The Tooth Fairy forgot to come to our house last night.
It’s the second tooth she’s been required to collect and so she knows the drill. (She bloody should do, anyway). The tooth, lovingly wrapped in tin foil, is placed carefully under the pillow on the ladder side of the bunk bed so that the Tooth Fairy won’t have to struggle to get to it. The children must go straight to sleep under threat of the Tooth Fairy leaving again if she arrives and anyone is awake to see her. Daughter Number One made this requirement very, very clear to Number Two on a number of occasions prior to, during and after bedtime last night, with the final noise that we heard coming out of their room being a threat of being sent to sleep in the baby’s cot if she wouldn’t go straight to sleep. (Must remember that one, it worked a treat).
Anyway, first thing I hear this morning was ‘Mummy, the Tooth Fairy’s been’ shouted from the other side of the house. I silently congratulated dear Husband for his quiet and efficient organising of the Tooth Fairy’s visit because I had completely forgotten to get in touch with her, and braced myself for the arrival of an excited five year old joining me in bed. Instead, said five year old slunk in very quietly, stood by the bed and said, in the most heartbreaking of wee voices, ‘Mummy, the Tooth Fairy has been, but she didn’t leave a coin’.
I told her that if the Tooth Fairy had been then there must be a coin because that was how it worked. Apparently, though, the search of her entire bed and Number Two’s bed also, in case the Tooth Fairy had become confused, had turned up nothing. By this point, we nearly had tears so I got up and said I’d come and help her look. Upon turning on the light, I noticed that she had the tooth in its tin foil package clutched in her hand.
‘Ah, well!’ I said, ‘The Tooth Fairy hasn’t been – she’s not taken your tooth. Maybe she was too busy last night and didn’t make it.’
‘No, Mummy. She came. The tin foil is here but the tooth is gone.’ And two fat tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Maybe I have been too naughty to get a coin.’
What sort of godawful Tooth Fairy would do such a thing?!
Oh me. My heart broke just a tiny bit right then. You know what? This child can be very, very, very naughty. Abominable at times. She was a right pain yesterday – winding up her sister, talking back etc, etc. And the whining, my God, the whining! For a millisecond I thought about seizing the teachable moment and making her realise the consequences of her rottenness. But, this child can also be so very, very, very, sweet. She is filled with questions about the world, imagination and joy. She didn’t deserve for the Tooth Fairy to forget her coin.
Amidst reassurances about her entitlement to a coin and how the Tooth Fairy knows that sometimes we are bad but that we try really hard not to be, I began a full scale search for the tooth. Can I say now, a tooth search is not the best way to start your morning. Especially when Number Two is STARVING for breakfast and Number Three wakes up sopping wet. Still, the tooth had to be found.
It was nestled between two floorboards, a tiny, inoffensive little thing that had almost managed to ruin my daughter’s faith in the goodness of fairies. Ah, the relief, the joy. And then the barrage of questions. Why hadn’t she come? Isn’t she magic, shouldn’t she always come? Maybe she wouldn’t remember to come ever. How can we let her know?
So, I did what all good mothers would do in the same circumstances. I constructed an intricate web of lies to cover up the Tooth Fairy’s mistake and ensure my daughter’s continued faith in a magical, imaginary creature who steals into houses to retrieve lost teeth.
This particular tooth had fallen out while we were visiting Lake Rotoiti. We had brought it home with us, of course, and performed the correct steps in preparation for the Tooth Fairy’s visit, but, the Tooth Fairy had somehow gotten her wires crossed about where exactly the tooth was. She had gone to the lake to get the tooth instead of coming to our house! (All rubbish, of course. I happen to know for a fact that she was skiving off, watching My Kitchen Rules and slagging off her least favourite contestants).
‘But how will she know to come here tonight?’
‘The Tooth Fairy is smart, and besides, we’ve been talking about it and so she’ll know.’
‘How? How will she know?’
‘Magic.’ A knowing smile from Number One. You can’t argue with that answer. Magic can achieve anything. (As can some carefully constructed lies, apparently).