Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Tooth Fairy Goes FroYo

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. 

Fueled by Fluff and Sunshine

Fueled by Fluff and Sunshine
By Esther C. Baird/
First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript August 8, 2013

I recently spent two weeks over on Lake George in the Adirondacks where, Regular Readers may recall, we have a family camp.  It’s rustic and falling apart in many places and often buggy in a way that gives Boxford a run for its money, but there is no place I’d rather be.  Especially when I’m out in the middle of the lake where the waters are deep and clear and far from . . . everything. 

But to experience that you need a boat. 

My parents have a motorboat that’s on its last, um, paneling.  Their mechanic instructed them not to worry, because when it sank, it would do so in a slow, controlled manner.  Reassuring, and yet, not for me.   Anyway, I favor the pontoon boat.  They are stable and comfortable — like a floating couch set might be.  So I rented one for a few days.
The main stress when renting a boat is the clause about the propeller, (or prop).  You can burn the boat to bits, or loose a skunk onboard, and the marina might frown, but if you so much as think about dinging the prop you will be bankrupt within seconds. 

So while my rental agent reviewed the standard info with me, I was mentally cataloging the large rocks near our swimming area and the possible prop problems.  

At some point he said, “Now, this is a new boat but fuel gauges on boats are always somewhat unreliable.”
I nodded and went back to my precautionary prop plan.

After a day of easy mooring, I relaxed about the prop, especially because we mostly floated around out in the middle.  Occasionally we motored to a particularly good view, but mostly we bobbed about and thought happy thoughts, or ate Fluffer Nutter sandwiches.  Sometimes we did both. 


On our last day, I packed up for a final afternoon on the water.  My parents and husband had left so I was alone with our two girls.  It was sunny, it was hot, we were off!

We were off when suddenly, lurch, lurch.  We were lurching.  We were . . . stopping.

Naturally my first thought was the prop.  We were in over a hundred feet of water, but still I gave it a look. Nothing.  I turned the key and we powered on and, lurched off. 

“Girls,” I said calmly,  “I think we are stuck.”

Actually we were gently drifting south.  I eyed the islands to our east.  We were on track to float past them, but if we began to veer, I needed a plan to keep from crashing into them and damaging the non-turning, increasingly annoying, prop.

I called the marina, (momentarily thankful that the region had recently installed cell phone towers), and we walked through the various protocols.
“And what about your fuel gauge?”  The lady asked.
“Well it shows a full tank…super full.”  I replied.
“Well it sounds like you at least have some gas then.” She agreed. 

They said they’d send a guy, and I prepared my anchor just in case the wind shifted us into prop-problem land. Then the girls and I settled in with our fluffernutters and drifted.  The view was still stunning, the sun still bright.

When the guy arrived he checked the fuel gauge. 
“Says full,” he confirmed.
He then checked the gas tank, which was . . . bone dry.

(Note to self:  ‘unreliable fuel gauge’ means ‘gauge has no bearing on reality as we know it in this universe’.) 

The marina guy hauled off again to procure gas and the girls and I kept up our hard work of floating ever south (Lake George is 32 miles long) while occasionally straining to dip into our stash of Oreos. 

Once we finally received our rescue fuel we took off one last time.  Props and gauges forgotten we cruised the blue waters with traces of cookie crumbs stuck to the Fluff on our chins.