An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The second tooth

Last Thursday night we were all sitting around the dinner table talking when Jon noticed that Leta was fiddling with her loose tooth. The same loose tooth that he has threatened to yank for the last month, causing both her and me to run screaming into the other room where we crouch in the corner and I whisper soothingly that I will save her from that mad man.

What? Whose team am I on? THE ONE WITH THE TEETH INTACT.

I mentioned my uneasiness with loose teeth when she lost her first one. There’s just something about teeth and feet that I have a hard time with, as if you needed to know that about me, but there it is. Don’t ever show me your feet or I’ll have to kindly ask you to remove my number from your phone.

He decided right then that this was the night, this was the time, no more excuses or running to mom. If I even thought about getting in his way he was going to take off his shoes and socks and rub his toes in my hair.

So, picture this: Leta is hysterical beyond comprehension. I don’t blame her, but I’m trying to be supportive. Scratch that, I’m trying to prevent a scenario in which I have to yank someone’s hairy feet off of my head.

She’s hyperventilating, crying, generally freaking out. Because she thinks it’s going to hurt. Even after we remind her that it didn’t hurt when her first tooth came out. But she’s not having it and is being ridiculously irrational. And Jon, someone who is married to and has to deal hourly with someone who is ridiculously irrational, is so over it. So over it that after forty-five minutes — I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING, FORTY PLUS FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE LOST TO THAT DAMN TOOTH — of Leta’s screaming NO! and STOP! and WAIT!, he reached into her mouth with a tissue, through the wall of her hands, and jerked that effer out.

The following is a script of what happened next:


Jon: What is that again?


Jon: Really?


Jon: Really?! That’s interesting, Leta. Because I have your tooth in my hand.

Leta: WHAT???!!!

Jon: It’s out.

Leta: It’s out?

Jon: It’s out.

Leta: IT’S OUT?

Jon: It’s out.

Leta: IT’S OUT??!!

Jon: It’s out.

Leta: IT’S OUT??????!!!!!!!!

Marlo, fed up with all the bullshit: IT’S OOOOOUUUUUUTTTTTT!!!!

Leta shoots up out of my lap where she has been sitting, where I have buried my head into her back so that I don’t have to see anything, runs to the middle of the room and screams, “YOU GOT IT OUT IN, LIKE, TWO SECONDS. YOU’RE, LIKE, A MAGICIAN. THIS IS, LIKE, THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.”

You’re, like, a magician.

I, like, totally lost my shit and laughed for a good ten minutes.

Good thing I had my fun then, because the party was only getting started. That kid was so pumped on adrenaline that she would not sleep. Jon tried several times to sneak into her room to perform Tooth Fairy duties only to have her sit straight up, her hair a fiery mop of tangles, and go, “HI!” Not freaky at all.

By eleven o’clock I told Jon to go to sleep, I’d set my alarm for 4 AM and sneak in there. Certainly she’d be heavily asleep by then. Certainly. Certainly! Did you know that “certainly” and anything remotely similar in meaning is the Universe’s cue to screw with parents? It says so in the Ten Commandments.

I woke up at 4 AM. FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Five dollars in my hand. Yes, that’s the going rate in our house for a tooth, and I know we’re spoiling her and she’ll become a monster. A monster who will want her Oompa Loompa, like, NOW. I mean, her dad is, like, a magician, so where is it?

The moment I touched her doorknob she sat straight up in bed. Let me remind you that it’s four o’clock in the damn morning, so there is not a clear thought in my head. And so instead of poking my head in and saying something like, “Hey, heard a noise, are you okay?” I hit the floor. I hit the floor so fast that she didn’t see me, and then I army crawled to the side of her bed, if this isn’t the most ridiculous thing I have ever written, Heather, you are an idiot.

I lay quietly beside her bed for about ten minutes to let her settle down, and then I reached up, stuck my hand underneath the pillow where Jon had put the tooth, and furiously felt around in the dark. NOTHING. I could not find that tooth, and then I heard Leta sit straight up again. Except this time she said, “Hello?”

Please someone tell me that you are a failed Tooth Fairy, too.

I jerked my hand back to my side and lay there barely breathing. Two minutes went by when suddenly Leta peered over the side of her bed, saw me lying there idiotically, and said, “Who’s there? Mom? Is that you?”

And what did I do? I waved.

I waved and said, “Hi!”

“What are you doing down there, Mom?” she asked.

“Oh, you know. Had a bad dream so I thought I’d sleep next to your bed.”

“You don’t have to sleep down there!” she said. “Come up here with me!”


So I got in bed with my amped seven-year-old who would not go back to sleep. She kept moving around and asking questions, and in the meantime I’m covertly reaching around that entire bed trying to find the tooth. Three hours go by. Three of the longest hours of my life, of Leta asking what I was doing every time I moved my arm. I’M BAKING A GODDAMN CAKE, LETA. GO TO SLEEP.

