My kids tend to lose their teeth late so my six-year-old, Eli, was uber-excited when he lost his first two this month. When the illustrious tooth fairy brought him $5 for his first lost tooth, he was giddy. After his older brother, Jacob, knocked out Eli’s second loose tooth with an elbow to the mouth in basketball, through gushing blood, Eli didn’t even cry. All he was thinking about was his next tryst with the tooth fairy.
We warned him that his brothers had only received a dollar for each tooth they lost after the first one. Eli was not discouraged. He wrote a note to the tooth fairy to politely ask for $20 for this special second tooth. He placed the note under his pillow with the tooth in a Ziploc bag and fell asleep, undoubtedly dreaming of all the ways to spend his bicuspid bucks…. (mounds of candy? Star Wars Legos? Justin Bieber tickets?)
At 1:18am Wilson and I heard Eli screaming and sobbing as he made his way into our room. He was so hysterical, we thought surely he had been stabbed or saw a ghost in his room. We tried to calm him as we patted him down for injuries and repeatedly asked what was wrong. He apparently had woken up in the night and breathlessly searched his pillow and bed for his dental dowry. The note and tooth were gone, a dollar bill in their place.
Giant tears splashed down Eli’s face and his body shuddered as he described the horror of the missing note and the wrongness of the measly dollar. He was certain the note had been lost or destroyed before the tooth fairy ever saw it. Since she never saw the note, she was not aware of his deep desire for that 20 spot.
As he continued to bawl and pound the pillow with his fists (he has a flair for drama) I wondered –in my tired stupor– whether we had failed to teach him the value of money. When he couldn’t be consoled with reason, I asked him why the money was so important and what he planned to do with it. He could not give a satisfactory answer, except to express his profound disappointment in the tooth fairy legend.
After 45 minutes of cajoling and backrubs, he finally fell asleep. When he woke in the morning, he came bounding into our room, fired up to show us a second dollar he said he must have missed the first time. With $2 in hand, he skipped downstairs for breakfast as if the tooth fairy fiasco had never happened. I asked Wilson if he had snuck in to remedy the situation, but he had not. I certainly didn’t pad the pillow.
We still aren’t sure how Eli came up with the second dollar. Maybe he pinched it from his own piggy bank. It would be just like him to take control of the happy ever after to his own fairy tale.
If not, I’ll have to start believing in that sneaky tooth fairy again….