Emma at age 6 with her first lost tooth
I’m going to go ahead and spoil it for you—*I* am the Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy.
I play Santa with the best of them—cookies, carrots, different wrapping paper, the whole bit. I am a great Easter Bunny. Baskets and presents with chocolate and candy all wrapped up on Sunday morning. I even enjoy being Ellie our Elf. But the Tooth Fairy? I am an epic fail.
First off, my kids knew about the real identity of all of these characters by the time they lost their first tooth so my first fail is I didn’t even give them a chance to believe—even once—that a fairy with a wand was taking their teeth and leaving them money.
But even so, I played the part—or at least tried. But goodness, I am Totally Terrible.
The problem is two-fold.
One, I never have cash. Why have cash when your debit card is so much smaller and faster and documents all your spending for you? I don’t know. Maybe so you can be a more effective tooth fairy, that’s why.
Two, I cannot remember to do anything unless it’s in my phone. I have reminders for the trash, for the dentist, for the doctor, for the library and yes, to be the tooth fairy. But you have to remember to put in the reminder—and sometimes I fail at even that.
So, I have been known to leave a stack of quarters under their pillows.
I have been known to steal cash out of THEIR OWN WALLETS and stick it under their pillows in hopes that they don’t count ALL their money until I have a chance to replace it.
I have been known to forget for THREE NIGHTS to be the Tooth Fairy. Emma will not let me live that down and every single time someone loses a tooth, Emma’s all, “One time the Tooth Fairy forgot for THREE DAYS.” She says it with conviction and wide, round eyes directed right at me. Hmph.
All of this is known when Lexi loses a tooth last week at the Frozen premiere. She’s chomping away on popcorn and Reese’s pieces and leans over with a tooth in her hand, “My tooth! I lost a tooth!” The three of us run to the bathroom and rinse out her mouth and wrap up the tooth in paper towels. I stick it in my jacket pocket and all the anxiety starts about BEING THE TOOTH FAIRY. Remember, remember, remember,.
We do manage to remember to get the tooth out of my jacket and under her pillow that night. The next morning as we’re getting ready for school, I realize that yes, once again I have become the Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy and forgotten my duties.
So, the kids are milling around the living room and I remember I actually have a few dollars in my purse. I can still pull this off! So I slink over to my purse, slowly reach into my open wallet and sneak out a dollar bill. I don’t even look as to not draw attention to myself. I walk back to Lexi’s room, steal away her tooth wrapped in paper towels and tada! I have managed to pull this off.
I walk back in the kitchen, situate myself by leaning on the counter and as if it has just occurred to me and say, “Lexi! Have you checked to see if the Tooth Fairy came last night?”
She jumps up and says, “No!!” She runs back to her room and rummages around and I hear her starting to skip down the hall. “I got a Lincoln! Fiiivve dollars!” She skips into the living room and I’m thinking $5? How did she get $5?
“Really?! The Tooth Fairy gave you $5??” I am truly surprised because what did I do?? I suddenly remember a sole $5 I had and of course that is the one I silently snuck out of my wallet. *sigh* “Wow, that was really something!” And truly, The Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy, that was.
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.
Emma lost her very last tooth on Monday. It’s been wiggly for weeks, but she will leave a loose tooth in there until it literally falls out on its own. She had an orthodontist appointment on Monday and they pulled it out for her.
Even though I’ve made a Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy, it was sad to see the end of that era come for her. It made me think of how she got her very first tooth at 4 months and all the times she cried getting in those molars and the time she threw a basketball at the wall in PE and it came back, hit her in the mouth and knocked out 3 loose teeth at once in 1st grade. (It’s ok to laugh, I do). And yes, I thought of that one time I forgot being the tooth fairy for THREE DAYS.
So, Emma puts her tooth under her pillow on Monday night and explains she wants Ellie our Elf to deliver the money for The Tooth Fairy. That’s perfect, that’s one less night I have to figure out how to be Ellie the Elf. And ya’ll, we remembered! Ellie was propped up on the pillow beside Emma, dutifully holding a few dollars—since it IS her last tooth.
I wake Emma up early Tuesday because I’m so proud we remembered. “Emma! Look! Ellie delivered your tooth money!” She wakes up with a big smile on her face. She’s always known Ellie and the Tooth Fairy are us but she still delights in it. I wistfully think of all those moments again and get a little sad we’re saying goodbye to this dance.
But I did it—I remembered the very last time and I’m going out on a high note. Maybe I’m not such a Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy after all!
A few minutes later, when I’m still internally patting myself on the back, we’re in the living room getting ready for school and Emma says, “Mommy, why did the Tooth Fairy leave my tooth under my pillow??”
So close, y’all. The Totally Terrible Tooth Fairy, indeed.