Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Confessions of a Tooth Fairy

Let's admit it- I'm the Tooth Fairy ( and the Tickle Fairy, and the Cuddle Fairy...) in my house. And I am a cheapskate (like many other parents out there!).

M's first baby tooth fell out with much fanfare, and considering what it had cost me in sleepless nights while she was cutting it, I thought it deserved a celebratory amount 'Five dollars and five cents'.

Why the five cents, you may ask? Just a strange conceit. In India, it's quite customary to offer gifts in the amount of 51 or 101 rupees and such, mine was to make the age of first tooth loss more memorable by making it $5.05.

Everyone had fun asking M what her haul was from the first tooth and everybody gaped when they heard the amount. "You're going to be rich by time you lose your last baby tooth!" In the mean time, the Tooth Fairy was seriously in doubt of her lapse of judgement. Perhaps she should have stuck to the traditional shiny new quarter after all.

Second tooth: M placed her tooth in a ziploc baggie under her pillow. When she eagerly lifted it up the next morning, she found a slightly grungy one dollar bill. " Look, Amma.The Tooth Fairy has given me only one dollar this time!"
" Maybe she's on a strict budget. Your first tooth must have been a very special one for you to get five dollars for it". M didn't look too happy, but she didn't question my reasoning, either. Bullet dodged- for this time at least.

Third tooth: Same old routine. M lifted up her pillow in anticipation to find the ziploc baggie intact. "Where did the Tooth Fairy go?", she wailed.
"Perhaps she's vacationing in Aruba, where the Tickle Fairy went last year. She'll get to it when she' s back from her holiday, I'm sure."
" Hey, where did the Tickle Fairy go? When will she come back to play with me?" (Oops, that wasn't such a good idea to remind her of the Tickle Fairy who went on a permanent sabbatical to Cancun earlier last autumn. )
The Tooth Fairy showed up a couple of days later with a brand new crispy clean note straight out of the ATM.
" least this isn't dirty like the last one." M placed it with care in a little purse she designated for her Tooth Fairy money.

Fourth tooth: Snore. Same delayed effect.

Fifth tooth. Sixth tooth. Seventh. They fall with never failing monotony now, as the dentist peeks into M's mouth and assures me some of them might have to 'come out to make more space as the jaw is getting crowded'!!!!!

Eight tooth: This comes home from school in the cutest little tooth shaped holder necklace, courtesy of Mr D, a classmate's dad who is a dentist and gave a small supply to the class teacher.
The Tooth Fairy didn't arrive any faster for this one though. She still took her time to show up.

The last tooth didn't fare so well, having gotten shaken out while changing the bed sheets. M took it with a philosophical expression. "Next time, maybe!"

I'm half-dreading and half-welcoming the day when her last baby tooth vanishes into the trash without so much as a 'By your leave' to the Tooth Fairy. It won't be long in coming, I think.

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