Thursday, May 15, 2014

Smother's Day

That's the Mother's Day card my mother-in-law sent me this year. Usually she sends me a beautiful floral card with a lovely message about how awesome I am. I'm guessing the memories of raising her own three kids must have hit her hard this year when she picked out this very realistic depiction of my life.

Mother's Day was kind of a big deal at Casa WB this year. I wandered downstairs at the late hour of 8:15AM to find Cap'n tending a griddle full of french toast while two small people got in his way helped out. The smallest of the small people was pouting in his room and would grace us with his presence later (and then immediately be sent back to his room for some hellish behavior).

I noticed that Big D wasn't talking much and was kind of holding his mouth in an odd position. I chose to be grateful rather than concerned and sat down at the table with my breakfast, my coffee, and my brood. As is typical, conversation ran the gamut from how much the kids loved me to how much they love Super Mario Brothers. Love was definitely in the air.

And as Big D glanced over at me to tell me something totally awesome about Luigi, or Nabbit, or Princess Peach, something caught my eye. Something was missing. My sweetest boy's face wasn't the same! It was growing up before my eyes, and on Mother's Day, no less. It looked something like this:

Now, if you're a regular reader of this blog, which is completely impossible since I'm not a regular writer of this blog, you may remember that Big D worries- a lot- about everything, all the time. And so, for a month or more there had been crying and fretting over the impending loss of his first tooth. It would hurt, it would bleed, there would be string! That's right, string, and don't you try to argue with that! Cap'n, A-Train, and I spent countless seconds trying to convince him that it wouldn't be so bad and even if it were, the Tooth Fairy would be coming!

So when I realized that the tooth was gone, I needed to tread lightly. But I didn't. I half-yelled and scared him a bit. Then I sent him off to the bathroom to have a look in the mirror. As he came back to the table looking proud and happy and gap-toothed, I cried. Cried at the knowledge that one tiny piece of the little baby I'd made was gone.

And it wasn't just gone from his mouth, it was gone-gone. We searched his bed thinking he may have lost it in his sleep. No tooth. We searched the kitchen. No tooth. And then, in his sweet and suddenly-lispy voice he said, "I wasn't talking much this morning because I could feel my tooth was very wiggly." And I had a lightbulb moment- not Oprah-style, just regular mom-style. The tooth had gone the way of the french toast and we would never see it again. Well, at least not without a pair of rubber gloves and a bucket- an idea I banished before it could come to him.

He actually took it pretty well when I explained what happened and where the tooth was, especially when I told him the same thing had happened to me as a kid. And I busted out my not-so-secret weapon- the Tooth Fairy. She comes even if you don't have the tooth. He knew this to be true because A-Train had lost a tooth in the ocean last summer and the Tooth Fairy came then, so surely she'd come if your tooth was in your tummy. Brief discussion began about whether or not one should sleep with one's tummy under the pillow. Then, from just a few feet away from me, I heard something.

In reference to the Tooth Fairy, I heard a small eight-year-old voice say, "I don't think that's real." I needed to play it cool, and this time I did! I left Cap'n to finish up with Big D, who seemed not to have noticed his brother's revelation, and motioned for A-Train to follow me. We went up to my bedroom and sat on my bed. The conversation we had went something like this:

Me: (In a completely unaccusatory tone) Why did you say that you don't think the Tooth Fairy is real?

A-Train: Well, she always comes at night, right?

Me: Right.

A-Train: So I think she doesn't want to be seen, right?

Me: Right.

A-Train: So I think maybe she's somebody else.

Me: Like who?

A-Train: Like you or Papa.

Me: You think I would give you $3 for a nasty old tooth?!?!

A-Train: Maybe. I think that you would.

Me: Do you want me to tell you about the Tooth Fairy, or do you want to figure it out for yourself?

A-Train: I want you to tell me.

Me: OK. This is a big day in your life. Are you ready for whatever I might tell you?

A-Train- (Looking a bit concerned, but afraid to turn back) I'm ready.

Me: I'm the Tooth Fairy.

A-Train: (Speechless but with an expression of triumph)

Me: Now that you know, you have a responsibility. You must never tell your brothers or any of your friends. And once you're old enough to know about the Tooth Fairy, you're old enough to be the Tooth Fairy. That means you have to carry on the excitement for The Littles.

A-Train: OK.

Me: How do you feel about knowing the truth?

A-Train: Good.

Me: Are you mad at me for tricking you?

A-Train: No.

And I could see that glint in his eye that let me know he was proud to have been let in on a secret.

The next morning at breakfast I asked Big D if the Tooth Fairy had come. When he said he didn't know, A-Train offered to go with him to look under his pillow. He gave me a wink as they left the kitchen.

On Mother's Day, our family said good-bye to a bit of enamel and a bit of innocence. And while there's no going back, there's plenty of wonder and excitement ahead of us.

But Santa Claus, you're on notice!

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