My relationship with the Tooth Fairy has been a long one, since I started having children when I was twenty and I still have an eleven-year-old at home. My daughter, who is 23, still has, the pink corduroy hand made sewing kit, with a maroon heart embroidered on the front, that she got from the Tooth Fairy when she lost her first tooth. The Tooth Fairy, at my domicile, has never been interested in mere coinage. Letters from her to my children, reminding them to be mindful of the earth and thanking them for their tooth, pictures, books, magic stones, and also somehow she manages to leave behind the deeply wished for items they wanted. She really goes all out at our place, or at least she did. Sometimes, currency was used, and my children were left wondering about the identity of such a whimsical and unpredictable being. Since the Tooth Fairy and I share a common love of and profound delight in the wonders of the world, this was always a good thing.
At our house, there is also the dynamic of two radically different people who are married to each other and parenting together. You have me, the very spiritual, Jewish Mama, Lay Leader for her congregation, care-giver of people (both those living and in need and those who have died and preparing them for burial). I’m a loud, good food cookin’ and lovin’, friend of angels and fairies, wild woman. Then you have the taciturn logical, paragon of sobriety (my husband). Throw in a Tooth Fairy and it gets complicated.
So, our youngest had started to question the existence of my friend. This prompted the conversation with me that the Tooth Fairy is fairly sensitive and tends to stop visiting once her existence is questioned. That statement was met with the reassurance from my youngest that “I still believe in her, Mom.” But, mom could tell this wasn’t really true. Yet, there was just an edge of doubt in his voice, and perhaps of hope in my heart, that he really wasn’t quite sure. He hadn’t completely 100 percent moved into the daddy zone.
In case you haven’t figured this out yet, Daddy doesn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy.
Even though Daddy doesn’t believe in her, he occasionally has had to fill in for her over the years. Daddy has had to take on Tooth Fairy duty when Mommy fell asleep before she could be hosted. For me the Tooth Fairy and I dance together and exist simultaneously in the same body on those magical nights when a tooth has been placed under a pillow.
So, it was one of those nights, recently. Mommy was asleep; Daddy was on call for Tooth Fairy duty. In the morning, Ethan came into our room and informed me that the Tooth Fairy forgot to come by. Daddy responded to this announcement with a reminder that since we had just come through the pass near Bend, Oregon, full of snow with lots of stops to put on and take off our chains, the day before, that perhaps the Tooth Fairy was delayed due to having to put “chains on her wings.” Mommy gave Daddy a gentle whack under the covers, but Ethan seemed to accept this explanation.
So, things were all set for the Tooth Fairy to visit the following night. Ethan was having trouble falling asleep and Mommy again nodded off before she could do her rounds. So, the task unfortunately fell to Daddy again. In the morning, our son entered our bedroom groggy and befuddled. “Mom, I’m really confused, about the Tooth Fairy.” “Why, honey?” “Well, yesterday she forgot to come and this morning there is some money under my pillow but the tooth is still there, the Tooth Fairy doesn’t make sense.”
“Hmmm, that is strange. Well, perhaps her bag had a hole in it or something. Let’s try again tonight.” My son went to the bathroom and I turned to my hubby and said to him. “HELLO!!!! IT’S A TRANSACTION, MONEY FOR TOOTH!”
Before we could continue our conversation, our son reappeared and my beloved husband said: “Well, this is Humboldt County, perhaps our Tooth Fairy wasn’t flying on all-four cylinders last night.” At this point I got out of bed and forcefully, just shy of shouting said: “I can’t believe you would impugn the Tooth Fairy in that way!” My husband is cracking up and our son has a quizzical expression on his face. So, I start laughing too. Alas, the Tooth Fairy probably won’t ever visit our home again after this incident. Perhaps, I’ll get lucky and have grandchildren who lose their teeth while visiting, something I will be praying for from now until then.
The other important detail you need to understand this story is that unlike most of Humboldt County, we don’t partake of anything that could negatively impact our functionality as parents. I have no problem with medical marijuana use and even recreational use if it is legal and regulated and not for children or adolescents. Marijuana is not healthy for developing brains or for pregnant women.
We’re a pretty squeaky clean operation here, much to my wild woman frustration sometimes. I don’t ever want my parenting to be impaired. Even though we choose to fly/parent sober, sometimes we forget certain important details like remembering to take the tooth BEFORE you deposit the payload under the pillow.
We are also veterans of raising two children who survived growing up where being offered a joint whenever they were in town was a regular occurrence. We have prepared our youngest the same way we did the other two. We have armed our children with our stories, and experiences from the past.
If I start talking about the past now, this will turn into a huge tome. Suffice it to say, that I stopped doing drugs, even though I never did that much, when I was 18. I realized then that I didn’t need the drugs to feel the way the drugs made me feel. I walk around all the time in awe, very sensitized and in love with everyone, without help from any outside substances. Perhaps in the future, when I am an old woman, rocking to and fro, I’ll venture into those waters again.
Our older children navigated the local territory pretty well. We trust our youngest, despite this recent Tooth Fairy impugning incident, will also make the right choices for himself. We will be there for him, despite of, or because of the fact that we live in this idyllic county. We will be fully present to facilitate the next few intense years of our son’s life as he journeys into puberty and beyond. He will probably be navigating them minus a belief in whimsical childhood things, much to my dismay. He can’t really get away too easily from the Giant Whimsical Thing he lives with though………………me!
Nicole (a.k.a. Mommy or Giant Whimsical Thing) lives in Bayside and channels the Tooth Fairy on occasion. She hopes your experiences with wonder never cease, regardless of your relationship with the Tooth Fairy, who visits Humboldt County, unimpaired in her full glory wherever she is invited. Just so you know, Fairies don’t need any kind of drugs; they’re like Mommy, already in an altered state, high on the nectar of the dew and the rays of sunshine or raindrops and the magic of the planet.
Just Being Frank, Opinion Column for the Arcata Eye: Impugning the Tooth Fairy, for Shame!!!! was originally published by Nicole Barchilon Frank on June 2, 2008. It has been slightly amended from the original here. Nicole’s children are now, as of this blog posting, ages 30, 28 and 18.