2014-12-24 / County Lifestyles

SLICES OF LIFE

Tooth fairy loses her oomph after decade of deliveries
by Jill Pertler

Our household is reaching the tail end of tooth loss. It’s been a decade- long endeavor where the tooth fairy went from super benefactor to sleeping beauty. That can happen to a person ( or fairy) after 60 pick-up and deliveries. The whole fairy thing sort of loses its charm somewhere around the forty- second tooth. After that, things just aren’t as glossy anymore.

At least that was how it was for our fairy. I can’t speak for anyone else’s.

After about tooth 42, the fairy started lacking in performance. You might say she was no longer enamored with the enamel. She forgot pickups, botched deliveries and started hiding the money in out of the way places, just to trick the children.

She can be a wicked one, that fairy.

My three oldest kids have each lost their 20 baby teeth and have learned to deal with the eccentric nature of our tooth fairy. Heck, they’ve been known to fill in for her in a pinch. I’ve got patient and understanding kids.

So, when our baby, who’s 5, showed up with a “wiggly” the other day, let’s just say I was excited beyond belief - just like he was.

He was hopping and bopping like anybody’s business. His tooth wasn’t quite so lucky. I watched his finger move back and forth across the top of the tooth, and if I squinted my eyes and tilted my head just so, I thought maybe I could see it move a fraction of some very small metric measurement.

It was good enough for him. He knew the tooth fairy was on her way.

“She brings money,” he told me. “ When you are little, she leaves it under your pillow, but when you get bigger she hides it.”

Good explanation, I thought. Couldn’t have come up with a better one myself.

He went on wiggling...for two days.

I offered to yank his tooth out for him. I do this with every tooth and every child. No one has ever taken me up on my offer. Quite honestly I don’t know what I’d do if they did.

He wouldn’t let me yank, but he did let his brothers do some wiggling. I watched their dirty fingernails enter his mouth and gave a big mom sigh. Moms with lots of kids tend to sigh quite a bit. It’s a defense mechanism.

Day by day, the tooth grew looser and looser, until it was lying sort of sideways, hanging by little more than a thread of dental floss. And then it was out.

Excitement rippled through our household. We gazed into the mirror to revel in the new look. We called dad at work to tell him about the loss. Big brothers showed how, when you use a straw, you can drink through the hole that used to be your tooth. It was a good day.

And then, my 5-year-old lost his tooth - literally.

We searched the kitchen counter and bathroom floor, but the tooth was nowhere to be found. It was gone, lost into thin air, like the pixie dust of fairies. We looked at each other with a grimness never known before. Sixty teeth, and this was a first - a lost, lost tooth.

It was the 5- year- old who broke the silence. “Maybe a note will work,” he said. “Will the tooth fairy take a note?”

My sigh turned to smile. “Let’s write one right now,” I said.

And we did. And we put it under his pillow. And the tooth fairy did visit that night. And she put the money right where she was supposed to.

It just goes to show that sometimes the tooth fairy can be pretty understanding, especially when she knows there are only 19 to go.

Jill Pertler is an awardwinning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. She welcomes having readers follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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