Yesterday after school, Ethan decided it was time to pull his 5th tooth. When it comes to teeth, Ethan the Brave does not mess around. He has been all business since his first loose one (that I wrote about here). With the exception of one (that I wrote about here), he decides that the loosened victim needs to exit his mouth earlier than any rational person would normally consider for pulling time. Apparently #5 had gotten to that point yesterday, and he wanted that sucker out before it posed a problem with his dinner consumption. (Nothing comes between a Beckett and his food. Nothing.)
Ethan the Brave, Connor the Curious Onlooker, and Mommy the Squeamish Assistant filed into the boys’ bathroom. I should have brought a book, too, had I known I was going to spend half my life in there yesterday. I tied the dental floss. Ethan asked for prayer. (Yes, he is still heeding Hammer’s advice religiously.) Connor stuck his head inside Ethan’s mouth at all the wrong times. REPEAT ad nauseum. The floss kept breaking or slipping off. Ethan would pull too softly or too hard. Connor would block his view. Ethan would ask me to pray that it would not hurt and then later that the darn thing would just come out. Weeds and cobwebs starting growing around my feet. After at least 5 pieces of dental floss tied and retied, at least 45 minutes in the bathroom, and at least 4 group prayers aloud, we finally had victory! That bad boy tooth did have the root of a viciously long dagger. Veteran Ethan calmly requested that his Squeamish Assistant get him salt water to gargle with and help stop the bleeding.
He put the latest conquest in his lost tooth container (the ONLY prize from a kids’ game place that has not gone into the trash can and was worth every ridiculous ticket it costed). We texted Daddy the above picture right away. His Daddy and I told him how proud we were of him and his persistent bravery. That night he put the container housing #5 under his pillow and dreamed of the Tooth Fairy’s sure visit.
Or not so sure. 😦 I confess I forgot AGAIN! With tooth #2, I woke up remembering my negligence and somehow quickly appeased the situation. This time, I did not remember AT ALL. I was rushing around packing their lunch boxes, wondering if my unshowered hair smell was truly offensive or mildly offensive and if the latter then was it passable for the day, and barking orders to the boys in full drill sergeant mode. Then our daily morning movie went from its usually rushing speed to an eerily screeching halt when Ethan decided to tell me what he had already discovered much earlier, “Mommy, the Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night.” He was looking at me while holding up the blasted tooth container which happens to be red like the imagined blood on Lady MacBeth’s guilty hands.
After the Earth stood still for a second, we resumed our hectic morning routine in full swing while I stuttered something like, “Maybe she wasn’t ready because you pulled it out so early. You can try again tonight. Maybe you could write her a letter to put with it!”
I have been trying to get Ethan to start writing letters for months. He has adorable, personalized dinosaur stationary that I requested as a gift from his uncle and aunt. He also has adorable, personalized return address labels a dear friend sent him. I remember having pen pals as a child and want him to grow up with the same wonderful experience. I figured that now is the perfect time since he is old enough to write (somewhat) complete sentences yet too young for Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. Every time I have suggested it though, he has thrown his body to the ground in violent protest as though I’ve asked for volunteers for a child sacrifice. Maybe my failure as a mother last night was subconscious attempts to make him a letter-writing enthusiast by manipulating his desire for Tooth Fairy money and exploiting it for cute stationary usage. As if piling what inspires him to body slam himself on top off the massive disappointment of his wasted dreams makes me look any better as a mother.
Ethan simply responded, “Why would having a letter there make her come if the tooth by itself didn’t?” Hanging by a gummy thread, I still answered, “Maybe having two things under the pillow would make her more likely to know to come?” The lame lies kept on pouring out of me.
Maybe my forgetfulness of this eagerly anticipated and well-deserved visit was because I wanted to hone his critical thinking skills. Just because Mommy says the Tooth Fairy is coming doesn’t necessarily mean she is. When Mommy’s explanations of why she did not come sound rather lame, then maybe they truly are. Maybe I should not believe everything I hear or read or watch just because my political party or Facebook posts or YouTube videos tell me so. What’s up with this Tooth Fairy anyways? Why did she forget again? Why does she skimp out on me yet give others enough for their own Swiss bank account? Why does she want my dagger-rooted teeth that make my Mommy shudder and come to think of it are pretty nasty? Why? I wasn’t born yesterday! I was born just 7 short years ago…when magic should still be filling me with awe and the wonder of waking up $1 richer should continue to delight me to the bone.
Maybe the truth of the matter is that Mommy is like Britney in her repeated imperfections as well as her awesome dance moves and singing gusto. (The latter two similarities might be up for debate.) Even if I were the best mother in the world, I still could not keep Ethan from realizing that people, even his most dearly loved ones, will undoubtedly mess up and disappoint him. I vowed off my slacker mom ways once the boys were old enough to form long-term memory. However, even I cannot beat the force of human nature. I hope that rather than be bitter or scarred or think poorly of every Tooth Fairy no matter how big or little her pillow gifts are that Ethan will grow in the ability to give and accept grace. Because in the end, we are all in need of it and the better we can bestow it on others the more likely we are to reflect true Love. And Love does indeed make the world go round (even if parenting failures make it stop momentarily).
I’m going to take the advice someone gave me earlier today and have the Tooth Fairy add some interest for her tardiness. Sometimes we need a little help in giving grace and I have no doubt an extra 50 cents will ensure Ethan’s ability to extend it in abundance. “Tooth Fairy duties” @ 10pm this time IS on my phone reminder. Let’s hope interest gained for #5 does not grow to $1. Oh, baby, baby.