Tater Tot is losing teeth faster than the Tooth Fairy can keep up. I mean, let's face it. The Tooth Fairy and her somewhat faithful assistant are old. I can say with all certainty that the Tooth Fairy has trouble with her remembery.
A week ago last Friday, David went to Tater Tot's school to have lunch with him. Tater Tot had spent much of the night before showing us just how loose his tooth was by moving it back and forth with his tongue, a gesture that brings out all of my squeamishness. (I hate the thought of loose teeth. I think it's because of the recurring dream I have in which all of my teeth fall out at the same time.)
Where was I?
Oh, yes. (I wasn't kidding about the bad remembery thing.) Well, right there in the middle of lunch for all the senior kindergarteners to see, Tater Tot's little tooth popped right out. I think he was a rock star for the rest of the day, what with having a slightly bloody mouth, a hole right where you can see it any time he smiles, and the promise of the Tooth Fairy's visit. Not only that, apparently he's leading his class in the number of teeth lost so far. Who knew there was a lost tooth leader board? Tater Tot told us before going to bed that sure this had to be one of the greatest days of his life.
I can't remember what happened that night, but we got busy doing something right around bedtime and all of us forgot to take the tooth out of Tater Tot's backpack. When he realized his missed opportunity the next day he said, "Well, the Tooth Fairy doesn't come unless the tooth is actually under the pillow, so I'll just leave it for her tonight." Later that night, we watched as he put the tooth in its little baggie carefully under his pillow and went to sleep with a snaggly-toothed smile on his face.
And then both of us left his room and promptly forgot all about donning our fairy costumes and returning to finish the job.
When we got up the next morning, Tater Tot sighed and said, "The Tooth Fairy didn't come," and I felt all the blood draining to my feet. It was early. I hadn't had coffee yet. I stood there, kind of stunned and speechless as my old brain tried to concoct some story that a six year old might buy.
But then he glanced down and said, "I know why she didn't come. My bag with my tooth fell onto the floor in the night, so the Tooth Fairy probably thought I forgot to put it under my pillow."
Bless that child.
Bedtime rolled around again, and again the tooth was placed under the pillow. And for the second night in a row, the Tooth Fairy's remembery failed.
The next morning was Monday, so I got up at the usual time and went through all of my normal morning routines. Small Fry woke up on his own and wandered into the den to watch Mickey Mouse. I started into Tater Tot's room to wake him up and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Pure panic set in.
I dashed out of his room and nearly knocked David down on my way to grab a dollar out of my purse. We had a whispered exchange that went something like this:
"What in the world is wrong with you, woman?"
"Ssssssshhhhhhhh! The Tooth Fairy forgot AGAIN! I'm trying to get back in there with some money before he wakes up!"
"Oh, hell. We're unfit."
"Tell me something I don't already know. Where's my purse?"
I grabbed the least tattered dollar bill I could find and David and I started for Tater Tot's room with David whispering instructions for me to go to the far side of the bed so that Tater Tot's head was turned from me. He even gave me a little nudge when we got in his room, but then we realized that Tater Tot had turned over and was facing the side of the room I was being pushed toward.
"Oh, no! Give it to me!" David whispered, and he slid the money under the pillow just as Tater Tot yawned and opened his eyes.
There we were...David on one side of his bed and me on the other, and both of us standing there wide-eyed and breathless. This is not how Tater Tot usually wakes up.
"Hey, Mama. Hey, Daddy. What are you doing in here?" a groggy and somewhat surprised Tater Tot asked.
"Well, Daddy and I are soooooo anxious to see if the Tooth Fairy came that we wanted to come wake you up! Why don't you check under that pillow?!"
He hopped up, felt around under his pillow, and did his little happy dance once his hand found the much awaited and nearly missed treasure. David and I did our own happy dance at having escaped being put in the hot seat.
As the boys were getting dressed for school, I staggered into the kitchen to turn the coffee pot on and glanced at the clock. It was 6:58, and this poor old tooth fairy was already exhausted.
Tater Tot came bounding into the room a few minutes later, waving his dollar around and singing, "Oh, mamaaaaaaa? Guess whaaaaaat? I think I have another tooth that is loose!"
Poor old, tired Tooth Fairy.