I‘d been in a meeting in Menlo Park in February 13, being all busily corporate, when Jason IMd me with this exchange:
11:54 AM teamhudson: hello love
11:57 AM guess what?
11:58 AM me: what?
11:59 AM teamhudson: Rowan has his first loose tooth
bottom front middle right incisor
12:00 PM me: eeeeeeeeeek
12:01 PM teamhudson: uh huh
12:02 PM I think I’m right in thinking that’s also the first one that came in
12:03 PM several places say that’s likely, and he’s about the right age
12:04 PM me: I think so; he is
teamhudson: Cuz my first reaction was “Already?”
I‘ll be honest; I was trying hard not to choke up, that my little boy’s first loose tooth happened while I was not home. I freaked just a little that it meant I was somehow A Lesser Mother. And of course, because it’s me… I also immediately started researching.
There are all kinds of beautiful options for creative treatment of the Tooth Fairy gifts for girls. Pearl bracelets, charm bracelets, necklaces… all kinds of gorgeous options. For boys? Not so much. And it made me really, really sad that for girls, there is imagination and creativity, but I guess little boys are supposed to be OK with spare cash. It’s kind of the same thing you find about boys’ clothes. Sports, military themes, and commercialization are fine. It’s impossible to find a boy counterpart to the cute pink t-shirt we bought one of the nieces, that spells out in rhinestones, “Fairies Rock”. How about “Elves Rule”, huh?
So, determined to do better, I flung a quick request northwards, and within days, Rowan’s Auntie Ria had made a gorgeous glossy red beaded pouch (Rowan’s favorite color), and Nana and Grandpa Al had found a Sac Dollar and a small charm with gold dust to put in it. I was set… materially… to respond to the eventual loss of the tooth.
Except that then there’s the philosophical question. Do you tell them about the Tooth Fairy, or not? I know people who consider that sort of thing to be a form of institutionalized lying. We haven’t gone too overboard with Santa or the Easter Bunny; I think Rowan already is fairly sure those are just made-up characters. So this was my chance, if I took it, to put the magic back in, and give him something else to believe in. I quizzed Jennie, my hairstylist, about what she’d done. Her sons are slightly older than mine, and she admitted that it had been as much of a question of hers as it currently was of mine; what’s the right thing to do? Give em reality straight-up, or keep the magic going? She polled her clients, when it had been her son’s turn, and discovered that the majority of grown adults wished their parents had held the magic for them for just a little longer.
Naturally, it wasn’t even a question for Jason. He held out for magic. So yesterday evening, when Rowan came yelling “Mama! Mama! It’s out!”, I had my plan of action. I pulled out the pouch (which he instantly adored), told him it was for holding his tooth, we put his tooth in there (after showing it proudly to Kestrel, to Papa, and to Uncle Marc), and then when he went to bed, we hung it from a ribbon on the ceiling, so that the Tooth Fairy could come take the tooth and replace it with treasure.
After he fell asleep, but before I did (and there’s a tight time window there), I tipped up the pouch, got the tooth, and placed the treasures inside. And teared up, just a little. It’s hard to put into words, the confluence of emotions, at that point. I remember being the kid wondering what the Tooth Fairy would bring. I was the Mama, in charge of making that dream happen. I remember being the kid, totally unable to keep my tongue from testing that weird spot in my teeth where something wasn’t any more. I am the Mama,
trying to capture that in a picture.
This morning, he woke up early, and I could hear him checking out what the Tooth Fairy had left. He rocketed upstairs to share his “loot” with me, and ask me why the Tooth Fairy doesn’t let itself be seen, and why it had left what it did, and and and…
Mission accomplished. The magic is there. And he’s looking forward to the loss of the next tooth, to see what the Tooth Fairy comes up with this time. And so am I.