By seven o’clock I had located the tooth which had somehow grown feet and walked two pillows to the opposite side of the bed. We’d put it inside a ziplock bag, and when I grabbed it? It crinkled.

No, let me say that again, and imagine this in my Southern accent: IT CRAAAAANKLED!

“What’s that noise?” she asked.

“What noise?”

“I thought I heard a noise,” she said.

“You didn’t hear a noise,” I said, and I used my talking to mask the sound of removing that bag from underneath the pillow and stuffing it into my shirt under my arm. At the same time I shoved the wadded fist of cash into its place. “You just think you’re hearing something because you’re delusional from sleep deprivation.”

Right then she sat up, the hugest smile on her face. “Can I peek underneath the pillow?”

Can I get a phew?

When she saw the five individual dollar bills she gasped. “How does the Tooth Fairy do it, Mom?!”

“She’s, like, a magician,” I said.

  • jsides

    Heather, it’s posts like this (and the toilet story from Mexico) that have kept me reading for 6 years now. (Side note- I found you when I was pregnant with my first and I googled “Labor Stories” and your labor story with Leta, AKA “John’s Garlic Baby” is the first one I read. I have been hooked ever since!) You and I live on opposite sides of the country and could not be more different in our political/religious beliefs, however, we are more alike than different when it comes to our family life. Reading your blog is a bright spot in my day! By the way, my daughter (5 1/2) lost her 2nd tooth at dinner last night- while eating at a Mexican place. Bloody tooth = no more salsa for me 🙂 Ewwww!

  • juliemewood


    Jon was right. You write best when you are under stress.

    L.O.V.E.D. the post!

  • kfranklin1303

    This made me lol! So glad to read your stories during my boring work day.

  • Mamo

    Oh seriously, my eyes are burning from crying as a result of laughing so hard! That was awesome! I fail miserably everytime I have to play Tooth Fairy.

  • sharonj1017

    My daughter reacts the exact same way with each tooth, and we’re on number 8 now!!! You’d think it would sink in by now that it’s better to wiggle and get it out quick than to suffer through it being loose and attached for a month or more! Maybe I need to up our Tooth Fairy amount to $5 to be an incentive.

    Oh, and I giggle uncontrollably at your description of entering the room!

  • knittyknatty

    Props to you for maintaining illusions. 🙂

  • Kristi Kirschner

    Dude. You’re too determined and motivated and shit. The tooth fairy seldom shows up here on the same night the tooth has come out and she’d damn well NEVER set her alarm clock for 4am and she’d have also put that fucker in a tooth fairy bear (similar to this- so the whole search and rescue thing is quick and easy.

  • gmasig

    I had to create an account just to comment on this post. Have been a follower for awhile; but this post was too FUNNY not to comment. Thanks for laughs!
    PS Tooth fairy never came to my bed. I would put my tooth on a saucer and put a tea cup on top of it, and put it in the kitchen. My mom said it was an Italian thing. But now I think it was “I am too tried to climb the stairs” thing.

  • mjreinsel

    This is one of the most hilarious tooth stories I’ve ever heard. Maybe most hilarious. .

  • TryFection

    Thank you so much for sharing. You literally brought a tear to my eye. There have been times at our house that the tooth fairy couldn’t find the tooth but had to leave the money, and the Easter Bunny hid a stash of leftover candy in a cabinet in the basement. So far, only Santa has gotten away with it.

  • mrnmama

    This ending? Perfection.

  • Crazy Card Lady

    That was the BEST STORY EVER!!! Being a parent shows us what we are made of!

  • pehuff

    “You’re, like, a magician” is going to be in my head all night. Hilarious stuff! Can’t wait to be the tooth fairy in my house.

  • filmlady

    When I was into about the 5th Tooth Fairy opportunity, I slept right through it.

    Daughter: MOMMMMMMMMMM the Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night **sob**

    Me: Sometimes the Tooth Fairy’s running a little late. Go watch some TV and check back later.

    Worked okay, but she gave me the hairy eyeball for a while. The next year, both kids trapped me in the car and asked about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus all at one time. I pulled over for that one.

  • Sundae

    I love laughing loudly when I read your posts! Hilarious!

  • tallnoe

    You’re rad.

  • Phoenix Rising

    Good Lord, I’m dying here! Let me just say that as a child I would never have looked over the side of my bed to see who was hiding there. As an adult I never would either. Good job, Tooth Fairy! (In my house she usually forgets for a few days; she’s very busy, you know.)

  • Sabine

    Well that was hilarious.

    (Teeth – the loose ones, that is – give me the creeps too. Blech!)

