For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.


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Monday, March 5, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tuesday: Baby Teeth and Dragon Fire

We found a tooth!

Though to whom it belongs, we're not sure.

I thought it was Ryan's. One had fallen out the night before while he was eating a bowl of ice cream.

"Where's my tooth?" he asked, politely handing me his empty bowl rather than taking it to the sink himself.

"It's your tooth, you should keep track of it," I said. Though the truth was, I'd had it last; he'd handed it to me to store in a plastic sandwich bag for safekeeping, until he could find the tiny plastic tooth box the school nurse had given him for his first tooth.

He'd never given that first tooth to the tooth fairy. "I love my tooth," he'd cooed, having cradled it in his palm as he would a baby chick at the local farm every spring. Only my son would cuddle a tooth if he could.

And now not only had the plastic tooth box gone missing, but so had the tooth baggy. I searched the kitchen where our baggy transaction had taken place. I looked under the mail Daddy had just plopped onto the counter, under dishrags and dishtowels.

Ryan watched my frantic searching. "You actually lost my tooth?" He sounded as devastated as when I confessed to having flushed his fish down the toilet rather than  burying it in the backyard.

"You hated that tooth," I said. Well, he did. He always complained of how the kids would tease him about how ugly and grey it was. A tooth damaged at age four when he thought he'd attempt to fly like a cardinal off the front steps.

 "Not after I told the truth about it," Ryan said.

"About how you tried to fly?"

"No," he said rolling his eyes. "About how it was burnt by dragon fire."

Now it was me who was feeling sentimental about this particular baby tooth. It wasn't his first one, but it was his most notorious one. On the day he returned to the dentist for a recheck two weeks after the fall, as soon as we walked back in the front door, he fell smack on it again. An hour later we were back at the dentist who asked in all sincerity, "is this an April fool's joke?" It had been, actually, April 1st.

I told Ryan the baggy would "surface" and thankfully he moved onto something else; after your third tooth falls out, the losing-teeth event isn't so phenomenal.

So he forgot all about it in fact, until I had to remind him the next day when I was sitting on the toilet, and there, nestled in the rug was a baby tooth.

I was gleeful.  "Look what I found!" I said, bursting in on them where they were playing Legos.

Ryan wasn't as gleeful.  He examined it, poked at it now, less like a chick than a fossil.  "It's not grey."

I'd been too excited to examine its actual color  or to rationalize how it had escaped from the baggy downstairs to wind up in the rug upstairs.

He handed it to his brother. "It's Kenny's. It's not mine."

Kenny's? I felt my face flush. It was Kenny's. Because Kenny would actually give his teeth to the tooth fairy. He'd only lost one so far, one that actually had been extracted due to an infection the reason this new-found-in-the-rug tooth was so squeaky clean; the dentist had shined it up for him.

And the night I'd snuck this squeaky-clean tooth out from under Kenny's pillow to replace it with a quarter (Yes, our fairy is cheap, won't leave bills), I was probably too tired to to think about safekeeping; I'd placed it on top of the medicine cabinet.

Where just that afternoon, I'd actually decided to run a duster across it. Thus, how it had fallen into the rug.

Ryan smirked; this ate at me. I didn't like how ready he was to disbelieve in the unbelievable of tooth fairies, as well as of Santa. Though perhaps rightly: Christmas morning he'd opened stocking presents proclaiming their price, as having wrapped in my sleep, I'd neglected to peel off the stickers:  "Oh, neat! a Yoyo! Only a $1.99! Thanks, Santa!" (On the extreme other hand, he's a firm believer in dragons having actually existed, just before the dinosaurs.)

"Well, we don't know it's Kenny's tooth...." I fumbled. As much as Ryan had his doubts, Kenny at age six remained a firm believer, and I did not want him to piece it all together to ask me point blank, well if the tooth-fairy really had taken his tooth, how did it wind up in the bathroom rug?

Thankfully, Kenny displayed no doubts, saying,  "Well, whose ever it is, I'll take it," he said, and disappeared with it into his room.

What I didn't realize was that he'd actually put it under his pillow.

