My almost 10 year old lost a tooth the other night. Before bed he was complaining that his very wiggly tooth was bleeding and bothering him. “So yank that sucker out,” I offered my gentle advice. So he did.
He found a yellow plastic tooth from the dentist to keep his baby tooth safe and hid it under his pillow in hopes the Tooth Fairy will find it and leave a monetary gift. He has been saving for a gaming console so needless to say he was pumped.
After tucking him in I asked my husband if he had any cash. Nope. I only had a 2 dollar bill. A $2 bill that had been sent in a birthday card to my 5 year old by his great aunt, and that I had taken from him when he wanted to buy a toy at Target. It’ll have to do. I’m not sure how well other parents have been doing with this Tooth Fairy thing in this day and age of cash apps, but I rarely have cash on me. I usually end up in a mini panic attack about how I’m going to pull off being the Tooth Fairy to keep our children’s innocent love of a make-believe world alive and well for as long as possible.
But this time I failed. I was tired and did not feel like walking out to the garage a whole 20 feet away to get my wallet out of my car before I went to bed. No big deal because I usually wake up early enough to sneak that money under his pillow. This particular morning he woke up before 6am, however, and instantly became upset that there wasn’t any money under his pillow.
“Oh man. Did that darn Tooth Fairy forget again?” I tried to play it cool. And yep, I said again. This has happened before. That resulted in the Tooth Fairy (aka my husband) writing an apology letter explaining that she was just too busy to get to his tooth and leaving him a larger than normal amount of cash. “Well, it is still early, maybe she’s just running late. Go back to sleep.” He rolled over and closed his eyes.
I waited awhile to ensure he was sleeping soundly, slipped out into the garage, grabbed my $2, and crept back into his room. He didn’t move when his floor creaked under my weight. Perfect, I thought. I got this.
Let me quickly paint a picture of what his bed looks like for you first. He sleeps in a loft, the upper half of a bunk bed my uncle made for my cousins in the early 80’s. His guinea pigs are in a cage underneath. He also has about 15 stuffed animals strewn over his bed and 5 pillows in all shapes and sizes, and he uses all of them. Searching for his teeth is not always the easiest feat.
Just as my arm was deep under his pillows and my fingers had found his tooth, his guinea pigs began squeaking. High pitched and loud. He rolled over and looked right at me. “Shhhh go back to sleep. You didn’t see anything.”
He smiled and rolled back over. Because he is also a mild sleepwalker, I was hoping he wasn’t really awake and wouldn’t remember what he saw. A couple hours later he fully woke up for the day and was excited to find that the Tooth Fairy had in fact come with no mention of finding me in his room. Phew! I was in the clear. Or so I thought.
Later that evening, after I had been gone most of the day getting my classroom ready, I picked up the kids, and we went to get some groceries. We were walking through the aisles when he said, “Hey Mom, remember when I found you with your arm under my pillow this morning?” I burst out laughing, “Yes, yes I do.”
I had been found out. He knew it was me. He now knows I am the Tooth Fairy. And probably Santa and the Easter Bunny too. I know he’s at the age when this realization usually happens. But still. We all want our babies to stay young and innocent for as long as possible, don’t we?
After a few moments of us laughing at him reenacting how I looked when he woke up and found me, he said, “So what did you do with my tooth?”
“I gave it to the Tooth Fairy.”
“You know the Tooth Fairy?”
“Yeah, we’re best friends.”
He just looked at me and smiled wryly.
And that is how we left it. I know he knows. I know he knows I know that he knows. But we’re going to keep the magic alive anyway.