Monday, April 6, 2009

Spirits and the Material Girl

At the end of the kitchen island sat Thing 1, waiting for her two lightly toasted slices of bread to decrust, butter and bury under a blizzard of cinnamon and sugar as she does most mornings.

Suddenly, she burst into tears.

"Mommy," she cried, "did I do something wrong?"

On Friday night, Thing 1 had won a weeks-long battle with a wiggly eyetooth, a hard bite into a Red Delicious delivering the final blow to pry it from her gum. She dutifully put her vanquished enemy into a plastic sandwich bag, left it on her bedside table and went to sleep, dreaming the dreams 9-year-old girls do.

She awoke Saturday to find the bag and its contents untouched.

Our little girl had been dissed by the Tooth Fairy.

I don't recall when I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy or any of the other mythical figures of childhood, save Santa Claus. I gave up on him around age 7 when peer pressure and his failure to deliver a puppy and several other items I had clearly marked in the Sears catalog did him in.

My faith in St. Nick was briefly restored two years later. The nun teaching my catechism class convinced me to believe again by talking to us endlessly about faith and giving us a few examples of magical things that had happened to some of her past students, such as the one who found a cigar stubbed out in an ashtray Christmas morning when no one in the child's family smoked.

I came home possessed by The Holy Spirit and announced at the dinner table my being born again in all things Santa.

A few days later, my older sister hustled me away from my collection of "Peanuts" paperbacks, yanking me down the stairs to the living room. Underneath the sofa lay a stash of unwrapped toys, games and clothes, including the Star Trek Colorforms set I had been eyeing at a local store.

The Catholic Church and me haven't been on good terms since. I mean, when a nun flat out lies to you about Santa Claus, how are you honestly supposed to then square yourself with the Resurrection, transubstantiation or just the miracle of the fish and the loaves?

"Oh, that tooth came out pretty late last night. She must not have known about it," My Love said as she consoled Thing 1. "And aren't you supposed to put it under your pillow? You just had it in the wrong place, I bet. You try again tonight. Sometimes you just need to give things a second chance."

Sunday morning, I found Thing 1 in her usual spot, waiting for toast.

"Morning, sunshine," I said. "How's it going?"

She grunted, which is a relatively normal breakfast table response for her but still I wasn't sure if the extra dollar left in exchange for her tooth the night before had sufficiently restored her childhood belief system or not.

The day and night passed. This morning, I again found myself at the kitchen island, eating my oatmeal next to Thing 1. She bit into her toast and a puff of cinnamon dust rose from the bread.

As I went to pour myself another cup of coffee, I asked her to check the school lunch calendar. After declaring she would buy today's offering of oven-baked chicken nuggets, she asked why she and her little brother had a day off later this week.

"It's Good Friday," I said. "That's the day people who follow Christian religions believe Jesus, their Savior, died for their sins to save the world."

Without a pause, she asked, "When's Easter?"

"This Sunday."

"Ooo!" she said. "I wonder what the Easter Bunny will bring me this year?"

31 comments:

  1. Aw, poor Thing One. Let her know she's not alone - my little girl was dissed by the Tooth Fairy a couple of weeks ago.

    Fortunately after a stern talking to, the TF made up for her transgressions with an extra dollar and a necklace.

    All is forgiven with the judicious presentation of jewelry.

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  2. What a sweet and yet sad story. When my oldest lost her first tooth, she was dissed by the toothfairy as well. We told her that we forgot to leave the window cracked a bit so she could slide in and deliver the booty. It was there the next morning ...with a letter of apology, of course.

    BTW- she is 9 and still believes there is a REAL tooth fairy.

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  3. My middle daughter told me that she knew their was no Santa when she was 8...but she was SHOCKED when I told her there was no Easter bunny...yea, 'cause the bunny story is soooo much more believable!

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  4. I forgot about tooth fairy duties.

    This mom gig has so many facets.

    At least I heard a rumor that the Easter Bunny is all set for a visit.

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  5. That's happened in our house before too. Mostly because Piglet kept pulling out his teeth. He lost about 8 teeth in a span of 2 months.

    And I find it weird that your kids have Good Friday off. In my staunchly Catholic country, only 2 of my children have the day off (half of my kids go to one school and half go to another).

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  6. Great story - like the puff of cinnamon!
    Tooth fairies are interesting, a coworker of mind didn't lose her last 2 "child" teeth until she was 40. She complained that she had been gipped as a kid and the Dentist wrote a note to give to her Mom, sating she was owed $5 back payment, interest etc... Nice dentist!

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  7. It's the important things that matter, right? Besides, those peanut butter eggs are bad ass.

    The Tooth Fairy has been a total slacker around here, even though my kids are dropping teeth like it's Fight Club. She's also broke most of the time and comes to me asking for a raise, but I'm left telling her good luck with that.

    (best cinnamon toast recipe - bread, butter, layer of sugar, layer of cinnamon, layer of sugar. heaven)

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  8. Aww...don't go whisking their childhood fantasies away b/c of your experience with the Catholic Church...

