it for the bed.”
“What? Oh – should I do it?” He asked.
“Should you do it? I have been glittering for decades, give me the fairy dust!”
I had to force it from his hand. I did a nice thick line from the foot of the bed to her pillow, putting a few shakes in the envelope and then a few shakes in Tabby’s curls.
“Why are you wasting it?” Nate asked trying to grab it away.
“Because look at her; the Tooth Fairy would want to gaze at that beautiful little face for a moment.” When Nate turned his head, I shook glitter on the sill above the bed.
By the time we were through, it looked like the aftermath of an explosion in a disco ball factory.
Who’s the most fabulous Tooth Fairy now? Or should I say, still?
Eventually we all learned that it’s hard to keep up on your Tooth Fairy game – kids have a lot of teeth; there seems to be an endless stream of teeth to be lost from their freakishly calcified gums. And the little sharks keep adding variables to the equations, like writing letters with questions for the Tooth Fairy to answer or hiding the tooth in alternate locations so the Thieving Tooth Fairies didn’t find them. Or the stupid dog wants in on the action; one particular night Fluffy, followed me into Logan’s room, unbeknownst to me, and jumped up excitedly, waking Logan. I dove under his desk and prayed he’d stopped sleeping with his soccer cleat next to his bed to beat monsters.
Still, she didn’t deserve to die. It was a moment of weakness during a bad week. The kids both lost a tooth on the same day, which I am not entirely sure was not the same tooth just passed between the two in order to pool profits to save up for a lawn mower (I don’t know – they’re children, that’s why.) I had had one of my usual battles with a pile of laundry that refused to disappear on its own and Nate was late for a dinner I had actually gone to the trouble of cooking. The children, instead of cleaning their rooms as they had said they were, had apparently opened a wall to another dimension and found more stuff to throw on their floors (again, I don’t know – they’re children.) Attempting to walk through Tabby’s room, I sprang my toe on a not-so-dreamy Barbie house and in Logan’s room the shoe landmine field that made up his floor toppled me. Rubbing my possibly broken knee, I noted the gossamer wings attached to a paper mobile his godfather had given him. In a moment of despair, I ripped the wing off, shoved it under a book, dumped the glitter in a gunshot pattern on the floor and told the children the next morning they had killed the Tooth Fairy with their messy rooms. I even made them write a note of apology to the rest of the children in the world that supposedly I sent in to the Times. Okay, maybe it was a little funny. I realize I will need to keep writing every day for the rest of my life to pay for their therapy but that has not stopped me from tearing off some red velvet from an old robe and dipping it in catsup for the day Santa pisses me off too.