The girls are off to Tutorial today, and I’m on my first of what will likely be many, many cups of coffee. I was at an event late last night, and when I got home I wanted to finish a personal writing project I had started earlier that day. I was wrapping up around 11:30 last night, when I suddenly remember: AMELIE’S TOOTH.
So at (approximately) midnight, I do the only reasonable thing. I peel the fleece blanket off of my husband’s sleeping face, and when he is finally startled awake, I whisper as loudly as possible: “BABE! AMELIE’S TOOTH! I FORGOT! Do you have any cash..??”
He gestures and makes enough sense to direct me to his wallet. I fold up the bill tightly and get to work on the note. Amelie had made a huge deal out of this tooth–after all, it was a top tooth, and it was a big one. So I decide to write her a little story. I finish up at 1:00 this morning, which because of the recent time change, feels more like 2:00 in the morning. Hence the multiple cups of coffee.
It is finally time to deliver the note. The only problem is that over the summer, Amelie switched from a regular bed to a loft bed. This poses many problems, the biggest being I can’t easily kiss her little cheek while she’s sleeping. If I do, it’s a lot creepier than it used to be because of the sheer effort involved: Climbing on a stool, peeking over the rail, etc.
So there I am trying to FIND her tooth. I run my hand as far as I could reach under the pillow. No tooth. Nothing. I look on her shelf where she has left them before. Nothing. I do the next reasonable thing. I peel the fleece blanket off of my husband’s sleeping face (again), and when he is finally startled awake (again), I whisper as loudly as possible: “BABE! AMELIE’S TOOTH! WHERE is Amelie’s TOOTH!?”
This time he has less patience (don’t know why) and mumbles, “I don’t know!? Under her pillow?” Like I hadn’t thought of that. ”It was in her tooth treasure box. She was holding it when she fell asleep.” AH.
I creep back into her room, place one foot on the stool, one foot on a baby cradle, and peer over. Her hand is balled up in a tight fist. I carefully unfold each tiny finger. I am so thankful that she stays asleep, and I’m hoping that I, too, will soon be fast asleep. I sweep my hand into hers. NO box. NO tooth.
There is only one thing left to do. I climb, rung by rung, to the top of the loft. This places me directly at Amelie’s feet. I’m trying to be quiet, of course, but I’m also trying not to fall and break my neck.
Amelie’s head is over the center of her pillow. I had already checked the right side when I was standing on the stool, so I move to the wall-side of the bed. I decide that if she wakes up, I’ll just tell her that I was saying goodnight since I had been gone at bedtime. She’ll totally buy it. I lift the left side of the pillow up. No box. No tooth.
I know where it is. It is directly under her head.
My daughter is not a quiet or peaceful sleeper. She is is tossing and turning and I am crawling over her while holding my arms (or legs) in the air to avoid contact. I am basically doing pilates. For a moment I am in plank position over my daughter who is engaged in some sort of acrobatic activity of her own.
She picks up her head to adjust her covers. I swoop in, pick the pillow up, SEE and grab the box, and put the pillow back in place all in the time it takes for her to lay her head back down. I am amazed that she doesn’t wake up! I have the tooth in hand! I am not a Tooth Fairy, I am a Tooth Ninja!!
I put the note carefully in its place and finally, finally go to bed.
This morning I wake up to see her little face next to mine. “I’m gonna go check what’s under my pillow,” she says. I go back to sleep. Just 5 more minutes! An hour later, I stagger out of bed. I ask: “Did you like your note?” “Yeah,” she says. “When I woke up, my pillow was on the floor and the note was under my bed.”
I think I’ll try that on purpose next time.
For Amelie, on the night of your lost top tooth:
Sweet Amelie Ashe Oakes,
What a very big tooth you have left for me!
I put it into my suitcase, but it dragged me down to the floor!
I couldn’t carry it all the way home, so I went in search of help.
I asked a little mouse, but the mouse was afraid of the neighbor’s cat and would not leave his mouse hole.
I asked the neighbor’s cat, but the cat was afraid of the great barred owl perched in the maple tree.
I asked the barred owl, but all he would say was, “Who-cooks-for-YOU? Who-cooks-for-you-ALL?”
So I answered him.
“The fairy chef cooks for us. She makes us cakes and pastries shaped like little teeth.”
“Ew,” Said the owl. “That was just a figure of speech. And anyway, I’m afraid of the fox, so I can’t carry the tooth for you.”
So I asked the fox, and he answered, “That is Amelie’s tooth, you say? She used to chase me in my nightmares, but we’ve since become friends.
It turns out the nightmares were from a combination of eating junk food late at night and not getting enough sleep.
I’m sorry, I have to go to bed now. I cannot carry the tooth for you, but here is what you should do: The owl is afraid of me. Go tell him that if he does not carry the tooth for you, I will sprout wings and fly up to the top of the maple tree.”
So I found the owl, but before I could say a word, the owl said, “I heard everything the fox said. He has to go to bed early or he has nightmares. Now I can finally go find the beautiful owl that has been answering my call!
I’m sorry I’m too busy to carry that tooth now, but here is what you should do: The neighbor’s cat is afraid of me. Tell her that if she doesn’t carry the tooth for you, I will come out hunting tonight.”
So I found the neighbor’s cat, but before I could say a word, the cat said, “I heard everything the owl said. He has flown the coop, lovesick over some silly bird. I’m going to finally sharpen my claws on that nice big maple tree.
I’m sorry I’m too busy to carry that tooth now, but here is what you should do: The little mouse is afraid of me. Tell the mouse that if he does not carry the tooth for you I will chase him the next time he comes out of his hole.”
So I found the little mouse, but before I could say a word, the little mouse said, “I heard everything the cat said. She’ll be sharpening her claws all night long on the maple tree. I can finally come out of my mouse hole and find a bite of cheese!
But first I will show you a secret…”
On the way to the refrigerator to steal his wedge of cheese, the little mouse led me into the room where your mom and dad were sleeping soundly. The mouse crept up the nightstand and pointed at the drawer.
Inside the drawer were all of your special baby things. I knew it would be a safe place to leave your very first (and very big) top tooth. Your mom and dad will take care of it forever, and they will always remember the day you lost it.
I am flying back home. I’ll be back when you lose another tooth—and next time I’ll bring a suitcase with wings.
PS-I left a little money under your pillow, plus a little extra for the stolen cheese