On Friday my eight-year-old, the Bear, lost a tooth at school. First time for him that it happened there. He came home proudly displaying his new gap and toting his tooth in a tiny molar-shaped plastic box on a keychain.
Friday evening he goes to bed around 9:30. As is his wont, he refuses to stay in bed. He creeps down the stairs again at 9:45. And then at 9:52, and 10:10, and 10:27, on into infinity. Okay, I’m not quite compulsive enough to log the times, but you get the picture.
By the time the Bear finally stays put, it’s time for a nightcap, an episode of House taped earlier in the week, and then blessed, blessed sleep.
Next morning, the Bear appears bright and early, having slept just over eight hours.
“Mama, the Tooth Fairy didn’t come!”
This could have morphed into a major childhood trauma, except that he’s been deconstructing the Tooth Fairy and all of her colleagues since he was still a preschooler. It started with him questioning how Santa could visit all those kids in a single night. Two springs ago, he decided that the Easter Bunny just had to be a person in a rabbit suit; a week later he announced, “And I know who the person is. It’s Santa!” Last year, he told us that he knew Santa couldn’t logically exist. And with that, of course all the other imaginary dominoes fell, too.
Saturday, same scene, except with adults whose patience has worn wafer-thin. The clock ooches toward 11 p.m. and the Bear still requires a hot water bottle, a drink, cooler pajamas, banishment of bad thoughts. He also informs us that “sleep is boring,” his new mantra.
Sunday morning, I awaken again to an early Bear-alarm: “Mama, the Tooth Fairy still didn’t come!”
It turns out the tooth has been hiding. Instead of lying next to my son’s head or atop his dresser, it’s suspended by its keychain from the neck of a gooseneck lamp, which he and his dad cleverly thought would keep it from getting lost. Since the Tooth Fairy wasn’t informed of this, she didn’t get the visual cue she needed.
Sunday evening, it’s starting to look like we’re trapped in Kafka’s take on parenting, but with a twist: specifically, another tooth that’s so loose it twists. At precisely 9:42 p.m. (by the Bear’s accounting) the tooth finally breaks free. And for whatever reason, once the bleeding stops, the Bear is finally free to sleep.
The Tooth Fairy writes a groveling note on a Post-It, sticks it on the stack of dollars (one for each tooth, plus a buck in interest), makes her deposit, and flies off to the Imaginary Benefactor’s Hall of Shame.
And that’s why the Tooth Fairy is a ditz, a slacker, and an all-round pathetic loser.
Image from I Can Haz Cheezburger?
The real tooth fairy has a smaller brain than the one pictured here.
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