Yesterday, I picked my 10-year-old up from Hebrew School, and the very first thing she did was proudly show me a gaping bloody hole in her mouth. It’s been months since she lost a tooth, and this was her first molar.
“I lost it! I lost my tooth!”
“Cool,” I said, peering into her mouth.
“No, I mean I really lost it. Either I swallowed it or it fell somewhere. Do you think the tooth fairy will still come?”
“Yep, we’ll write a note that you lost the tooth you lost,” I reassured her.
She talked about her tooth throughout the evening, and she wrote a careful note and tucked it under her pillow.
When she finally went to bed, I washed dishes. We had a cousin visiting who ended up sleeping over, and we visited with her. There were school bags and swim bags and skate bags and ballet bags to unpack and repack, forms to fill out, play dates to arrange, blah blah blah.
This morning, around 6:45 a.m., my ten-year-old walked into my bathroom. “You’re up early!” I said. She made a sad face and walked back out. I followed her into my room, where she had crawled into my bed.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
She shook her head no.
“The tooth fairy forgot to come.”
SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! Oh, the mommy guilt, seriously. Is this how it feels if you are having an affair and your partner finds out? No, this has to be worse. How could I forget the tooth fairy? What am I going to say?????
I groaned. “You’re right. She forgot! Oh no!”
She rolled over and looked at me and giggled. “You mean YOU forgot. I know it’s you, Mommy.”
“Oh, thank God!” I told her and laughed. “I did. I forgot! I’m so sorry! I’m so glad you already knew it was me. Listen, don’t tell your little sisters, okay? They really believe. Boy, am I relieved that this happened with you and not with AR.”
Seriously, I wasn’t sure if she believed or not. This is a kid who actually thought Cinderella lived in our attic until she was like 8 years old.
She started strategizing with me in case I screw up again with one of “the littles” as we refer to the 6-yr-old and the 3-yr-old. “You could say the tooth fairy sent you a text that she was overbooked and couldn’t get to our house. That she’ll come tomorrow.” We agreed on that plan. Since my 6-yr-old has not yet lost a tooth, let’s hope I don’t blow it that first time, because then the guilt-o-meter will really soar.
As K was leaving my room to go get dressed, she looked back and said, “I heard that molars are worth a lot more than the other teeth. Be sure to tell the tooth fairy.”
Atta girl, K. Smart cookie knowing when to negotiate a raise.
Carrie Goldman is the award-winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.
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