Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Tale of a Tooth or Two

Margaret lost her first tooth the Wednesday before last. When a child has a loose tooth in our house he becomes the focus of all our attention till it comes out. I don't know why I have this--fetish for pulling teeth. I remember my grandfather always hollering, "get the pliers!" if I told him I had a loose tooth. But I don't remember him ever pulling a tooth of mine with pliers.

My children can't say the same, however. Indeed, I might have pulled a tooth--or four--with pliers (needle-nose work best) while holding down the child's arms and head. It sounds frightening (and perhaps the stuff that psychiatric neuroses are made of) but the whole display has resulted in a dancing, happy child with a slightly bloody grin. I try to give them a little extra if I have to fight them for the tooth.

Which brings up the most recent tale of Hadley divulging to Ella & Margaret the secret of the tooth fairy. I don't remember when I found out, but it was undoubtedly after losing a few teeth and discovering a shiny dime beneath my pillow.

So poor Margaret went into her first tooth-under-the-pillow night as an agnostic.

I have had experiences with teeth in the past where I have gone to find a tooth under a pillow and it wasn't there. One time Ella found a tooth I had dropped in the dark, and lamented that she was cheating the tooth fairy because she got the money, but the tooth fairy didn't get the tooth.

This time with Margaret I still tried to keep the magic alive. I went to get her tooth but found she and Ella had locked the door. I couldn't find the key and it was late, so I told myself I'd get the tooth in the morning. I accidentally slept in and woke up to hear quiet murmurs from the girls room about teeth and fairies. I tore down the stairs and rooted around in my purse.

One dollar.

Surely a First Tooth needs at least five...especially when a child is standing on the precipice of doubt. So I went into Rose's purse and pulled out four more dollars.

I folded them up and shoved them under the locked door. About twenty minutes later I heard Ella shout, "Margaret! The money's under the door!!" Apparently they were trying to see if the tooth fairy was able to get through locked doors...and discovered she was not.

Anyway, Fr Mark woke up a little later and, thinking I had forgotten the money for the tooth, shoved a ten dollar bill under her tooth-holder. He mentioned to me that I had forgotten to give Margaret the tooth-money (because of course nothing important goes on when he's not awake). When I told him I had already paid her, his eyes grew wide, "I just gave her ten more dollars!! Run go get it before she finds it!!"

I am a fast runner when it involves cash.