This is how I learned that Jordan lost his first baby tooth.
"Is the tooth fairy real?" he asked tonight, casually, making a little bit of last-minute conversation to postpone bedtime, or so I thought. Just a little philosophy, a little jawing between friends. Caught unawares, I hedged, "some people think the tooth fairy is real."
"Does it leave a prize under your pillow when you lose a tooth?" he asked.
"Sure," I said, tucking the kids into their blankets.
Then I looked at my son, who blanched. I began to catch on that this may not be a rhetorical question. When I inquired into his interest, I learned that indeed, he had lost his first tooth.
Now, when I say lost, I mean lost. It's somewhere in his grandmother's living room, apparently. But I suspect that he may have hidden that little sucker on purpose, because under pressure and with use of interrogation techniques it came out that Jordan is terrified of the tooth fairy. He's not partial to the idea of someone (or something) slipping under his pillow in the night, not even for a buck, which I'm told is now the going rate for a tooth. No, he's not partial to that at all. It seems that he understands the tooth fairy to be a seedy fellow who will "tap him on the head" while he's asleep before switching out the tooth for the hard cash.
Well, I wouldn't like that either.
So we had to do some last-minute negotiations. This was after I restored order for being "too happy at him" that he had lost his first tooth. (Pardon me for making note of those rites of passage; back off, Mom.) To resolve the fairy problem, I arranged to contact the tooth fairy directly and request that the funds be left on the table for him to find at breakfast. This, thankfully, was acceptable.
Is it just that we, as adults, forget how horrible and creepy things like having your teeth fall out can be? Are fabrications like the tooth fairy really just for us? Because as charming as I find that little hole in his row of white teeth (a hole he hid carefully all afternoon, mind you), he considers it a hole in his head. That will be rewarded with a midnight bonk from a bedside stranger.
Ah, to be young again. Or not.