Our son Dave posted a photo on Facebook this past weekend of our 6-year-old granddaughter Magnolia proudly displaying a smile with a missing tooth – her first. Our son’s post stated it was the last first tooth lost in their household, as Magnolia is the youngest. While we love to watch our kids grow, it’s always poignant.
For her part, Maggie Faith was eager to see what the tooth fairy would bring her in exchange for that tooth. I remember those days, both personally awaiting the tooth fairy and making sure my son Court got a reward when he began losing his baby teeth.
As I meditated upon her missing tooth, I recalled that recently when I was cleaning out one of my bedroom drawers, I came across a little carrying case in the shape of a tooth. When I opened it, I found all of Court’s baby teeth. I don’t remember saving them, and I’m not sure how I feel about that, but oddly, I can’t seem to throw them away. In fact, they moved – along with me – to several different houses. Maybe I should make a necklace? Maybe not.
But upon further pondering about Maggie Faith’s lost tooth, another story came to mind.
Several years ago, our son and daughter-in-law – Maggie’s parents – traveled out of the country for a week or so. The McLain clan operates on the wise philosophy that it takes a village. As such, all hands that were available had a role to play in the care of the four McLain kids during their parents’ absence. My role involved picking them up from school, making sure homework got done and children got fed. Our son Allen spent each night with the kids. So, at the end of dinner, we would tag team. One of us would clean up from dinner and the other would start the bath and bedtime regime. Once the kids were in bed, I would leave the kids in the good care of their Uncle Allen.
Let me just add at this point that the whole prospect was so daunting that I requested that Bec fly in to add moral (and physical) support. She did so, for which I will be eternally grateful.
But one night as I was tucking then-7-year-old Alastair into bed, just before I turned out the lights, he said to me quietly, “Nana, I lost a tooth yesterday, and I put it under my pillow last night, but the tooth fairy didn’t take it.”
So I thought quickly on my feet and told him that I was certain that a LOT of kids had lost teeth yesterday, and the tooth fairy was extraordinarily busy, but that I was sure she would come that very night. We carefully placed it once again under his pillow.
I quickly ran downstairs and called in the Big Guns. That would be his then-9-year-old sister Adelaide, who hadn’t believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy for a couple of years. As an aside, it was actually the tooth fairy that raised Addie’s suspicions. Wise beyond her years since birth, it made no sense to her that a fairy could (or would) carry all of those teeth around. And once you realize your parents are lying to you about that, the rest of your fairy tale beliefs crumble as well. Ah, the sad realities of childhood.
Anyway, I ran downstairs and in a panicked voice, asked her, “Addie, what’s the going rate for the tooth fairy these days?” I’m pretty sure I used to get a nickel, Court probably got a quarter, but inflation had undoubtedly impacted the tooth fairy world.
Used to her nana’s panic, I don’t think she even looked up from her computer as she said, “I don’t really know, but I think it’s probably fifty cents.”
So I rummaged through the bottom of my purse until I came up with two quarters covered in lint. I handed them to Allen, explained the situation, and made him promise on his grandfather’s grave that he wouldn’t forget to place those quarters under Alastair’s pillow once he had fallen asleep.
“And don’t forget to take the tooth,” I added.
Well, Allen didn’t forget and Alastair happily told me the next day that the tooth fairy had come and taken his tooth and he got FIFTY CENTS! A veritable fortune.
Anyway, between my many grandkids, there are certainly a lot of teeth yet to fall out, but thankfully I’m not responsible for any of them. I’ll leave that up to a more efficient tooth fairy.
I want to leave you with this recipe for heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies – my Valentine’s Day gift to Bill. They are a cross between a traditional chocolate chip cookie and a shortbread cookie, and are extremely yummy.
This particular recipe came to me through a circuitous internet route, but originated from Sugarbaker’s Cookie Cutter Cookbook.