The Tooth Fairy | February 25, 2021

Our five-year-old lost, and then lost, his first tooth a month ago.  It was wiggly just long enough for his older brother to be granted permission for a closer look – and then, wouldn’t you know it, a millisecond later it was out.

“I NEED TO PUT IT UNDER MY PILLOW!”  Five screeched, sprinting towards his bedroom.  Another millisecond and there was a wail; the tooth had slipped out of his little fist and disappeared into the cosmos.  The boys and I launched a valiant search party (Kyle – who is grossed out by anything mouth-related – pretended to look, too), but it turned out that tooth had somehow become one with our house, never to be seen again.

“No worries,” our nine-year-old consoled a weeping Five.  “You need to write the Tooth Fairy a letter.  Don’t you remember, I lost my first tooth, too, and the Tooth Fairy still gave me money AND a special surprise!”

“Yep, she did,” I said, slowly.  “Do you remember what she brought you?”  I glanced at the not-helpful-in-teeth-related-situations Kyle.  He shrugged.

“Oh, yes,” Nine said, pulling a piece of paper out of the cupboard.

“Want to tell your brother about it?”

“Oh, no,” Nine said in earnest.  “I want him to be surprised tomorrow.”

“Neat,” I said.

While the Tooth Fairy is incredibly organized and thoughtfully consistent for the vast majority of children we know, she is a bit more scatterbrained when it comes to our own household.  First of all, the Tooth Fairy is more of a debit card fairy nowadays and doesn’t carry a lot of cash, which is problematic since most of our boys’ teeth seem to come out at night.  Second, she’s got a lot of mythically-related business on her mind and sometimes forgets how much a tooth is worth.

The latter issue is rooted in Nine’s aforementioned first tooth situation – in which he lost (and then lost) not one, but two of his baby chompers on the six-hour drive home from Saskatchewan.  Both teeth had evaporated into thin air before we could stop for a bathroom break.

When I was growing up, the Tooth Fairy purchased “big” teeth for a quarter, and the rest for a dime.  While everything else in the world is constantly in adjustment for inflation, I think the quarter/dime payment is more than generous for an age when many children don’t know the difference between “paper money” and “circle money.”  However, the Tooth Fairy must have felt very badly for our disappointed Nine, because she had gifted him an absurd amount of cash well beyond the expected twenty-five cents AND a small toy that she had purchased mid-fairy flight from a roadside gas station.

Nine didn’t lose another tooth for quite a while after Teeth One and Two, and by then the Tooth Fairy had reconciled her records and was prepared to give him a much more modest amount.  However, since she had gotten pretty wild with Teeth One and Two, she wasn’t sure how much to give for Tooth Three.  She spent so much time worrying and thinking about the appropriate cash outlay that by the time Tooth Four popped out, she had blocked the cost of Tooth Three from her mind completely.  And so it went.

Five’s note presumed the Tooth Fairy didn’t want to spend a lot of time in prose.  “I lost my tooth,” it stated.  “Give me money please.”  The “please” was added in by his brother.  We put the note under his pillow.

It was pretty late before the Tooth Fairy showed up because she had gotten wrapped up in a marathon of Derry Girls and she had a couple of emails to return.  She didn’t have a present this time because it was nighttime, so she left a little extra money, wrote a VERY thoughtful note with a reminder to do good brushing, said hello to Kyle and me, and tra-la-la’d on her fairy way.

The next morning, we were awakened by a much happier shriek from Five.  He needed some help from his brother to read the note, and then hopped off to put his mildly-earned gains in his piggy bank.

Nine looked down at the note and frowned.

“What’s up, buddy?”  Kyle asked.

Nine walked silently to his room.  He returned holding a second note.

“Look,” Nine said.  “The Tooth Fairy used cursive on this one.”

“Maybe she’s mixing it up a bit,” I told him breezily.

“And she gave me more money.”  He pointed at the note – where, like a fool, the Tooth Fairy had left a detailed account of her dealings.

“You lost two teeth,” Kyle reminded him.

“AND a present,” Nine said.

“Who knows,” I said.  “Go get dressed.”

Five lost his second tooth a week ago.  The Tooth Fairy must have figured out her error, because she piled on gifts for both Five and his brother.  This time, however, she was very clear in her return letter that all future tooth purchases would be at the adjusted standard rate.  As I type this I realize that she didn’t record that amount anywhere.  I’ll do her a favor and text her a copy of the note.

I’m obviously not going to post a public picture of the Tooth Fairy, so instead the photos above are from a few weeks ago when Kyle implemented “Stay at Home Spirit Week.”  Not pictured: Turtleneck Day.

This week’s news has St. Jude’s Volunteer of the Year, a thoughtful Iditarod athlete, and a local National Merit Scholarship finalist.  Read on.

Mapleton Kindergarten teacher Kayla Dornfeld has been the North Dakota Teacher of the Year, the USA Top Educator of the Year, and is now St. Jude’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. (KVRR)

Ben Lund is a D-G-F athlete who trains in Fargo, and will be the first male gymnast from a North Dakota gymnastics club to compete at the university level. (Fargo Forum)

Donors around North Dakota (and NW Minnesota) gave almost $22M on Giving Hearts Day this year. (Grand Forks Herald)

Fargo’s Gunnar Johnson will be participating in his third Iditarod while carrying the names of people who have died by suicide – sent in by their loved ones.  You can send a name before March 7 at  (Fargo Forum)

I think we all know the country duo (and Hazen natives) Tigirlily – but did you know their latest song is #1 on iTunes? (Grand Forks Herald)

Congratulations to Dickinson’s Hailey Graves, who has been selected out of 16,000 semi-finalists to be a National Merit Scholarship finalist! (Dickinson Press)

This isn’t a news story, but it’s a nice reminder that a “mediocre” life well-lived is good enough. (Bismarck Tribune)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s tale about Andes Mints.)

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