You're the Tooth Fairy!

Today takes a break from essays and offers a little fun. Dedicated to goofy moms everywhere.

       Ben gave his mother his biggest wide-mouth smile. “Do you remember that I lost my tooth?” he said.

       “Yes,” she said. “It fell into your potatoes.”

       “Here it is, in case you’re wondering.” Ben lifted one corner of his pillow and showed her. “It’s right there. Do you see it?”

       His mom squinted. “I think so,” she said. “It’s a little hard to see. But the tooth fairy will find it. She always does.”

       “You mean you always do,” said Ben.

       “Me?” said Mom. “Why me?”

       “Because you’re the tooth fairy,” Ben said smartly.

       Mom looked surprised. “How can I be a fairy? Do I look like one?”

       Ben frowned. “No, I mean there IS no tooth fairy.”

       “No tooth fairy? Then who brings the dimes?”

       “You do. And it’s dollars now, remember?”

       “Silly,” she said, “You know I never have enough change.”

       Well, that was true. Once she had to borrow from Ben’s jar just to pay a library fine. She probably couldn’t—

       “Waaait a minute!” said Ben. “I said there IS no tooth fairy.”

       “Really?” Mom’s voice turned whispery, like she was asking for a secret. “Then who takes the teeth?”

       “You do!” said Ben. “Wesley told me.”

       “Wesley said that? We’d better invite him over. He must think I have wings. And a houseful of incisors.”

       Ben’s brain had to move fast now. His mom started mumbling to herself.

       “…messes of molars, canines everywhere….”

       “No no no,” said Ben, but his mother wasn’t listening.

       “…might be an interesting job. Lots of travel. But I’d have to lose weight. I couldn’t possibly ride a firefly.” She shook her head. “No. I’d never be hired. I’d have to learn Bulgarian, Swahili…and all those addresses! I have a terrible memory.”

       That was true. Two times last week she forgot to put a sandwich in Ben’s lunch, and Wesley would only share his carrot sticks. That killed his tooth. Mom could never--

       “Hold on!” said Ben. “You’re trying to trick me. You don’t have to be everyone else’s tooth fairy.”

       “…and I’m so bad with directions. Imagine me trying to find Madagascar.”

       “Other kids have their OWN tooth fairies!”

       “Why, Benjamin!” said Mom. “You know there’s only one tooth fairy.”

       “Nooo…I mean their moms are their fairies.”

       She chuckled a little. “So many tiny women flitting about? All the shoe stores would go out of business. And who would sign up for the zumba classes?”

       Ben was not going to smile, no matter what. He growled and bumped his heels on the mattress. “They’re still just moms. They don’t get tiny.”

       His mom acted like she hadn’t heard. “Thousands and thousands of fairies! When I was eight, there was only one, and she was fast as a moonbeam. Everything is mass-produced these days.”

       Ben scrunched his forehead and tried to look mean. But a laugh snorted its way out. “Here’s what you do: you come into my room when I’m asleep. You take my tooth. You put money under my pillow. Then you sneak downstairs.”

       “My dear bright boy,” said Mom. “You know you stay awake so long, asking questions. How could I start work at two in the morning?”

       Ben’s brain was getting scrambled. All he could say was, “The tooth fairy is YOU.”

       Now his mother laughed outright. It got so bad that she had to hold her belly. “So she’s ME, huh? Does she drive a minivan? Go to the bank? Shop for watermelon? What a sight that would be!”

       Ben held his belly, too. He rolled back and forth and got all twisted up in his sheets. His mother just kept going.

       “Does she answer emails? Bake lasagna? Wash your underwear? And oh oh oh, what if she tried vacuuming!”

       Ben laughed so hard he fell out of bed, and Mom had to drag him off the floor and tuck in the sheets all over again. “Listen,” she said, “I have an idea. Why don’t you stay awake all night? Try to catch the real tooth fairy.”

       “Try to catch YOU, you mean.”

       His mother sighed and looked out the window. “I wish I was a fairy. I’d love to spin on a snowflake.” Then she kissed Ben on the cheek—the one that wasn’t sinking into the pillow. “Make sure you listen, too,” she said; “you might hear a little tap-tap-tap on the window.”

       Ben tried saying “Okay,” but his mouth could only make the big O.

       He listened, but all he heard was his mother’s feet going pat-pat-pat down the stairs. Then he watched the yellow crack of light under his door. He stayed and stayed and stayed awake until his eyes got buggy and droopy. He thought, Maybe she’s not coming because I’ve been awake soooo…yaaawwn…soooloooong….

       Suddenly the door opened. His mother peeked in. “How’s it going?” she whispered. “Have you caught her yet?”

       “Caught YOU, you mean.”

       “You little goof. I’m going to bed now.” She kissed him on the forehead. “Tell me all about her in the morning, okay?”

       Ben yawned one last tooth-missing yawn. “Well, maaaybe it’s not you.” He looked at his mother with sleepy, happy eyes. “But you would have made a good one.”