By Esther Baird/Tri-Town Transcript
First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript August 22, 2013
I guess I never realized, pre-children, how hard it is to be the tooth fairy. I mean every child, ever born, loses not one but like a zillion (or 20) teeth in their life. It makes Santa look downright lazy with his one night of work each year. Which is why, as I explained to my older daughter, the tooth fairy didn’t always make it in a timely manner.
Except for the first tooth.
The tooth fairy might get delayed, (one time she was late by days to my daughter’s pillow because of a courageous mission involving a rhinoceros with an infected tusk), but she never misses a first tooth.
Our older daughter received two crisp dollar bills upon her first loss. I’ve heard of children who received twenty dollar bills, but at Casa Baird, the tooth fairy set expectations right out of the gate. A dollar is seventy five cents more than I ever got, and two dollars made it special but not ridiculous.
Regular Readers may recall that she jimmied her first tooth out with a homemade lever she designed from a Chick-Fil-A kid’s meal toy. She performed this minor surgery upon herself so as not to be the only kid in her class who hadn’t lost a tooth.
But our younger daughter, who swoons over a paper cut, was not as enthusiastic. Sure, the idea of the tooth fairy was enticing, but the removal process seemed . . . ominous. There might be blood. She might explode into a million little grossed out, quivering pieces. As a result, her first tooth had been wiggly for weeks. Weeks! Sometimes she would gently nudge it, but mostly she left it alone and avoided chewy foods.
It made the rest of us crazy.
Finally, I was afraid she’d swallow it and my husband demanded to pull it out with his always handy pliers. It was hanging by the merest of threads and so, though she balled her fists and squeezed her eyes, she didn’t even know when he yanked it out.
There it was! Her first tooth!
There was much excitement and only a few full-body shudders about the trace bits of blood. The tooth went into the special tooth-fairy-pouch by her pillow, and she went to bed with giddy anticipation (and a tissue in case she spontaneously bled out).
That’s when I realized there was no cash in the house. I’d be lying if I said there was not a moment of panic. It was a first tooth after all. The fairy had to show up.
And she did . . . with printed picture of an Orange Leaf frozen yoghurt with the words written (in all caps) “One Free Cup!!”
My daughter woke up and was amazed. “Mommy!! I got a FREE Orange Leaf coupon from the tooth fairy!!!”
I gasped. “No way!!”
She stared at the written words. “Mommy, is this your handwriting?”
I stared back at her. “What?”
There was a pause and then I grabbed her hands and started jumping. “Yay!!! Orange Leaf!!” I made squeaky, happy sounds with her and then just kept jumping out of the room. Fast.
Later that week we made our way to Orange Leaf in Danvers. While my husband and daughters had the requisite fifty or so sample tastes, I meandered to the register to have a brief chat.
When my daughter presented her printed photo, the clerk, a dude with crazy hair that would make a Muppet jealous, smiled wide, “Cool! My sister’s friend just got one of those from the tooth fairy.”
My daughter’s eyes widened, this was so, totally, legit!
After I, um, did some stuff at the register, I joined my family. My younger daughter had four different flavors with six different gummy, cookie, brownie toppings.
She smiled her newly gapped smile. “Mommy, this must be a new thing for the tooth fairy. I wonder where else she gives certificates to?”
I wonder too.