Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

It is really starting to amaze me what kids will believe. I mean, we just got through Christmas and the whole Santa Claus thing again. Here’s the story, kid: A fat man in a red suit who lives at the top of the world with a bunch of toy-making elves came to our house in a sleigh pulled by flying deer. He landed on our roof and came down our chimney while we were all sleeping and delivered Razor scooters.

Now, never mind the logistics of a round-the-world trip with six billion stops in one night. That is the easiest part of the story to swallow as far as I’m concerned. We have a concrete tile roof with no snow and a 35-degree pitch, yet my kids think someone landed a sleigh on it. Apparently, flying deer make sense to them, and the fact that our gas fireplace chimney is really just a 3-inch diameter pipe doesn’t faze them. I guess they figure if the fat man can get here with flying deer, he can fit himself, two Razor scooters and a soccer ball down a hole the size of a water glass.

I have to cut them some amount of slack regarding Santa, since it’s undoubtedly the most popular world-wide myth being perpetrated on children. It’s easier to fool them because we parents have our story straight about Saint Nick.

We are currently dealing with another benevolent, magical house-visiting stranger, but this one is weirder. Weirder than a man who lives with scooter-producing elves and flying caribou, you ask? Yes. I’m talking about the Tooth Fairy.

My six-year-old, Son Number One as he is called, has been losing his baby teeth for a while now. He recently lost number three and four, which happened to be his two front teeth, so he now looks like a really unfortunate beaver. When he lost his first tooth about a year ago, we introduced the Tooth Fairy to the boys.

Here’s how the conversation went:
“Now that you’ve lost this tooth, we need to put it in an envelope and put it under your pillow.”
“So the Tooth Fairy will come and bring you money.”
“The Tooth Fairy?”
“Yes. The Tooth Fairy comes and takes your teeth out from under your pillow and leaves you money.”
“Oh, OK.”

OK?!? What do you mean, “OK?” Don’t you have about a bazillion other questions?

Who is the Tooth Fairy? Is the Tooth Fairy a he or a she? Where does she live? How does she know where we live? How does she get in the house? How does she get into our room? How does she know which room is ours? How does she get under my pillow? Why do we leave the tooth under my pillow instead of out on the dresser? How does she even know I lost a tooth? There are three of us in this room, so how does she know which pillow? Does she just check under all the pillows? Why does this happen at night instead of at lunch or at school?

And the biggest unasked question, in my opinion…“WHY?” Why does the Tooth Fairy want my teeth? Why is she willing to pay for them? What does she do with them?

I mean, as an adult, I would immediately question her motives as well as her under-the-pillow drop spot. Santa can do his thing downstairs by the fireplace all night as far as I’m concerned, but if you’re telling me someone will be getting under my pillow while I’m sleeping on it, some serious questions are going to be asked. And if I don’t like any of the answers, the Tooth Fairy is likely to find a gun under that pillow, not an incisor.

But, a simple, “OK,” is what I got from my boys, and they woke up in the morning excited about Number One’s shiny new dollar coin. They are really gullible! That reminds me… We parents really need to get on the same page about a few things regarding this tooth-hoarding nymph.

For starters, we should all come to a consensus on amount of money given per tooth. Back in my day it was a nickel or a dime at my house, but some of the kids at school were getting quarters. I always thought that was a little weird. Why did she pay Billy more for his stupid teeth?

Nowadays, with the inflated price of health care, we’re up to a dollar per tooth with my kids, but I have heard some parents saying five dollars. Besides the fact that I have three boys and would go broke at five dollars per tooth, it just seems like too much. At those prices the kids might start getting suspicious and asking more questions, and I think we can all agree, nobody wants that. Also, if the price gets too high, we’ll have kids in the garage pulling out each other’s teeth with dad’s needle-nose pliers, trying to score enough cash for a new Nintendo. Not good.

We also need to agree on what she does with the teeth. We should get our story straight for the kids, but mostly we should all figure out what to actually do with the teeth. My wife and I are currently saving them in an envelope, but neither one of us can figure out who’s idea that was, or why we’re doing it. What are we saving them for?

Come to think of it, I’m out four bucks so far, and all I have to show for it is four used teeth that I don’t really want in an envelope. Maybe my boys aren’t the gullible ones in this situation.

Why ARE we keeping these? Why are we paying our children for their old teeth? Those are really the big unanswered questions here. I have four tiny teeth in my dresser drawer that I don’t want right now, and I would really like to get those questions answered before I’m down sixty bucks, holding sixty baby teeth, and wondering, “What now?”

Let’s all get together and discuss. I can meet on Thursday evenings.

See you soon,

Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

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