Thursday, July 18, 2013

Troublesome tooth fairies

Sorry about yesterday's little whine fest. For those who think I'm a paragon of parenting, let me just say that after I hit post on the blog and filled up my coffee cup, things did not improve for a while. It pretty much ended up with me losing my mind a bit and informing the huddled masses that I was tired of being their maid and if they didn't care enough about their stuff to pick it up, perhaps I would gather it all up and throw it out. Not my finest moment. The day did improve after things got picked up and I worked off some of my bad mood in cleaning the house. I'm nearly done with sorting out my desk and paying the bills, and I'll work on the laundry today. I was wise enough last night to spend some time picking out clothes for the girl who whines, so I'm hoping we won't have a repeat this morning. She did say to me yesterday, "I love you, Mama. I won't whine about getting dressed tomorrow." Sweet, but I'll believe it when I see it.

But let's move to a lighter (much lighter) topic... tooth fairies. The connection sort of makes sense if I'm sharing my parenting failures with all of you. You see, J. and I are really, really bad at trying to maintain the fiction of imaginary beings which visit our house. We forget and we talk about these creatures as if they weren't real in front of children (not on purpose). And did I mention we forget?

I suppose we were better when M. and B. were little. There was less for us to hold in our heads. Now, there's just not any extra room for fictional people as well as real ones. I don't think M. ever had the Tooth Fairy forget to visit her pillow after she had lost a tooth. And we must have been believable because at one point she lost a tooth at my parents' house where she and B. were sharing a room. B. was pretty upset that the Tooth Fairy might come and visit while he was in the room.

M., being the analytical child that she was, had the whole tooth fairy-thing all worked out. She decided each child had their own individual tooth fairy. I have a sneaking suspicion that this was how she reconciled the fact that her friends received much more money for their teeth than she did. The tooth fairies around here leave quarters. It was one of the smartest things I ever did. I only had three children when M. was starting to lose teeth, but even then, adding up all the teeth for three children seemed like a big number and I was unwilling to multiply it by a dollar. It's probably a good thing I didn't know how many children we would end up with... she might have received a nickel. (Don't feel too badly for my children, my father has always given each grandchild a dollar for each tooth lost. Calling Grandpa to inform him about a lost tooth is far more important to my children than putting the tooth under their pillow. I'm pretty sure he wasn't expecting 13 grandchildren when he started this, though.) Anyway, back to M. When your friend gets a gold dollar coin for each tooth and your get a quarter, you have to figure out some way to justify the difference.

This idea of having your own tooth fairy became helpful later on, when J. and I became more forgetful about the whole thing. It was with A. that the memory really began to fail. There was one tooth for which we continued to forget. Night after night after night, A. would dutifully put her tooth under her pillow and the next morning it would still be there and no quarter would appear. This did not make A. very happy, as you can imagine. So A. took measures to ensure the next night something would be done about it. She wrote her tooth fairy a note. It was something along the lines of, "Dear Tooth Fairy, If you don't remember to bring my quarter tonight I am going to fire you." Yes, she did. It made me laugh and I'm pretty sure I still have the note in her baby box. And that night she got her quarter.

I wish I could tell you J. and I reformed and began remembering to leave the quarter after that, but I can't. It has reached such desperate proportions around here that some children don't even bother to put their tooth under their pillow. But some still do, and if they are not the badgering type, all hope is lost and I am reminded once again at how very awful I am at this whole thing. A couple of nights ago, as I was tucking H. in, she rummaged around under her pillow and announced to me that her tooth was still there and there was no money. She then shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "I knew this whole tooth-for-money-thing was a bit odd. I don't know why I thought it would work a second time." I (while writhing guiltily inside) chirpily say that she should keep it under her pillow and the quarter would show up. And then I FORGOT AGAIN!

Yes, I did.

I forgot multiple nights until last night when TM lost another tooth. (He seems to be doing the same thing that A. did in losing all of his molars at the same time. I'm considering pureeing his food for him.) He showed me his tooth and I realized I forgotten H.'s money. Well, you will be proud of me. Last night I remembered both teeth... and I had two quarters in my wallet to use as well. This is not always a given. But probably it was so long after the fact that H. will a) not look for a quarter and b) when she does find it, not associate with her tooth and bring it to me wondering why it was under her pillow.

Our house guest told me that when a child loses a tooth in her country, it is either thrown on the roof or a mouse comes and takes it and brings money. I'm liking the idea of throwing the tooth on the roof. It's immediate and doesn't require any money. Do you think my children will go for it?
Working my way into a solid fourth place...

1 comment:

Patty Mueller said...

In Ethiopia they throw their tooth onto the roof and sing this song, although B didn't know about this.

And here's an interesting-looking book about different tooth traditions

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