The unthinkable happened last night. The tooth fairy forgot to come. If my nine-year old would have felt it acceptable, I am sure, upon discovering her jaded little incisor still under her pillow, she would have said (in an exasperated voice) “What the fuck?”
When Maggie came into our bedroom this morning and disturbed us from our slumber, she had disappointment in her voice. “Mommy and Daddy, my tooth is still here. The tooth fairy didn’t come last night. Why do you think that is?”
I peeled open one-eye. Natural light had entered our room. Clearly, I couldn’t tell her to go back to sleep. I looked at the clock: 8:09 AM. Damn it. I missed darkness by less than a half hour. Anyway, even if it was a half hour earlier, what would be the chances that she could have fallen back to sleep?
“Honey, the tooth fairy would never forget about you. She knows the tooth is under your pillow. My best guess is that she had some kind of flight issues. Maybe there was a sandstorm in Saudi Arabia?”
“Mommmmyyyyyyyy.” She stood with her hands on her hips and her head tilted. The classic, “As if” or “That is so stupid!” pose.
Tom had not moved yet, and I wasn’t sure if he was awake, but at this point, still with his back to Maggie, facing the opposite wall, he chimed in.
“Maybe we need to call Vinny and see about busting some fairy knee caps.”
“Daddy, no!” She knew he was kidding but she played along.
“How’s she gonna get her money if the Tooth Fairy is broken?” I asked.
“Yeah, I want her to still take my tooth,” she agreed.
“Okay. Okay.” He rolled over so he was facing her. ”I’ll tell Vinny to give her a chance. I know she will come tonight. The tooth fairy didn’t forget.”
“You promise?” she said in a baby voice. I hate the baby voice. She is nine. Every time she pulls out the baby voice I think about throwing some dastardly truth into her lap and telling her that I wouldn’t have told a baby, so stop using that voice.
“I promise,” he said.
She smiled. Obviously, Daddy’s story was better than mine. Obviously, Daddy has some insight about the tooth fairy that makes his promise and his reassurance more believable than mine. Obviously, she should have walked over to his side of the bed and talked to him first.
“She will probably bring you an extra dollar tonight, too,” he added in.
“Really?” She clasped her hands, and I could see her trying to calculate when this week she will ask me to take her to Target to buy junk from the dollar aisle. Satisfied, she said she was hungry and went downstairs to the kitchen to try to find something for breakfast.
Once he was sure Maggie was well out of earshot, my husband, who does not feel it unacceptable to swear, did say, “What the fuck? I went to bed early because I am sick. How does the tooth fairy forget?”
“I don’t know. She has so much on her mind all week, she forgot. It wasn’t done on purpose.”
“It’s gonna cost her.”
“Oh I know,” I said. “I was there when you were promising away more of the tooth fairy’s money.”
“At least I’m not calling Vinny and breaking knee caps.”
And so the story draws to a close. Maggie will have to wait an extra day, but she will get an extra dollar. The tooth fairy will be punished, but she will go unharmed. Worst part is that she has been found out: she is not infallible; she makes mistakes. Nonetheless, I happen to know that she is one cool chick!