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Who made me the Tooth Fairy? (04/13/2005)
By Cynthya Porter

I'd like to throttle whoever invented the Tooth Fairy.

I hate that nocturnal bicuspid-thieving creature more than any other mythical being I pretend to be for my children, mostly because I'm really bad at it.

Being Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are easy. Holiday shrapnel is all over my house to remind me about the job I have to do. But a tooth is tiny. A tooth is random. A tooth gets buried under a pillow hours before I ever think about calling it a day, and most days I can hardly even remember what I ate for dinner by the time I go to bed.

So Saturday morning around the crack of dawn my daughter is miffed. "Mom," she shakes me awake, "the Tooth Fairy didn't come." Oh dang it, I think, trying to clear the fog enough for a good excuse. "Uhhh, Friday nights are busy for the Tooth Fairy. Maybe she needed an extra day," I mumble, feeling like a complete heel and hoping I don't have to explain why Fridays are big tooth days.

My daughter considers the paltry excuse for a minute, weighing it with a frown. "Just keep the tooth right where it is," I tell her. "If she didn't get it last night she'll get it tonight for sure." Somewhat mollified by this, my daughter accepts the explanation and plods off for breakfast, where she will talk smack about the Tooth Fairy with her sister.

Throughout the day I tell myself to write a reminder note after my daughter goes to bed. Predictably, I forget to do that too, because I am the world's worst Tooth Fairy.

So there I am sleeping ever so peacefully until I jerk awake at 5:30 a.m. in a complete panic. "Oh no!" I mutter, stumbling to my feet and trying to shake off enough sleep to think fast. But see, there's one problem: I'm not much of a morning person and that time of day doesn't even begin to qualify. My idea of early is the crack of 8 a.m. and I'm pretty sure I don't even have brain waves at 5:30.

When I was little, I always thought the Tooth Fairy was a delicate creature that flitted about gracefully with shimmering wings. But there I was, hair askew, pajamas rumpled, trying desperately just to focus as I wheel through the house in search of an envelope and a dollar.

Bleary eyed, I head for the family room on the floor below, which is a bad idea. With a flit of my graceful wings I fall right down the stairs, like eight of them, arms and legs flailing.

Wounded, I hobble my way back up stairs, clutching the tooth ransom in my hand and a whole lot of curse words in my heart.

Just as I am congratulating myself on not failing again, I realize there is a problem: I can't find the tooth. Stretched to the tips of my toes, I feel around under the pillow on her loft bed for an envelope. Nothing. Exasperated, I grab a step stool for better reach, which, of course, wakes her up a little. Now I'm crouching under her loft bed, hiding, knowing if my other daughter wakes up and sees me in the shadows she'll start screaming.

What feels like half my lifetime later she is still again and I give it another go. Finally, incredibly, I run my hand over a tiny little something that can only be a tooth. Being the helpful little thing that she is, my daughter apparently thought an envelope was too confusing for the Tooth Fairy. I'm going to have to tell her that the Tooth Fairy will go insane and never come back if she does that again.

And, sadly, the Tooth Fairy will be expected back.

As I limp around the kitchen the next morning, my daughter regards me with eight-year-old concern. "Mom, what'd you do?"

"Nothing," I sulk.

"Hey, Mom, guess what. This tooth is loose," she says, pointing to her matching tooth on the other side. "Should I wiggle it?"

I beg her not to, making up some lie about getting half price if the teeth come out too soon. I know that infernal creature will have to come back, but I'd at least like to let the bruises heal before I have to do it again. 


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