Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Tooth Fairy Fucks Up

This is my new favorite story, even if it isn't about my own kid.

My nephew, M, is 10. He's a fantastic kid with a great sense of humor. Part of his charm, however, is his general naivete about life, including a continuing belief in both Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Well, until recently.

A few weeks ago, during New York's heat wave, M lost a tooth. Em was sleeping over at my sister's house with them that night, and all three were huddled in my sister's room, where the air conditioner is. J, my sister, fell asleep before getting around to doing tooth fairy duties that evening, and woke up to a disappointed son. Like all of us when we do that (is there ANYone out there who doesn't eventually screw up a tooth fairy encounter somewhere along the way?) she thought fast, and told him that the tooth fairy had clearly expected M to be in his room, not hers, and that they would rehide the tooth that night and leave her a note so she'd know to look in J's room.

That night, note written, J lies in bed pinching herself to keep herself awake until after M and Em fall asleep. When the time comes, she realizes that she doesn't have the correct change to give M for his tooth, and so goes into his room to steal a dollar out of his piggy bank, though she's still a buck short.

The next morning, he is clearly relieved to feel the tooth fairy money under his pillow when he wakes up. But when he looks at the money, his face falls. He sucks it up, but he's clearly not happy. J, thinking he's bummed about getting a dollar less than usual, takes him aside when Em is otherwise occupied, and asks what the matter is.

"I didn't want to say this in front of Em, but you're the tooth fairy aren't you?" he asks her.

"Why do you say that?" she replies.

"Well, because a couple of weeks ago, T [M's stepbrother, who lives with M's dad and his new wife] was messing around and drew a mustache on George Washington on one of my dollars, and..." and he shows her the dollar she'd filched from his room the night before. There is old George, festooned with a handlebar 'stache drawn in black ink.

And there was J, stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Either she had to paint the Tooth Fairy as a petty thief, stealing money from kids so that she could afford to pay for their teeth, or own up to the whole subterfuge. She went with the latter. My newphew is now older but somewhat wiser...though, much to his mother's dismay, he still hasn't made the link to good old Saint Nick.

Clearly, no good deed goes unpunished.

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