Naomi roused me from my sleep at 6:30 this morning tapping my shoulder and whispering, "Mommy, the tooth fairy didn't come!" Umm....ooops. "Well, it's not 7:00 yet," I countered, playing on a family rule against rising before 7:00am, "Maybe she's had a busy night. She's probably working into the early morning tonight." Naomi was satisfied with this explanation and slipped quietly back to her bed to await her reward.
Naomi had hopped off the school bus yesterday missing a seventh tooth and proudly displaying a gaping, three-tooth-sized hole in the front of her mouth. We oohed and aahed and listened to the whole story about how she had twisted it out at lunch and caught the attention of multiple tables around her. We looked at the little pearl in the plastic yellow "treasure box" they'd given her. I told myself not to forget my tooth fairy duties this time, but as usual, I forgot. Now I lay quietly in bed trying to figure out how to slip some quarters under her pillow in the next 25 minutes without her catching me.
I snuck upstairs and put two quarters in a Ziploc bag with a note for Naomi from the tooth fairy, then tiptoed back down the stairs. I decided to climb on top of the old television set in the corner, reach around the blanket hanging from the ceiling that separates our "living room" from the kids' "bed room," and gently place the bag beside Naomi's top-bunk pillow. The plan may have worked except that the quarters kept tinkling and the night-light in the corner caused my shadow to show on the wall beside Naomi. Before I could put the bag down, she stirred and sat up. I ducked quickly, climbed back down from the TV, and tried to cover the night light with a blanket. I thought I was pretty quiet, but something woke Toby and he began screaming. I had to abandon the current operation to soothe him. He clung to me and cried for a minute, then asked for more milk.
Upstairs I went for more milk, then gently rubbed Toby's forehead as he settled again. "Mommy!" Naomi whispered loudly, "The tooth fairy still hasn't come!" "Well, if she's anything like Santa Claus," I warned her, becoming a little annoyed "she won't come at all unless you go back to sleep." Then I realized my opportunity. "Would you like me to tuck you in again?" I asked with a suddenly sweet tone. Ha, ha, that's too easy.
I climbed up beside Naomi's bed and gave her a hug, slipping one arm under her pillow and dropping off the goods. "Good-night, Sweetie" I said, "I'm sure she'll be here soon." Quite pleased with myself I dropped back in bed at 6:50am, planning on at least 30 more minutes of sleep. Ten minutes later Naomi saw the 7 on the clock and scurried out of bed, waking Toby again. "Mommy, she came!" Naomi announced. I laughed in disbelief with Naomi, "Oh, that tooth fairy is so sneaky!"