When I picked up the Gort from school on Wednesday, he greeted me with a customary smile.
I couldn’t help but notice something was awry in his mouth. One of his upper teeth was hanging at a forty-five degree angle. ‘You have to pull out that tooth,’ I insisted. Slightly grossed out by his altered smile.
I’ve concluded there are two types of people in this world: people who brazenly yanked out their own teeth when they were young and people who hoped that, with enough halfhearted wiggling, the teeth would just fall out. On their own. Without outside interference. I’m a proud member of the second set. As is our seven year old.
Which is why the professor is on tooth-pulling duty, chez nous. I can’t stand the idea of pulling anyone’s teeth out of their mouth. Not my own. And certainly not my spawn’s.
So when Mr. Johnson walked through the door late afternoon, I surreptitiously handed him a Kleenex and motioned in the direction of our seven year old who was sitting on the couch, reading, occasionally pushing against his tooth with the tip of his tongue.
He approached the Gort under auspices of ‘checking’ the status of the errant tooth. But…..he missed. I suggested the Gort eat a sticky fruit leather. A hard apple. He declined. But, I was determined the sun would not set upon my crooked-toothed-child. So I lured my reluctant son back to his father’s Kleenex….with a Lindt easter egg. It’s not my proudest moment as a mother, but I may have pinned his arms to his sides while his dad yanked out the tooth.
And then it was done.
The Gort placed the tooth in a container under his pillow and went to sleep. The next morning, at 6.30am, he crawled in my bed. Devastated. ‘The tooth fairy took my tooth and didn’t leave me any money,’ he sniffled. And with that tearful lament, I was guilted into awake status. How had I forgotten the tooth?
But he’d said the tooth was gone?
‘Did you take the tooth,’ I inquired of the professor when the blondie was out of earshot. He hadn’t. So the inconsolable Gort and I searched his bedroom later that day. I found the little tooth, lying on the floor behind his bed. ‘Look, here’s your tooth,’ I triumphed. ‘The tooth fairy couldn’t leave you any money because your tooth wasn’t there.’
Not because the tooth fairy totally forgot.
So we placed the tooth in an orange easter egg under his pillow. And then he went to sleep. Again.
Late in the evening, I checked on my sleeping cherubs. I was just about to crawl into my own bed, when I remembered about the tooth. I grabbed the two-dollar-coin and fairy-note I’d set aside earlier and tiptoed back to the Gort’s pillow. I retrieved the tooth but just as I was about to place the note and coin inside the egg, he stirred. I fell to the ground with a thumping heart. He turned over on his side and continued his slumber. I hastily shoved the note and toonie under his pillow and bolted from the room.
The next morning, a much happier boy showed off his cash. ‘Did she leave a note?’ I asked, still half asleep. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘You should check to see if she left a note,’ I insisted, not caring if I was blowing my fairy cover. He returned to his room to search for the note which had landed on the floor.
While eating his breakfast, the Gort noticed the notebook and scissors I’d left on the table the previous night. ‘Dad, I know what paper the fairy used to write her note,’ he told the professor, pointing to my paper and scissors. As though he’d stumbled upon an important clue.
As we drove to school, I felt compelled to ask, ‘what do you think the tooth fairy does with the teeth? Do you think she eats them?’ ‘No, that would be impossible!’ he protested. And I chuckled silently that he managed to believe in a tooth fairy, but considered a tooth-eating fairy preposterous.
‘She might die,’ he explained, as though I’d overlooked the obvious.