    Incidentally, I have my own issues with the Church and my kids are going to Catholic school now (we are in a very crappy public school district) talk about hypocrisy...I got it covered!

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  9. My friend told me this story where her daughter got dissed by the Tooth Fairy when they were on vacation at their grandma's house. Then both mom AND grandma tooth fairy visited (unbeknown to mom fairy) the next night and the girl got paid $10 for her tooth. Now the little girl wants 10 bucks for each tooth.

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  10. K that was seriously so cute...

    You are the third person that has mentioned that the tooth fairy has slacked in her job!!! For shame! :)

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  11. I'd forgotten so many toothfairy appearances with my two kids, I resorted to telling them about direct deposit at the bank. I just couldn't take the pressure of all those teeth to keep track of - OMG they all seemed to come out at the same time.

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  12. We have stories about the tooth fairy every day in kindergarten! Unfortunately, the one from our house occasionally FORGOT.

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  13. Gosh - I tried to add you to follow. But, I do not have a face book account :-( I've been told not to have one by the evil conservative school district that I work for. I will bookmark you to check back and add random thoughts for you. I actually finally told my boys about a year and a half ago that santa/bunny was really all made up. I probably could have kept them going. So sad. I am trying to toughen them up for life. My post tomorrow afternoon is on the bunny. But, i really like todays photo of the giant balls.

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  14. ..thank you for stopping by my blog.. And you're right ...nothing is sacred...not even peeps.....guess they have to make their money somehow!?!

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  15. ....the toothfairy has dissed our kids several times...

    Finally, our youngest, just said, "Mom...I know you have to be the toothfairy, because no one but you is that forgetful..." :)

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  16. It's good to see her beliefs are intact!

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  17. We live in a new subdivision that doesn't show up on Mapquest/GPS... I told the kids that the tooth fairy got lost trying to find us. I'm screwed seven ways from Sunday when they update those maps!

    Your blog rocks and your writing is spot on. Thanks for finding me so I could find you :)

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  18. Hey! I'm your 100th follower!! Shouldn't I get a prize or something?!

    ;)

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  19. The tooth fairy forgot our youngest once....

    ONCE.

    ;)

    Great post!

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  20. Tell Murphy thanks for the 'get well' wishes for Maxx. She appreciated that.

    My kids, 16 and 20, still believe in Santa. Not so much the others. The oldest tried to fool the Tooth Fairy once with a tooth our really old (since passed on) dog lost. The TF left her a Milk Bone.

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  21. Two years ago our then 8 year old found the "Remember Tooth" note I had left myself as a reminder to put out (the dollar) when we got home. He put is beside my bed and added "Now I have prooth, there is no tooth fairy" This Christmas he caught us stuffing stockings but so far has not burst his younger brothers bubbles.

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  22. And sometimes the Tooth Fairy has too many children to visit in one night, so she has to come the next night.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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  23. Ah, the endless duties of parents and the communication between them to make sure someone has "taken care of" the childhood fantasies. Between TF, Easter Bunny and Santa life can be busy...

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  24. I love kids and how they're so gullible. God love 'em.

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  25. I've always found that the Tooth Fairy is pretty unreliable. I guess she has a lot on her plate. Maybe her system needs an upgrade?

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  26. In fact, with Google Street View...

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  27. my kids haven't really believed in the tooth fairy for a long time. even when they were younger it wasn't done much...mainly because we lived in turkey and it wasn't their custom. my kids lost teeth and the tooth fairy came but turkish kids lost teeth and nothing happened. didn't work too well. we just decided to pay them for losing teeth. same idea though...put tooth under pillow and get a present from mom and dad. we did forget once so we gave them the gift at breakfast. i think they were sorely disappointed that it wasn't in their room when they woke up. ah well. this easter my 9 year old will get a visit from the easter bunny for the first time ever. well...ever that she remembers. she was 1 1/2 the last easter we were in the states. she doesn't believe in the easter bunny, but i am excited about surprising her with a basket! they will all be surprised!

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  28. Try being Jewish growing up and wondering why the Easter Bunny visits all the other kids and not you......

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  29. I'll never forget working up the courage to ask my mom if she was the tooth fairy. She asked me what I thought. I said I thought she was, and poof. The tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter bunny all got bumped from the realm of reality.

    Sigh.

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  30. I'm trying to get past the part with toast with butter, cinammon and sugar...I think I'm going to have to go.

    Re: The Easter bunny. I still feel that twinge of disappointment every Easter Sunday in not getting an Easter basket on Sundays. My sister and I are eight years apart, so to make us both feel included, I received an Easter basket up until I was probably 16. But instead of candy, I usually got CDs or money with the candy, which was all right too.

    Unfinished Rambler
    unfinishedrambling (at) gmail (dot) com
    because I didn't want force to open your window and yell

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  31. I've never been comfortable "lying" to my kid about the Easter Bunny, Santa, etc. I do it, but I feel dirty about it. It was just such a crushing blow to me when I found out the truth, and I hate that I'm setting my son up to fall in the same trap I did!

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