  • EliBailey

    Wow, I would say that is beyond the call of duty dedication and perseverance, not failure! I failed miserably at tooth fairy duty once. When my daughter was about seven we were staying at my sister’s house when she lost a tooth. I forgot two nights in a row to leave her anything, so on the third night I was standing outside the bedroom door talking to my sister, and I said something about needing to leave my daughter some money because the “tooth fairy” couldn’t make up any more excuses for forgetting. My daughter was awake and heard the whole thing, so when I went in to get her tooth she was crying and furious that I had LIED to her. She just kept crying and wailing about how awful it was that there really wasn’t a tooth fairy and how could I have done that to her? I felt like the worst mother ever. I apologized over and over and tried to explain (I have no idea what I said now, 18 years later), and she finally calmed down and became rational. After a long while, in a very quiet voice she said “Do I still get money for my tooth?”

    She got her money (our going rate then was only a dollar), and the next time she lost a tooth she conveniently forgot that there wasn’t a tooth fairy. As long as she got her dollar she was happy!

  • sarahsox

    I just gave up and slept with my daughter when she was still awake at 1:00 in the morning. She finally fell asleep and then I did the switch.

  • Ommax3

    Well, I must confess that I am a failed tooth fairy…

    you see, the second tooth, got forgotton…in the pillow that hangs on the bedroom door(Best Invention EVER!)

    The tooth fairy, didn’t come…the boy was so disappointed. The mother then made up some story, about disney world, and a fairy convention in celebration of Tinkerbell’s birthday…yadda yadda yadda.

    He didn’t really buy it, but he didn’t fuss anymore. He was happy when she made it that next night…and doubled the going rate.

    But, the next tooth he reminded me at bedtime, that the tooth fairy needed to come, so his little sisters would still believe…sniff sniff.

    So, you did better than me…I am truly the failed tooth fairy.

  • rkoffler

    You totally outdid yourself with this story.

  • The Prima Momma

    This gave me happy tears.

    I’m even smiling for the time, years from now, when Leta reads this post.

  • sorcha

    That was the best thing I have ever read. Ever.

  • TriptikGirl

    5 bucks?!!? I’m gonna bring my left-over wisdom teeth to put under Leta’s pillow; We were lucky to get a 50-cent piece and a toothbrush!

    Way to go Magicians!

  • Amy J.

    I laughed and laughed and LAUGHED at this because a) my youngest daughter did JUST like Leta the last time she lost a tooth, her second. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life as well and my ears were ringing from her screams. She currently has four loose and won’t let me near her. My husband is YOU in our relationship and he’s a freaking doctor!

    b) I’ve had the same thing happen, though I didn’t have to get in bed with my child on tooth fairy night. But I one up you Heather…I’ve had to “borrow” money from my own children’s piggy bank/savings box in order to pay them their five dollar tooth fairy money…not once, but a few times. HOw many times can I give the same five dollar bill to them without them noticing their money isn’t increasing, lol.

    This one was great…and I know every parent out there can totally relate.

  • Meranath

    Mom and Dad made us leave our tooth in a cup in the bathroom. <3

  • Gemmyner

    Great post Heather!

    So thankfully my daughter has pretty much all her adult teeth. I think we are waiting on the 12 yr molars. Anyway, sticking the tooth under the pillow didn’t really work for us. She sleeps with her hands under her pillows so we decided we would put a clear glass 1/2 full of water on her nightstand and the toothfairy would come and jump in the water and leave a $1 or $2 coin at the bottom. Of course, it was up to me to put food colouring in the water so when she woke up she knew what colour the toothfairy’s dress was. Good grief the shit we do to keep our kids happy. And I agree with whoever above said that when they get teeth pulled at the dentist it costs the toothfairy more money. And one time we didn’t have any big change laying around so the toothfairy paid her with quarters and a Dairy Queen coupon. She was so excited! She told her friends that the toothfairy brings DQ coupons.

  • SJC

    Best tooth fairy story ever!! Love it!!

  • alixrch

    Reading about tooth extraction and the photo in the masthead is really freaking making me queasy

  • burkeabee

    $5 in our house too!

  • phoneill

    Fucking A. That was the best story ever. I’m wiping the mascara stains off my cheeks right now.

  • willagriffin

    I so got busted as the tooth fairy when my daughter got into the jewelry box and found her teeth. Your story made my day and made me feel like not such a failure either. Good parenting.

  • cory212

    Damn funny.

  • Glamma

    Im a way worse Tooth Fairy … when my daughter was little she found where I kept all her teeth (kept them yes, why? I don’t know)… anyways, I had to tell her that the Tooth Fairy knew that I was such a mushy mama that she gave them back to me!

  • Jalima

    That was NOT a fail! Great one Mom 🙂

    A fail is when you FORGET about tooth fairy duty and have to tell your child that she must have had the night off, AGAIN! (She is Unionized that Tooth Fairy.)

