Before I begin, let me say this. My sweet six year old daughter, Miss Petite, wholeheartedly believes in the Tooth Fairy. Being one of the oldest kids in her kindergarten class, it's been somewhat difficult for her watch her younger school mates have teeth fall out of their heads left and right. Chatter about the cool trinkets and money the magical fairy leaves under their pillows at night in trade for teeth is in the forefront of her mind on a regular basis. Not to mention recent viewing of movies with beefy men dressed up in pink tutus has also kept her pining away for some holes of her very own in her mouth. This, most likely is a very far off occurrence for my kid however. You see, the poor girl had no teeth in her head, at all, until well after she turned one year. This being one of many departments Miss Petite was a late bloomer in. Her lack of mobility is another story.
So, being that she's only really had a mouth full of chompers for about four and half years, I have a feeling they aren't in a hurry to fall out any time soon. Much to Miss Petite's dismay on so many levels.
This leads me to the story of how a lone, mysterious tooth, not belonging to any of my family members entered my life . And, how it found its way back to its rightful owner.
It all began one Thursday evening as I was tucking Miss Petite into bed. She started acting a little strange. Asking questions that seemed to come out of nowhere. Questions revolving around the rules of lost teeth and the inner workings of the Tooth Fairy world. Which led to more questions of fairy dust and magic tools and what happens to teeth when they are taken.
When I questioned her back about why she was so interested in this special, privilege of knowledge, she began telling me a story of how the night before, in the middle of the night, of course, she was looking for her water bottle. Her hand "somehow" (her word) got under her pillow and she just happened to find "this".... pulling out from under her pillow something small and white. At first I wasn't connecting the dots. Miss Petite hadn't lost any teeth yet so what I was looking at couldn't possibly be an actual tooth. Right?!
Keep in mind, the next few moments of our little exchange happened in about a one minute time frame.
Upon realizing that, yes, I was in fact looking at a tooth, the realization of that said tooth didn't belong to her and the fact I had stuck out my hand allowing myself a closer look, all hit me at the very same time.
My gut reaction was of pure gross out, just shy of actually vomiting, as she plunked it right into my hand. I was staring at someone else's (only God knows whose) tooth and I was touching it with my bare skin!!!
My voice raised about seven octaves, my eyes began to water and I screeched out in a, not so calm, manner "Ohmigawd!! Where'd you get this?!?!" Which, in turn, caused Miss Petite to melt into a pile of tears and feelings of guilt.
Immediately I felt terrible for making her feel so bad from my reaction. I calmed myself and held my hand out as far away from my body as possible, not allowing the tooth to roll around in my palm causing any more skin to tooth contact than had already happened outside of my control.
Through tears, Miss Petite began to tell me a tale of how she found the tooth at school, picked it up off the ground and stuck it in her pocket. She carefully brought it home and put it under her pillow hoping the Tooth Fairy would grant her a visit. At least, that is the story she told me. It changed at a couple of key points when I tried to follow along. Leading me to have suspicions of the actual chain of events and how she came into procession of this tooth. But it was late and she was upset and I quickly realized I wasn't getting anywhere trying to sort the real story out.
I left my thieving, bicuspid hawking child to fall asleep. And, I carefully carried the tooth, still in the palm of hand, out of her bedroom and showed it to Mr. Hawthorne. I wondered what to do with it. "Should I just throw it away?" I asked him. "I guess." he answered.
But, I couldn't. There was something deep down that wouldn't allow me to carelessly plop it into the trash can and forget all about it. The thought of this lost tooth and some child out there wondering what happened to it kept me from doing so. Instead, I put the little incisor into a plastic baggie and tucked it away.
Jump forward to Sunday afternoon. By then, I had almost forgotten about the wayward tooth and the little bit of drama. Miss Petite had been invited to a bounce house birthday party with her fellow classmates. Parents mingled while our children happily bounced themselves silly. I happened to be chatting with one of the moms when her son ran up to her side, showing us his bloody, front (about to fall out) tooth.
Only one other thing in the world makes me reacted with that involuntary gut-retching reaction and that is to actually witness someone vomiting. Twice this had happened to me in the span of four days. My hand instantly came up to my mouth while my other hand jetted out in front me blocking the view of the straggly and bleeding mess happening within the poor kid's mouth.
Without a beat, the mom yanked out the tooth from his mouth, sent him to get a drink and jumped right into a story of the "other" lost tooth. A lost tooth that he "actually" lost at school and, just how devastated he was over loosing it.
By then, Miss Petite happened to appear at my side as if she understood something was about go down. She and I listened to the mother recount her son's first tooth disappearance. While I was slowly piecing together the missing puzzle, I looked down at Miss Petite and she looked up me. Unlike how I managed to connect all the dots of this lone incisor not belonging to my daughter, when it was being dropped into my hand. This moment of puzzle solving seemed to happen in slow motion. Our eyes met. Our eyes locked. We listened, while continuing to stare at one another. Miss Petite had "that" look of shame and guilt. One one-hundred. Two one-hundred. Thr. It then took me exactly two point three seconds to realize the long lost chomper I was housing belonged to this woman's son.
I stopped the mother of a boy sporting a brand-new toothless grin mid-story, resting my hand on her shoulder and simply said "I'm pretty sure we have his tooth." She was confused and wanted to know more. I then went on to explain Miss Petite's and my recent exchange of events a few days prior and how I held onto the little bewitching booty the five and six years hold so dear.
That evening Miss Petite and I had a long talk about what happened, how she should have not taken the tooth/turned it into her teacher instead and how very fortunate it was for her classmate we kept his tooth safe. Together we wrote her classmates name on the baggie and put it into her backpack for her to deliver the prize back to its rightful owner the next day.