Right before we left for Disney Layla told me she had a loose tooth. I was frantically running around the house trying to start packing and she came up and said “look Mom, I have a loose tooth!”.
I didn’t look at first. I thought she was just hoping she had a loose one because some of her friends at school have lost teeth. But she begged me to look so I stopped what I was doing, leaned over and said “let me do it”. I put my finger on her tooth and it moved. A lot.
I did the sensible thing and turned around silently with tears in my eyes trying to compose myself. I also gagged a little because I just don’t do teeth.
My baby was going to loose her first tooth. The very first tooth she cut- the very tooth that made me realize teething (and parenting in general really) was no joke. That tooth was hard work for all of us- restless nights, frozen wash rags, slight fevers and crying…OH the crying. And now the little stinker is just going to fall out on us?
I’m happy to declare no more teething babies in this house but this new milestone is really getting to me. Baby teeth are vacating making room for adult teeth. As Layla says “the same teeth YOU have?”.
I can hardly deal emotionally. Physically I will loose my lunch if she taunts me with wiggling it much longer. You’re killin’ me smalls.
Fast forward the day after I took that picture. Layla comes hoping off the bus after school with something dangling from her neck. She practically throws herself in the car, gives me a crooked smile and says casually “I lost my tooth”.
“YOU WHAT?!?!”. This isn’t really how I pictured this moment going down. I was envisioning more blood, lots of tears and a few screams (from me mostly). She was so excited but being very chill about it. When did she grow up?
We always sit down and have a snack after school so I put a juice box in front of her and a Pop Tart. I could see her bite into her food like it was weird, then watched as she proceeded to pull her straw up and out of the spot her tooth vacated. Kids are so gross guys. She thinks it’s hilarious.
As she ate snack I realized I wasn’t ready for any of this. I have no cash and I don’t know what the Tooth Fairy does. Does she leave a note? How much money does she leave? How does she know a child has lost their tooth? Is there something special that happens with the first? What does the Tooth Fairy do with the teeth? What if your kid catches you sneaking away with their tooth? So many questions!
So I did what I always do- arrive late to the party. I told Layla that when you loose your first tooth you get to order a special pillow for your teeth from a magical place called Amazon.com. You can submit my Mother of the Year nomination in before voting ends in December under my full name Ashley “Better Late Than Never” Barton.
We went online together and she picked out this cute owl pillow.
Layla is under the impression that the Tooth Fairy leaves $250 for the first tooth. I’m not sure how she came to that conclusion but I told her the Tooth Fairy doesn’t carry that much money, it would simply be too hard for her to fly. She then asked me a series of very specific questions regarding how big the Tooth Fairy actually is. This leads me to question my entire childhood because again, I don’t know. I never asked these questions so I never got answers. Maybe we need to call the Grandmas, they’ll tell me what to do.
One Grandma says the Tooth Fairy absolutely should leave $250 and laughs, the other Grandma says glitter should be involved. We will no longer have phone consultations with the Grandmas while children are present.
The owl pillow was delivered 2 days later and Layla was ready for the Tooth Fairy but was hesitant about her actually taking the tooth. I told her we could write a note (thinking we’d do this together) asking the Tooth Fairy to leave the tooth for awhile and see what happens. Layla took it upon herself to write her own note while I was busy with dinner. It was too cute to try and correct so we left it as is:
“Can I keep my tooth for 2 more years?” <3 “I love you”. I’m keeping this girl forever. She also wanted to make sure the Tooth Fairy had something to take since she wasn’t giving up the tooth so she packed a piece of watermelon gum and a painting she did into the pocket along with her tooth.
Layla seemed pretty pumped about things at bedtime. She kept the pillow in plain sight and couldn’t wait to see what the morning would bring.
Nothing really prepares you for these traditions as a parent. I always envisioned making a huge deal about these things. Being ready for Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. I thought it would all be just as magical for me now as it was when I was a kid. But the truth of the matter is, (SPOILER COMING NEXT) the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist and it’s a lot of freaking work for us parents to live up to the expectations of our own childhoods.
The Tooth Fairy left $2 because that’s what she found in her husband’s wallet. She almost forgot to visit Layla’s room before she retired for the night but remembered as she was plugging her phone in that she needed to find some cash fast. The Tooth Fairy’s husband was the one to make the transaction and when he counseled her on what to do with the artwork and piece of gum that was given in exchange for the cash, he looked in horror as the Tooth Fairy said “just throw them away in the laundry room garage so we don’t get caught”. Yep, it was a very magical experience for the Tooth Fairy.
Layla woke up to find her prize. She wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about it. She was, however, very excited that the tooth was left behind.
Her second tooth is just starting to wiggle a bit so it’s only a matter of weeks before the Tooth Fairy will be called to duty at the Barton house again. To cover her bases she’s going to the bank to get a stash of fun currency (maybe dollar coins or $2 bills?). She’ll get enough for each of her kids’ teeth so she’ll never have to worry about making the call unprepared again.
It is hard work but truth be told, I love these traditions. I’m willing to let the Tooth Fairy take credit for awhile. I have been blessed to be able to experience childhood twice- once through my own eyes and another through the eyes of my kids. It may not be going according to plan, but my kids don’t see anything but magic through their eyes.
My friends, a childhood it is WAY more rewarding and possibly more forgiving the second time.