The Madness came into my room in the morning, clutching her tiny, purple treasure chest. The one the school nurse put her lost tooth in the day before. Her FIRST EVER lost tooth.
I am such an asshole. In this moment, I can’t even fall to the ground weeping and beg her forgiveness for being SUCH a horrifically bad mom. I am frozen in parenting limbo, my brain scrambling for some excuse as to why the tooth fairy…that’s it! Blame the tooth fairy – that lazy, good-for-nothing…no, dammit, that’s a cop out. Also, I have an aversion to going for the easy lie. “The tooth fairy just isn’t that bright” was the lie my dad used to hand me when HE forgot. And even he wouldn’t have forgotten the first time. Probably. I am NOT my father…no matter what mom says.
Madness is looking at me. Her lower lip is quivering. Her hair is all tangled and askew with sleep. She suddenly looks so much younger than that “oh my god she’s growing up so fast” look she usually plays.
We’ve been discussing the tooth for weeks. She tried to break apart a couple of stuck legos and pop, loose tooth. Her friend got $20 for his first lost tooth and he brings that up in the carpool on the reg. The girls are duly impressed. I’m trying not to murder his parents, because I love them and because in this moment I would give her a hundred bucks to stop looking at me like that.
“I blame Bubbie,” I say. I don’t even feel bad about it. 37 and I’m still blaming my mom for my mistakes and STILL not feeling bad about it. Thank God for Bubbie.
Well that stops the tears. “Bubbie?”
Madness loves Bubbie. Bubbie can do no wrong. And, also, how could a grandmother who lives 40 minutes away possibly be to blame?
“It’s the crystals. Bubbie put those crystals all over your room to keep out monsters and bad dreams and something about energy. How is a little old tooth fairy supposed to get past all those magical wards?” Years of fantasy novels are SO paying off right now.
She nods. It’s all starting to make sense. She opens the little box and looks at her tooth.
“So does this mean we can do a science experiment with it?”
Oh man, her dad would be so proud but there is no way she is dissolving her first ever lost tooth in Coke. “Or I can buy it off you.”
“Yeah, I’d love to keep your first lost tooth. That’s a pretty big deal. How much you want for it?” I’m afraid for my wallet.
She considers. “Three quarters. That’s how much the tooth fairy REALLY gives you.”
I love that she totally believes the crystals story right now but she thinks her friend is lying about the $20. Or she just really doesn’t understand money. “I’ll give you four,” I say, brimming with generosity.
She smiles. Crisis averted. I’m the worst mother in the world and she just doesn’t care. She doesn’t even know. Because crystals.
And lies. Lies fix everything.
The important thing is that we all learned a valuable lesson here.
(Update: We took her out to sushi to celebrate the lost tooth. It cost WAY more than $20. Guilt is expensive.)
(Update 2: She lost her other tooth and just gave it to me because one of the quarters turned out to be a dollar coin…so now we’re even? I’m thinking of starting a necklace.)