  • Jen28

    That’s the best failed tooth fairy story ever. And, FYI, someone has figured out a way that parents don’t have to endure the torture you did the other night: they make little tooth shaped pillows with a pocket for the tooth & money that kids can hang on their bedroom door (or bed post). AND they don’t wrap the tooth in plastic!

  • Trishy

    Well done. Bravo Copperfield!

  • Lauren3

    You’re fucking funny.

    I think Marlo is the one who is the more likely to lose her two front baby teeth the way I lost mine:

    Was climbing on a stack of highchairs at a restaurant while mom was talking to dad. Stack fell. I hurtled forward. My mouth took the fall for me. BYE TEETH!

  • Lizzy

    How are you even awake enough to write something so fantastic?

    As a mom of 3, I have yet to play the Tooth Fairy. So far, 2 out of 3 have cried hysterically when they think they’ll never see “toothy” again.

    You want to talk crazy, Heather? Yeah, I got that shit goin’ on.

  • catAtlanta

    Last night I too played a struggling tooth fairy, but I actually failed, and finally looked myself in the eye and thought, it’s ok if I now admit that I am really the tooth fairy. My daughter just turned 10. After she had gone to bed last night, she suddenly popped out of her room with her tooth in her hand, triumphant. I just felt dread. It has been harder and harder to get the money under the pillow and find the tooth in the baggie. Just like Leta, my daughter kept rolling over every time I entered the room. I too used the excuse that “I heard a noise, was that you?” to cover. At one point, she used the bathroom and popped her head in my room and chirped, The tooth fairy can come now, cause I’m really going to sleep. Hint. Two more attempts failed and in the morning, I solemnly confessed I was the tooth fairy and there were two bucks on the counter. She cheerfully said, I kinda knew that Mom. That’s why I told you I was going to sleep. But I’m still going to believe in her anyway. Does this mean, I never get to stop?

  • kristentatious

    More than once–more than twice–maybe even more than 3 times, the Tooth Fairy (my husband, who is typically up until all hours of the night) has randomly decided to get a full night’s sleep and my son has woken up broken-hearted. Good thing I have the Tooth Fairy’s dispatch center on speed dial, though, because I’ve called and given them a piece of my mind. It’s also a good thing that 5/6 year-olds totally believe it when you make fake phone calls.

    Rest assured, you are not the biggest Tooth Fairy loser.

    P.S. Once, when I ran to the bedside of my son who was howling because the tooth fairy never came, I was able to console him with one hand and swap teeth for cash with the other…and then, Voila! What are you talking about kid? There’s money right here!

  • subjectivitis

    This has to be the funniest blog entry I have ever read. So glad she still got to enjoy the tooth fairy, you worked hard for it.

    When I was little I had a tooth fairy pillow, it was pink and had a pocket to put the loose tooth in. Maybe you could get her one of them pillows (I bet they make them on etsy!) and tell her to put it at the foot of her bed. Maybe that would avoid the cranklin’ next time.

    PS, I got to say that video where Marlo is smelling the orange is so adorable!

  • styx

    I’m laughing so hard my dog is looking at me like I’m a crazy person…

  • missusclark

    That was, hands down, THE *best* tooth fairy story ever!

    I blew it once, but convinced my step-son to try again the next night. The tooth fairy left a note apologizing for the delay, but she was really swamped.

    Golden Sacajawea dollar coins are so cool to a five-year-old.

    One of your best, Heather!

  • momof8

    Too funny. Congrats on a job well done. We have the worst tooth fairy at our house ever. Forgets to come. The kids make elaborate signs pointing to their room–the tooth is in here–TAKE IT!

  • Penny Rene

    My first thought after reading this is that she is so totally on to you.
    I know, I know. Party Poop McGee, that’s me. But seriously…
    I am not sure I ever believed in the Tooth Fairy or Santa. (Blame two older siblings) But did I pretend for my parents sake? Oh yes. And Leta is so freakishly smart…

    But it’s awesome that you did what you did.
    And just so you know, I plan to completely overcompensate for my lack of belief in the magic as a kid by taking that Tooth Fairy shit to a whole new level with my kids. I make my own pixie dust already and my eldest just turned five. Lawd, I better work on my ninja moves!

  • Anu

    Holy Cow! That was one hilarious story!!

  • dolphy36

    Oh, my good Lord…I pretty much snorted out loud a couple times reading this. Thank you. Thank you for what you do. I’m so glad you can make a good living out of it–you bring joy to lots of people.

    The visual of you waving and saying “hi,” well…I think I just snorted again!

  • gutterlbp

    Wow! $5 at your household? Per tooth?

    My parents must have been really bad Tooth Fairies. I only got 25 cents for my 1st tooth and nothing for any of the others… I want what your kids have, LOL!


Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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