You can’t handle the tooth!

Dear Tooth Fairy,

Thank you for your visit to our home this week. We have a happy (toothless) 7 year old despite your somewhat questionable performance of late.

I fully understand the magnitude of your job and the vast geographical area you have to cover but a little consistency wouldn’t go amiss. This is, after all, your sole vocation and the very purpose for your existence. And frankly, we need to talk.

Over the years, we have had teeth fall out in dramatic and not-so-dramatic ways. Sometimes the tooth is wobbly for 2 weeks and then just drops out mid-sentence. At other times there is more excitement, a more theatrical story worthy of a school News item or a parental Facebook post. We have had a tooth fall out in the swimming pool (and remarkably retrieved), one fall out whilst eating corn on the cob, and one fall out on the soccer pitch mid-game (and sadly lost forever despite my attempts to comb the area like a sniffer dog).

These prized possessions are carefully placed under pillows in various forms: in sealed sandwich bags, in pretty jewellery boxes, with a special thank you note, and – for the optimistic – just loose, kept in place by the weight of a hopeful little head.

When that tooth fell out on the soccer pitch, the 7 year old was distraught.

‘If I can’t put it under my pillow, how will the Tooth Fairy know that I’ve lost it?’ he wailed.

‘How about we write her a letter?’

So we did. We told you exactly what happened, we gave you an address and a description of the pitch as well as coordinates of the incident so you could retrieve the tooth. We put that letter under his pillow and crossed our fingers.

My kids go to bed all excited at the promise of you, mythical creature, visiting at night to collect the prized tooth (or letter of explanation) and leaving, as a reward for this amazing feat of nature, monetary compensation.

I’m not sure if you are just too busy, too tired or have a glass of wine and just forget, but there have been too many instances of a child running into my bedroom at 6am with the tooth in hand and a trembling lower lip, crying that you didn’t come. Do you know how heart-breaking that is? Do you know how terrible that makes me feel? This is a parenting fail that is much, much worse than ‘incomplete baby book’ or ‘Happy Meal for lunch’.

I then have to make up all kinds of excuses for your incompetence. The one I end up having to use most often is that you were a bit clumsy and the money must have fallen behind the bed. I ask the child to wait in my room while I investigate. And sure enough, there it is, a gold coin (or note depending on the guilt factor) under the blanket, on the floor or sometimes tucked inside the pillowcase.

There is still a minor problem. I present the money (my money) to the child and explain the situation. But a 7 year old understands the concept of a fair deal.

‘Why didn’t she take the tooth?’

This is how one little lie can lead to another. And I blame you for it, Miss Fairy.

‘Maybe she had enough teeth this week. Maybe she wanted you to keep it because it’s so beautiful. Maybe she will come back for it tomorrow.’

We’re keeping up our end of this contract. You, however, are falling short, and I am sick and tired of cleaning up your mess.

I recommend a performance improvement plan. Otherwise you may be relegated to the ranks of ‘Mythical Creatures We No Longer Believe In’ like Santa Claus.

Oh, and you owe me lots of tooth money, with interest. I’ll be in touch.

©2017 Seetha Dodd