So recently my kid lost his first tooth.
Which was a really big deal and a huge life event.
Why didn’t anyone warn me about the stress and pressure that comes with impersonating this faux fairy phenomenon? And how did I not see this coming? I mean I had over 6 years to prepare for this moment and I feel like I was a little too close to adding another traumatic childhood event to the checklist of things my kid is gonna have to work through later in life. He’s got enough problems. He’s an only child.
So I want to help others. Oops, wrong word. I want to warn others. So you can think of me when it’s your turn. (And hopefully not screw it up).
Here’s how it all goes down:
Your kid loses a tooth. Which is either a super exciting, social-media-worthy event, or in my son’s case, a scene from a horror film complete with blood, screaming, and regret by all parties.
Then comes your first task, which seems really simple but trust me, it’s not. You suddenly have a new part-time position. One that you MUST NOT forget to clock in for. You’re the Tooth Fairy now. Welcome to the club. Add that to your LinkedIn, I dare ya.
You might be thinking, all you have to do is remember ONE thing. How is that so hard?
Well, Destinee, I’m a working mom. Which means that I have 157 things I have to cram into two hours every night before bed without having to transform myself into some winged creature who sneaks into children’s rooms to buy their teeth in the dark. Let me just add that to my list…
And what do you think happens if you do forget? What do you say when your kid comes running into your room in the morning with that pathetic look of sadness, confusion, and resentment on their little freckled, tear-stained face?
Do you tell them that the tooth fairy was double booked?
That Prince George lost a tooth the same night and obviously, the monarchy comes first?
Or do you throw the farfetched fairy under the bus, telling your kid she’s been hitting the sauce and that you’ll file a report with the tooth association?
Or maybe you just blame your kid. Well Timmy, I guess you screwed up. Clearly she couldn’t find your tooth in that disaster box you call your bedroom. Guess you’ll have to get your [censored] together and try again tonight.
And when it’s actually time to do the job- let me just tell you- it’s freaking terrifying!
First of all, you never really know if your kid is asleep. It’s like some terrible childhood-wrecking roulette as you slowly turn the knob and inch open their door, praying that the hinges won’t creak and holding your breath like the entirety of your kid’s lifelong happiness depends this very moment. Because clearly, it does.
If you’re especially lucky like me, you’re reminded real quick that your kid has received 12 participation medals, which are all conveniently hanging on the back of the door and clanging together like some sort of fairy intruder warning system. I’m not sure if my heart can take this.
And then there are the night lights. All 5 of them.
You might have forgotten that in order to calm your kid’s fear of the monster that is waiting to murder him the second you leave the room, that it’s now lit up like a low-budget rave with blue light beaming off every wall, ensuring that absolutely nothing is hidden from sight. I’m practically in a spotlight as I stand there, not breathing, too scared to move, knowing that if by the grace of Gandalf my kid somehow doesn’t hear me, surely he will smell my fear.
I haven’t been this petrified since I was 16, sneaking cheap, 8-year-old vodka from my parent’s kitchen cabinet at 2 A.M.
Now comes the strategy. Because you can’t just open the door and toss a dollar on the dresser.
For starters, it’s 2018. I think the going rate for a single tooth is like $20. At least that’s what my kid says his friends are all getting.
My kid, on the other hand, is lucky if he gets a dollar that isn’t from his own piggy bank.
Because who even has cash anymore? I was tempted to leave him a half-spent Subway gift card. He’s six, so in his world a chicken bacon ranch holds more value than cash anyway.
But that leads me to the hardest part. The pillow! I mean what in the love of all things completely made-up and beyond a reasonable doubt made someone decide to make that a thing? It could not possibly have been an actual parent. Seriously. Who the [censored] was it?
Were they like- hmmm, let’s see. How can we make life excruciating for every parent in the universe, forever? I’ve got just the thing! We’ll tell children everywhere to hide their smallest possession- their baby teeth- under their pillow in the dark of night! Their parents will be tired, it will be risky, and almost possible to find them under their sweaty little heads. It’s a miserable idea only the most idiotic humans will attempt. It’s perfect.
I mean what?!
Their pillow!!?? You’re telling me we have to root around under THEIR PILLOW without waking them? Does anyone else think this sounds like some kind of modern, out-of-the-box court sentence? I don’t know what’s worse, them waking to see their mom lurking over them with nervous sweat dripping off her face and her hand under their pillow, or the fairy forgetting to come altogether. Like how did our parents even do this? And why???
Isn’t Santa Claus and a gigantic disturbed-looking rabbit enough nonsense for children? We have to throw in a fairy with a fetish for teeth? No wonder our kids resent us as teens. That’s right after they figure out that we have been lying to them for their whole lives. And not even good lies like when you tell them that the family pet went to live on a farm, or that milk makes their bones strong.
But all joking aside, this situation did teach me some valuable stuff. Like the fact that only 5 minutes acting as the tooth fairy is enough to cause a slight case of PTSD. And that my husband’s snoring can be heard through two walls and the clanking of unearned medals.
And that all it takes to change the game is a hand-typed note, strategically slipped under, of all things, a child’s pillow.
Lindsay is a full-time working wife and mom. She wants to hear all about your failures as a parent so she knows there are much worse parents out there.