How old is the tooth fairy?

This is an old post, and one of my favorite stories. It is also the most popular of my blog entries. So I thought I would throw it back out there for another spin. Enjoy!

The tooth was loose.

This is my brother’s child’s first loose tooth, my nephew.  He fell at school and knocked it loose.  The idea was to let the tooth fall out by itself but it was just hanging there, and my nephew, 4 ½, couldn’t eat his dinner because the tooth is in the way and is annoying him and the tantrum to get it out begins.

It falls to my brother to get it out.  He washes his hands and stands above his son and tells him to open his mouth, puts his finger against the tooth and it wiggles like a bobble head.  My brother’s hand exits the mouth as quick as lightning and he gags a bit in reaction to wiggling his sons tooth. This might require a little more finesse.

My brother calls our mother on Skype.  She, a veteran in the dental field, tells him how to extract the tooth.  Get a paper towel, take a strong hold of the tooth, wiggle it back and forth and just pull.  It’s only holding on by one little nerve.  Our mother says she’ll be supportive and stay on Skype and watch as my brother extracts the tooth.

My nephew begins to scream when the paper toweled covered hand takes hold of the tooth, and my brother gags again.  A comment along the lines of, ‘I can’t fly to Denver every time you have problems like this.’ comes across the computer as our mother watches this scene unfold.  After ten minutes of hysteria on both father and son’s part, the tooth is still in place and my brother hangs up on Skype.

(This is the same brother who wants his child to play hockey.  If he can’t get this little tooth out now, we wonder, what is he going to do when the kid has a bloody mouth and a tooth knocked out on the ice?)

The next 30 minutes are traumatic for both child and father.  But somehow, they finally figure it out and a picture of the extracted tooth is proudly sent via cell phone to our mother.

“So now I get to meet the tooth fairy, huh daddy?” My nephew excitedly asks his father.

“Oh yeah.  That’s right.”  My brother answers.

As mentioned previously, we have a mother who has worked in the dental field our whole life.  So when it came to the tooth fairy, our lore of her was quiet extensive.  Letters appeared under our pillow with tiny glitter foot prints, we didn’t just get money, we got necklaces, letters about where our teeth were going, gift certificates. It was intense, our relationship with the tooth fairy.

Have you ever found a moment in your life when you wish you had paid better attention to information you were given as a child? This was one of those moments for my brother.

Its bed time for my nephew and he and my brother take the tooth and put it in a baggie and place the baggie under the pillow.

“What do you think will happen?”  My nephew asks.

“The tooth fairy will come and take the tooth and give you money for it.”  My brother later admits that this is all he really knows about the tooth fairy.

“What does she look like?”  My nephew asks.

“She’s small.”

“How small?”

My brother looks around the room for a point of reference and finds a small bouncy ball, “about the size of that ball.”

“Does she have a little boy who flies with her?” My nephew askes.

“No, it’s just her.”

“Does she wear a skirt?”

“Yes.” My brother answered.

“What do her wings look like?”

“Remember that moth we saw that one time, her wings are like that.”  As my brother began the explanation, he realized he should have said her wings are transparent and sparkly.

“Is she mean?”

“No, she’s nice.”

“How does she carry the tooth?”

“She has a little back pack she puts it in.”

“What color is the backpack?”

“Brown.”

“What color are her eyes?”

“I think they are blue.”  My brother was trying to stop the rapid fire questions that were getting more and more detailed and hoping as he rattled off the answers that he would be able to remember them if asked to verify what he’d said.

“Time for bed buddy.”  He tried, but it didn’t work.  The tooth fairy was coming tonight and my nephew had to know who this woman was that was going to creep into his room.

“Does she have a wand?”

“Yes.”

“Does she turn the light on?”

“No.”

“How does she see in the dark?”

“She has a very tiny flashlight.”

“Where does she take the tooth?”

“Back to her house.”

“What does she do with it?”

“I don’t know, son, she puts it in a pile in her back yard.” The exhastion was beginning to sink in for my brother.

“Why?”

“I’m not sure.  Time for bed buddy.”

“Daddy, how old is the tooth fairy?”

A very traumatized daddy answers, “I’m not sure son, she’s 56 or 58.”

At that, my brother called an end to the nights questioning, kissed his son goodnight and almost ran from the room to tell his wife what he had just gone through so they could get the note from the Tooth Fairy ready.  Only my brother’s wife is asleep and he doesn’t want to bother her.

So the Tooth Fairy thing continues to be his burden this night.

He can’t write a note, his handwriting skills never progressed beyond that of a messy doctor. He goes through what he thinks is the craft drawer to look for glitter and can’t find anything, so in a moment of brilliance, he gets out his wife’s make up and finds the most sparkling eye shadow and begins to wipe it all over the quarters he has set aside for the prize.  It isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done, with a handful of purple, green, pink and blue quarters, my brother sneaks in and does the transfer.

An hour later an excited nephew wakes up and comes yelling for his dad, can they check under the pillow and see if the tooth is still there.  Together they remove the baggie and my nephew is excited by the coins.  He points out that they are all different colors and asks if they can put the coins in his piggy bank.

“Daddy, do I get to spend the money?”

“Yeah, it’s your money.”

Satisfied, my nephew gets back in his bed and goes to sleep, dreaming of a small woman who wears a skirt, has a wand and a brown backpack, blue eyes, the wings of a moth, and is about 56 or 58.

(Final Note:  My mother made a Tooth Fairy pillow the very next day and put it, along with a very large supply of glitter and a gift certificate from the Tooth Fairy in the mail to my brother. Subsequently, she has made said sets for every child she knows, just in case.)

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