I did not have a good relationship with her, you see. If I had to define our relationship I would say it was a case of forced labor. I had to become a tooth fairy and not by volition but because everyone did it. I was ushered into it even though I had no desire to perpetuate a concept I did not agree with.
The reasons I did not agree are as follows:
- The price per tooth varies with the household, which is puzzling for little people and downright annoying for big people who believe in fairness (it is almost ironic that the root of fairy and fairness is, well, fair, and the work of the said entity is anything but)
- If you, the designated fairy, happen to forget to operate before you go to bed, and on top of it happen to sleep in and hence do not manage to replace the fallen teeth with money by the time the child wakes up, well, you’ve got some explaining to do or you have to do the kind of sneaking you haven’t done since the days of high school…It is not pretty, or comfortable.
- A big one: why would a child get money for a tooth that falls out? There is no work involved, not the child’s anyway, and if anything, children may be driven face to face with a chilling concept (I will leave it to you to name it due to its potentially offensive nature.) I may be wrong, but somewhere out there a child must have wondered at some point “If my baby tooth is worth X dollars, then what is —- (fill in with random body part) worth?” Just sayin’…
- According to children, the tooth fairy does the following: she walks through the house in the middle of the night, reaches under the child’s pillow, takes the tooth (care to know what her house looks like?) and replaces it with money. Creepy by most people’s standards, you’d agree. After having our home broken into just a couple of weeks ago, the concept of strangers walking through the house is challenging. My boys are perceptive enough to ask point blank: How does she get in, mom? Then what? Asking the questions was only a matter of time.
So you see, for all the above reasons and more, I had to kill her.
The straw that broke the camel’s back (or the fairy’s spell in this case) was Sasha’s “fresh-from-school” question.
“Mom, is it true that the tooth fairy does not give money if the tooth has been pulled out by the dentist?”
That was it. I had no decent answer to it and the cheekiness of an imaginary creature can only go so far. It was me or her.
One had to go and it wasn’t going to be me. Without an ounce of hesitation I blurted out “There is something I have to tell you.”
Pitter-patter, wait for me hurried steps brought a wide-eyed Tony from the bedroom to the living room, which was now becoming the sacrificial tooth fairy arena. With a gaze that meant “I knew it” he gave me his vote of confidence in handling the situation. Talk about feeling like a grownup. Occasionally I act like one too.
“There is no tooth fairy, my love.”
Sasha’s eyes, wide and trustful, built a question mark right there and I could see it trying to stand on wobbly feet and I knew it did not mean “Really?” but rather “Now what?”
So he asked. “Then who is the tooth fairy? You?”
I nodded. Yep. Was he disappointed? Yes, no? A few seconds of no words and deep long gazes waded like fat ducks towards a lake that was to cover the pit of newly disclosed life truths. Not murky, but clear water. You see the bottom if you care to look. Kids do, because they appreciate the full depth of such truth. Mine do.
“I knew it!”
“I knew it too!” Tony peeped in.
Smiles. No disappointment. My explanation: I thought she was unfair. Some kids get paid five or ten dollars per tooth, others don’t have that much worth of food over the course of a day, or week. Here in Kamloops, and everywhere.
Bottom line: I couldn’t stand her ways. She had to go.
A few good pounds lighter, my whole being has been celebrating the event since it happened yesterday.
And if there’s a shadow of unpleasantness associated with this whole story, because there is one, it is this: I almost had my hands on Santa too, but I let him get away.
“Are you Santa too?”
OK, don’t ask. And please don’t say “Oh, but you had it, right there!” It’s true, I did. But I am weak. Or just more attached to him than I was to the tooth fairy; sentimental value is hard to argue with. I need to think and assess. It’s not an easy job. Being a parent, I mean.
Thoughts to share? Please don’t be shy. I just showed you mine.
Disclaimer: I did not ask for the portrait. It was Sasha’s gift. And his way of making peace with it all.