(side note: My kids love this song. They are currently walking through the kitchen singing Nathan's interpretation of it --"walk through the hall, but you're still late..." You would think he's been to high school or something. ???)
It all started last night when Isaiah was sent to brush his teeth. After a few seconds he calls out in a sing-song voice, "Come here, Mommy. It's something happy." Since nothing "happy" has been associated with the bathrooms for some time now, I'm up for a treat. I look in to see the sink full of bloody toothpaste (oh joy, more body fluids). Isaiah stands proudly with foaming pink spit dripping down his chin, smiling and pointing in his signature way to a small tooth lying on the corner of the sink.
Let me interrupt the current story to share a brief summation of tooth pulling at our house. There's Mamoune. The ever conflicted stoic drama queen. She pulls her own teeth out without anyone even knowing they were loose. The stoic part. Then she makes a grand entrance with hips swiveling and eyelashes fluttering to announce her conquest. If she were a better speller/reader I have no doubt she would fashion her own "applause" cue cards. It's not about money, it's about fame.
Then there's Nathan. Nathan believes, despite his parents constant reassurance, that every tooth in his head is directly rooted into his brain and pulling the wrong one will result in a horrific and painful death. He wants to be a marine. I could be mistaken but I think there is an unwritten rule in which pulling a tooth without hysterical screaming is prerequisite to taking a bullet for your country. As for money -we could flash a 100 dollar bill in his face and still his mouth would be clamped shut.
And finally, we have Isaiah. His first teeth came out while we were visiting a family in Kentucky. We put the kids down for bed and shortly after Nathan came out and excitedly reported that Isaiah had pulled his tooth. We congratulated Izzy and settled them all back into bed. Five minutes later, the whole gang comes bustling down the hall "Isaiah pulled another tooth!" At this point we're thinking dude, are you just bored? Fortunately he stopped at two that night. Fear of dying? Not an issue. Overpowering drive for recognition? Nope. For Isaiah it's all about the cash. Back to our story:
Me: (with less enthusiasm than a good mom should have) You're tooth fell out.
Izzy: (with more enthusiasm than any person should have) I GET MONEY! YES!!!
He put the tooth in a Ziploc bag and stored it under his pillow. This is where the system breaks down. See, we've never really done the official Tooth Fairy gig. It wasn't so much about deep spiritual convictions as it was about figuring that our reality was grueling enough without having the added pressure of keeping some tooth-stealing pixie under wraps. We had the same theory about the Easter Bunny. (Lazy Parenting 101 sign ups in the comment section) Instead, we made it a game. If Mom (aka Tooth Fairy) can get into your room and slide the money under your pillow without waking you up -you get to keep the money. If you wake up -Mom gets to keep the money.
No, it doesn't make a lot of sense but it works in two important ways: we don't have to keep up the Tinker Bell charade AND I barely have to sneak because even if they did wake up they would never let on. Everybody wins. Unless of course, Mom pops up at 5:45 am and says "craaayup!"
There was one saving grace. Nathan and Isaiah had switched bunks last night. Nathan had a fever and fearing the worst, a recurrence of stomach flu, we put Nathan on the bottom for easier bathroom access. Ah, a plan was emerging. My hero, Twinkle Toes Tim, went out to the truck to retrieve some spare change. Put it in a baggy and then penned the following note and placed it on the kitchen table:
Where were you? I almost gave your money to Nathan! Since I couldn't find you, I put your $$ in the Christmas tree. Bet you can't find it! (I knew you would come to the table today!)
We pulled it off with only one hitch -the stand-in tooth fairy meant to give $1 but somehow only counted out 95 cents. Must be the costs of gas in fairy land. =)
LATE ADDENDUM: We get a chance to redeem ourselves. The boy just popped out another tooth. Freak.