Tooth Fairy


The Tooth Fairy has been to visit. No doubt she’s reconsidering her career choice now. Don’t be surprised if the value of baby teeth drops sharply. The Pixie has lost her first tooth.

That makes it sound as if it happened naturally. As if the tooth simply fell out. Hardly. She had a loose tooth for all of a few days. Then she said to me “I guess I’ll go outside and bash myself in the face with a soccer ball.” Apparently her sister thought this helpful advice. I applied reason, but the Pixie thought a hard smack to the mouth perfectly reasonable. In the end I let her go because, well, for one thing I knew where the soccer ball was, but also because Who would hit themselves in the face on purpose?

She was back a minute later bloody mouthed and bawling, tooth in hand. “That HURT!” Somehow she managed to sound both accusing and triumphant.

I wanted the tiny trophy to go in the pocket of my purse till bedtime – for safekeeping – but I was not to be trusted. I thought of all the things that have gone missing from my purse and been found in hers. I gave her the tooth.

I gave her the tooth, but in a clear, plastic box (so she could see it) roughly two inches tall and three inches wide (so she wouldn’t lose it). For the first time in all her five years she asked to go to bed early. She was excited. I feared for the rest of her teeth. The Tooth Fairy brought a crisp one dollar bill, rather than the customary golden dollar coin. Possibly she was taken by surprise. With almost a full year between teeth at our house her stock of coins may have gotten low. Her mistake was in sliding the folded bill beneath the edge of the pillow before retrieving the tooth. I can imagine her flitting all about the Pixie’s head, slender hands feeling here and there, searching fruitlessly. The tooth was not to be had. My daughter, in her earnestness, had placed the entire box directly under her head and not moved an inch. Her sleeping head pressed the small box into the mattress and neither a tiny fairy nor a full grown adult could make it budge. If she decides to stay in business, the Tooth Fairy has her work cut out for her.