Parents Just Don’t Understand, or How I Killed The Tooth Fairy

I’ve been singing in my head wake me up when September ends because this month has been crazy, and here it is, almost over. Of course, I don’t see October slowing down significantly. Wake me up when October ends. I’ve been busy in a silly kind of way, with things that are not terribly important world-wide but are kind of important in my world, and so I’m like a hummingbird on speed. Vrrrrooooooooommmmm. My husband asked, plaintively, if I could possibly start sleeping in a little later than 4:30 am and I realized I have turned into a boring sort of person who says things like “But I have to bake macarons and write about it and I have to call all these people for the silent auction and I want to wash all the sheets and clean the bathroom and I need to get the agenda posted for the SC/PA meeting and…” and by the time I say “bake macarons” he has tuned out from my dull monologue. I’m even boring myself, just writing this.

But oh! There have been a number of other things happening this week, other than school council meetings and baked goods. Today was the Terry Fox run and I was a little worried about it since it was 4 degrees this morning and Jake called me from school to ask to come home yesterday afternoon, which has never happened. He has a cold, that’s all, but for him it presents as red, watery eyes and the kind of misery that goes along with not being able to see anything as a result. He seems okay today and is back to class; in any case, my husband reminded me that being able to perform and work while not feeling 100% is actually a very useful life skill. It is, isn’t it? It’s not like we can call it a day every time we have the sniffles, and spend the day lying on the couch eating cinnamon toast and watching terrible daytime television. It’s probably good that kids learn to suck it up, buttercup, at least when it’s something minor and not a FEVER or BARFING or something gross and contagious, in which case I always keep the kids home.

We’ve been having many what do you want to be when you grow up conversations lately, and I am telling you, it’s very entertaining. The main goal in this mercenary household is to be wealthy, or, more specifically, to “Make more money than you, Dad, and get a nicer car.” That would be my eight year old talking, who has decided he wants to be a trader. Given his math skills and his generally dickish attitude, I think this would be an excellent career choice for him. Mark wants to be an engineer, which he is also very well suited for. He has what I fondly think of as an engineering personality; those of you who know any engineers will know exactly what I mean, I think. This is the part where I’m supposed to say, passionately, that I just want them to be happy, which is true, of course, but I do think a person is happiest when pursuing a solid career, and so I will continue to cheer on their engineering/ trading/ finance interests while doling out more math worksheets.

When I was a child I wanted to be a concert pianist and/ or a great theatre actress; I ended up with two economics degrees and working on a trade floor as a quantitative analyst. What I did not envision was my current career, at least this week, of being an old-timey dentist. I have been pulling out a lot of teeth in the past seven days, just like one of those dentists in the wild west, except with a decided lack of whiskey. The kids have suddenly developed two things: an alarming number of loose teeth and a complete lack of patience with said loose teeth. I’m getting really good at pulling them out, I have to say. Wham, bam, tooth out. And then there’s the little issue of payment. In lieu of my husband donning a tutu and a wand with a tooth on it, he simply doles out whatever change he has in his pockets when he gets home. This led to Mark’s receipt of nearly $5 in change for a molar. I heard him telling a friend this, who lamented that HE only gets $2 a tooth, to which I said gently – because I didn’t want anyone to feel bad or anyone to whom I have given birth to be boasting – that case was just because that was what Dad happened to have in his pocket. To which the little friend said “His Dad? The Tooth Fairy brings me the money.” Mark gave me the wide eyed, raised eyebrow look I usually give to the children for such verbal slipups, and later said to me, sharply, that his friend still believed in the Tooth Fairy and I shouldn’t have said anything at all.

Parents. We just don’t understand.


  1. My children get $5 from the Tooth Fairy who is INSANE and also not me. I found it funny/sad how LONG belief in the Tooth Fairy has hung around my house, primarily because a) mom doesn’t have it together enough to hand out money for teeth and b) Daddy is too cheap to pay for teeth. No, the only logical answer is that a fairy is handing out money for their discarded body parts.

  2. The Tooth Fairy must spend all her money at your house, Beck. My kids get $2 for the first tooth and $1 for each subsequent tooth.

    Every time you say you’re as busy as a hummingbird, Nicole, I picture Apu in the episode where he hasn’t slept in days and is flittering around the store hallucinating.

  3. In re career choices: yes, I want my kids to be happy, but I also don’t want them living in my basement until they are 40 or beyond, therefore, I do my best to comment on how nice it might be to be a doctor, accountant, or similar grounded career (I don’t say lawyer because I am one and whooo boy are lawyers a generally unhappy bunch).

    The belief in things like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa has gone on MUCH longer that is reasonable for Oldest because Youngest is only 4 and I have had to keep up the charade. I kind of can’t wait until that’s over. I know the magic of childhood etc, but it’s kind of a strain to keep it up and not blow the whole thing.

  4. “Given his math skills and generally dickish attitude”, *snort*!. Also, I’M MARRIED TO AN ENGINEER, WHAT’S YOUR POINT? Yeah, you’re right. I do want my kids to be happy, and I hope it makes them happy to be able to own a home and afford good dental care.

  5. Yes September can end…that’s when the school stops sucking me out of “book money” and “pizza money” and “cater lunch money” the hell?
    My son was sick too. When he got home early from school, he was miraculously cured after a dose of motrin. I’ve got germ killing skills.
    So, I don’t think I could pull out teeth. I really can’t. I just about puked when my son’s dentist said that he had loose teeth.
    You are one sick momma.

  6. Our rule is $5 for the first tooth, $2 for every subsequent tooth, unless it requires extraction by the dentist. In that case it’s $5. To date my eldest has had 7 teeth taken out by the dentist.

    I’m sorry but I have little sympathy for M’s friend. He’s gullible and his parents are liars.

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