July 2, 2011

A reminder to keep more cash on hand

  Earlier this week Caleb lost his first tooth. A big deal on many levels around these parts.
Obviously it’s another milestone on his path into big kid land, which he’s this close to entering. But besides all that there’s kind of a ton of hoop la that goes into the teeth losing business.

  First there’s the whole wiggly tooth process. Of which I have no part. None. Nada. The minute I’m approached by a kid saying “look at this” while their mouth is open my eyes instantly seal up tighter than a bank vault to avoid the traumatizing sight of a tooth being pushed around by a tongue. It’s not natural I tell you. So for those days or weeks of trauma they are kindly reminded that Daddy will be home from work soon to check it out. I handled potty training and 10 times as many diaper changes, the tooth situation is ALL ON HIM.

  Then comes the actual tooth removal. Again I’m persona non grata. Did you seriously think I could handle that if I couldn’t even handle the preparation for it? Of course you didn’t. In most cases Jerry is here to handle this as well. And if not, well they need to learn to fend for themselves eventually. I’m close enough though that once it’s out I can swoop in to put the tooth in a bag and help them rinse their mouth out with salt water. When it comes to recovery and clean up, I got this.

 After night falls and bed time arrives is where all the real action happens though. On this night we placed the bagged tooth under Caleb’s pillow and left a small glass of water for the tooth fairy to drink from. Caleb went to sleep and I anxiously waited a few hours to go handle the switcheroo. Plotting and planning the whole time how to do it. Because unlike his older sister who could sleep through anything Caleb is a very light sleeper. And retrieving a tooth that has shifted to an unknown spot under your light-sleeping child's head and replacing it with money is like a high stakes black ops tooth fairy mission. If I mess it up and he wakes then I've shattered his tooth fairy illusions forever from the start. No pressure or anything.

   So I go to make the drop and realize that I’ve only got a $20 in my wallet. And it’s now 10:45, which in small town suburbia means my options for getting change are severely limited. The third gas station I came to was open so I waited in line for the six or so people in front of me to purchase their beer and cigs while trying not to breathe in any of their aromas. Distinctly unpleasant, each and every one of them. While waiting in line I passed time Facebooking away on my phone with tales of my adventures. The ever helpful Kalyn pointed out that Caleb wouldn’t mind getting the $20. And I’m sure he wouldn’t have. There were only three problems with that. 1. The tooth fairy’s gotta budget, yo. 2. Imagine the let down when the second tooth only banks him a buck. 3. Knowing my kids like I do I expect that there would be a sudden outbreak of mass tooth extractions as they pawned in teeth for cash. So the wait for change continued.

  I soon got back home and creeped into his room with some cash and green food coloring. (We place a drop of food coloring in the water so that the kids can see what color fairy came. )  I had to carefully move him in order to get the bagged tooth, ready all the while to implement plan B which involved denial with a side of distraction. I learned that from watching suspects get interviewed on the First 48. If it keeps them outta jail, then surely it can convince a 5 year old that the tooth fairy came and I was just checking on him, right?

 I beat a quick trail out of there and then shared my success amongst the Facebook friends again. Only to have my friend Genna point out how one mistake could have ruined everything for not only Caleb but his sister’s as well. I had already taken that into consideration which was part of all the anxitety. I had also considered that tales of Santa go hand in hand with the TF. When one illusion crumbles the other quickly follows. Maybe I'm making my kids naive but I want them to hold on to their childish dreams for as long as possible. Or until some little punk kid ruins it by spilling the beans on the playground during recess. Luckily all went well and Caleb was a very happy boy when he woke up and the legend of the tooth fairy will live to see another day and another tooth. Until that punk kid comes along. Children of the playground, I’ll be watching you.