Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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:

Leta, shrieking: OW! OW! OW! YOU’RE HURTING ME! IT HUUUUUURRRTTS!

Jon: What is that again?

Leta: IT HUUUUUURRRTTS!

Jon: Really?

Leta: YEEEEEEEESSSSS! IT HUUUUUURRRTTS!

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!”

Wheeeeeee!!!!!

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.

  • melissa_anderson725

    I have failed twice. Woke up in the morning, walked in to see the newly toothless kid, and aaahhhh crap. Mom – the tooth fairy didn’t come? Hmm, why do you think that is? ‘Cuz it was really windy? Yes! Let’s go with that. …or how about because it was so late at night when you lost it…yes, that too! TWICE I’ve failed. It’s embarrasing.

  • LibraSophia

    Heather, I have been lurking here for a very long time, enjoying all of your posts. For some reason, the story of the tooth compelled me to comment. I almost fell off my chair, I laughed so hard. An our house, the tooth fairy was quite scatterbrained and sometimes didn’t show up for weeks, so your dedication is inspirational.

  • Lori M

    Excellent parenting. Magical writing!

  • Vannessam

    Hysterical!! I really must stop reading Dooce at work, very hard to keep a straight face and pretend I am working! Btw, we used to put our teeth in a shoe at the foot of the bed. So much easier for the tooth fairy!

    PS: Sandi (previous commenter) 15 children!! And 1 special needs! Don’t you have a blog?? I would love to read it!

  • Anja6819

    For some reason I want to take off my shoes and socks and wave them around in front of you. And I’m not usually weird like that.

    My 3 year old is already a lot like your Leta. I’m sure there will be many covert tooth fairy missions in my future.

    And Marlo is the reason that my daughter will likely remain an only child.

    But thanks for the story, it really brightened my day!

  • radioista

    That was awesome!

  • NicoleC

    I was reading this while I was waiting for pop-a-lock to come unlock the keys from inside my car…made me laugh in a situation where I normally would be cursing like a trucker. Also, loose teeth make me want to shoot myself.

  • anythinglime

    Hahahaha! I loved this story. Amazing. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Rhalper

    What a great post! It was, like, brilliant. Can’t wait to hear how you handle Santa and the Christmas cookies!

  • ckamm1107

    My son lost his 2nd tooth last week and the tooth fairy completely FORGOT to do her thing. I was met with the saddest face ever the next morning because he thought she forgot. I felt like crap the whole day because of it. He got extra money the next night.

  • Jessiep

    Oh how this made me laugh, thank you for that. Our daughter’s first tooth was enthusiastically removed by my mom the day before Easter. Which meant: the Easter Bunny AND the Tooth Fairy were in the house for a very, very exciting night. So, we are in parental overtime and when I tried to sneak into her room with the Tooth Fairy money she is sitting on her bed at 3am wearing her Easter dress and said, “hi mom, I’m waiting for them to arrive!” Eventually all things were delivered and discovered as expected.

  • RebeccaSoFla

    I swear I threw my head back and LOL when I read the part about Leta looking over the side of the bed and you waved! Still LOL!!!! omg that was freaking funny as hell… AND you told your kid you had a bad dream so you were laying on her floor!!! LOLLLLLL that was really funny. Benadryl much? Maybe next time….

  • sabina

    This happened at our LAST NIGHT! And my daughter is hysterical about losing teeth too. This is the first one she let me pull, after it was hanging there for two weeks.

    A tip – there are some great YouTube vids of little kids pulling their teeth and the parents clapping and cheering. Watching a few of these definitely got her courage up.

  • socalchickonawire09

    Like, if I had balls, I would have just laughed them right off. Right? Like, that was the funniest effing thing I have ever read! Lurved it! 🙂