Which I didn't know until the next morning when he came downstairs, and crestfallen said, "The fairy didn't come."

"You said you didn't know if it was yours."

"But wouldn't she know?"

"She has a lot of teeth to keep track of..." how dubious can one mother sound?

He pouted at the tooth in his little open palm.  Fact is, Kenny really likes finding coins under his pillow, cannot understand why his older brother would forsake real money to keep a stupid old tooth.

Now I don't know what has become of that tooth. But I'm certainly not going to open another can of teeth by asking what he did with it after he'd finished pouting.

And the baggy tooth still hasn't surfaced.

And to add tooth insult to tooth injury, on our last drive out to visit Gramma's, Ryan lost another tooth in the car.

"What should I do with it?" He'd asked, holding it up to me so I could see it in the rearview mirror.

Well what do you do with a baby tooth when it falls out in a moving vehicle? With no plastic tooth boxes nor baggies to be found?

You put it in the carseat cup holder. Which is what he did.

And then I got the car washed. And those guys are really good at scrubbing out those dirty pretzel-and-teeth filled carseat cup holders....

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Sandi Holland said...

Hi Sandra! I have bestowed upon you The Versatile Blogger award because you faithfully share wonderful stories and warm and fuzzy needlework, and lots of great links for artsy crafty types. Visit my blog, , for details and to get your banner. If you have any problems, let me know and I'll email you the banner as an attachment. Congrats and I'll see you around.

I had to 1+ your tooth/teeth story. As usual a hilarious story from a master writer.

Ada said...

This is just beautifully told. Sweet, honest, and funny. Great work!!

Susan said...

Sooo, do we call this tooth karma or what?!! Great story. I actually got a nice chuckle out of this.


Raige Creations said...

Well, I am glad to know that your tooth fairy sometimes missed the tooth fairy has once or twice messed up too! Once, slept right through the night, once got caught in the act! (whose idea was is to place the tooth under the pillow where their heads were?? why not on the bedside table, where you don't have to actually MOVE the head to do the deed??)

my son just lost a tooth (at 13 still losing baby teeth!) - well he pulled it out during science. just handed it to me and I put with the rest on them, on dad's desk. I am certain I do not have them all....but he doesn't seem to mind. his siblings teeth are carefully stored, while his are strwen about dad's desk. poor third child....

Mom of 12 said...

We learned a long time ago to put teeth in a cup in the kitchen window. So much easier!

Anonymous said...

Too funny.

Kathy said...

I love it that the tooth fairy is alive and well at your house.


Tara Adams said...

Hilarious, artfully told...and sadly familiar.

Anonymous said...

And I thought I was the world's worst tooth fairy!! I was very good at it with my older kids, but my younger ones have had the Tooth Fairy forget them more times than I will admit.

Brenda said...

Great tale.. I managed to keep my tooth fairy skills in tack until my youngest was old enough to know.. Wonder story, and well told.

The Lucky Mom said...

Like Brenda, my tooth fairy skills waned with the last child. I got really good at making up excuses on her behalf!

Daron Henson said...

@ Sandra. "Once-upon-a-tale Tuesday: Baby Teeth and Dragon Fire is an interesting story. I would guess your target audience is grammar school kids. It was written well in a manner that they would probably enjoy.

bohemiannie! art said...

All I can say is...LOL!!!

Actually, I can also add that we saved lots of baby teeth in one of those Plastic Life Saver holder thingies and I still love coming across them. You see, our tooth fairy left the money and the tooth behind. :) (Big Toothy Grin).

And I have to say, this story has teeth!

OK I promise that's all.

leigh said...

Great tale, you are a great storybteller! My boys haven't lost any teeth yet, still growing their first set! Guess I have a lot to loom irwsrd too! I lover ow Kenny tried to make an extra buck!
Stopping by from the hop...
Leigh @

Brandon Duncan said...

This is funny. We have been so bad with teeth in the past it got to the point where my daughter had to start putting them in something DOWNSTAIRS, well away from her bedroom and ask me to email the tooth fairy to come get it. Parenting fail, eh? Oh well. Thanks for sharing this with Story Dam! Hope to see you again.

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