Monday, October 14, 2013

I AM The Tooth Fairy

About two months ago my six-year-old son lost his first tooth.  In fact, faithful readers of this blog may recall that I described the loss of this body part in gory detail.  That initial tooth loss was a bit traumatic for my son, but since then he has lost three more and has become quite comfortable with the event. Indeed, the third time around he physically pulled out his own tooth at the dinner table, much to the amazement of the rest of us sitting there munching on our taco salad.

With the loss of teeth comes the inevitable visit from the Tooth Fairy. That would be me.  I am the Tooth Fairy.  I am the living embodiment of that mythical creature and I take my role seriously.  Each time a tooth comes out I lay in wait for two hours after my son goes to bed.  If I go in too early I risk being seen by my son and destroying his childhood innocence.  (My intent is for him to believe in the Tooth Fairy until he’s at least 18.)  When the time is right and I can detect slow, rhythmic breathing coming from his bedroom, I slowly turn his doorknob and gingerly step in on slippered-feet. 

The distance from my son’s door to his bed is probably about eight feet.  Moving ever so slowly so as not to produce even the faintest of noises, I traverse those eight feet in about 90 seconds.  Once at his bedside the operation becomes significantly trickier.  The tooth is centered directly underneath the pillow.  How my son’s head is positioned on the pillow will determine the angle my hand takes to get at the tooth and replace it with a dollar. In three of four instances so far this maneuver, although tense, was relatively easy to pull off.  In those cases his head was positioned on the side or bottom of the pillow and my hand was able to quickly and efficiently get in and out without ever coming into contact with his head. 

The last time around was not so easy.   When I opened my son’s door I saw that he was sleeping on his left side with his shoulder touching the bottom of the pillow and his head firmly resting dead center on the pillow.  The scene looked too risky so I decided not to chance it and figured if I came back in 30 minutes he may have changed to a more favorable position.

Thirty minutes later when I returned, my son’s position had not changed very much. If anything, his head had sunk deeper into the center of the pillow.  Yet something had to be done.  It was nearing midnight and I had work the next day.  I moved toward his bed with a level of stealth that would make a ninja salivate.  Slowly I knelt down next to his bed until I was eye level with the seam between his mattress and pillow.  I pressed my right hand firmly down on the mattress and began to gradually slide it beneath the pillow.  Millimeter by millimeter my fingers crept forward until it became apparent that the full weight of my son’s skull was bearing down exactly where his tooth resided.  Beads of sweat trickled down my forehead as I sensed that at any moment the boy might awaken and let out a scream that would set off car alarms.  Yet my son did not budge and soon my fingertips felt his tiny central incisor.  Ever so gently I pulled the tooth out with my right hand while my left hand began the laborious task of putting the dollar in the tooth’s place.  Something on the order of 47 minutes later my task was accomplished and I backed out of my son’s room secure in the knowledge that my secret identity was still safe.

I am the Tooth Fairy.  And I am exhausted.