One night recently Kaleb had gone to bed and he called out for me to come into his room. I called back to him that I wasn’t coming in.
Then, he called back to me, “My tooth came out!”
And then I called back to him, “I’m not coming in there and I doubt if the tooth fairy is going to come and visit you either!”
This response upset him of course. But, I checked on him later and he had drifted off to sleep in spite of his consternation.
Now, you may think my response, or lack thereof, to his tooth coming out seems harsh. He pulls one of his baby teeth (I think it is the third one) and I don’t even go check it out and celebrate with him.
But, let me back up a few hours and maybe you will see why I responded in this way…
And, when you finish reading my explanation, you are either going to think I am an exceptionally brilliant parent or simply a wicked grandparent. Maybe I’m a little of both; probably not much of either!
We had been having an especially trying few days with Kaleb. He had been in trouble at school. He had not been doing the school work he is capable of doing. He had been disagreeable, angry and disrespectful to almost everyone including teachers, students, sibling and parents.
On that particular day the school called because he had misbehaved. So, I had to take off the afternoon from work and go and pick him up early from school and take him home.
After we got home he was sent to his room. As the afternoon wore on his incivility advanced to insolence and he was required to go to bed early.
He had been sporting a loose tooth for several days and it so happened that he pulled the tooth during his early-to-bed exile.
When I went to bed that night I fell into a troubled sleep and after a few hours of tossing and turning, I gave up on getting a good night’s sleep and got up. While I was wandering around the house in the middle of the night not knowing what to do with myself and trying to keep quiet, I suddenly remembered that Kaleb had pulled a tooth.
I reluctantly began to search for my change bowl to find some quarters to place under his pillow, but thinking that he really didn’t deserve to be rewarded after the way he had misbehaved. As I cautiously wandered around the dark, quiet house, it occurred to me that I may have just encountered a teachable moment for the boy!
And so I asked myself, “What would the tooth fairy do?”
I knew that the tooth fairy would not want to reward Kaleb for bad behavior. Yet, the tooth fairy is, after all, required by legend to leave some treasure under a child’s pillow to replace the tooth that the fairy has acquired. But, maybe the tooth fairy should leave something of no value for little boys and girls that misbehave, especially on the same day that they lose a tooth.
Maybe the tooth fairy should leave a rock!
So, I went outside in the middle of the night and found a flat rock on which the tooth fairy inscribed with a pink Sharpie, “SORRY.” The tooth fairy also drew a sad face and then signed the rock with the initials, “T.F.”
Then, I slid the embellished rock underneath Kaleb’s pillow while he was asleep!
Now, feeling quite content, I was suddenly overcome by drowsiness. I stumbled back to my bedroom and giggled to myself as I slid under the sheets and into bed. I quickly fell into a deep, peaceful slumber.
In the morning when Kaleb discovered that an engraved rock was the only treasure the tooth fairy had left under his pillow, all I could say to him was, “DON’T MESS WITH THE TOOTH FAIRY!”