When you have older siblings, it becomes difficult to keep the magic of childhood. Most younger siblings want to poke and prod in their siblings’ things. We want to know everything that’s going on, and the Do Not Disturb signs are suggestions, not orders. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, whether you have been the one doing the investigating or the one whose privacy has been violated. With all the espionage occurring, it’s hard for secrets to be kept. I found out from a rather young age that Santa Claus didn’t exist. Luckily, it wasn’t Earth shattering, because I didn’t care if my presents were delivered from a man in a red suit, as long as I still got my new scooter. The one character that I wholeheartedly believed in, however, was the Tooth Fairy. I thought that it was magical that I could put my lost tooth under my pillow and in the morning it would be gone, and a shiny quarter would be in its’ place. I soon discovered, however, the truth about that facade.
I had just discovered it: the new loose tooth. It was on the bottom row, to the right of my mouth, and boy was I excited. After having already lost three teeth, not only was I a pro, I was prepared. I knew that I had to keep this a secret because I did not want my mom to find out. I wanted to avoid the pain of having it pulled for as long as I could. So I kept my mouth shut, literally and figuratively. I ate soft foods and closed the bathroom door when I wanted to examine the tooth’s progress. But, one day my mom caught me playing with the tooth. “Alex, what are you doing?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I said, quickly closing my mouth.
“Do you have a loose tooth?”
“No!” I exclaimed. But because I have two older siblings, my mom can spot a guilty face from a mile away, and my lie quickly faded under her know it all gaze.
“Okay fine, but you don’t need to pull it, it’s really loose.”
“Let me take a look,” she said. I opened my mouth with a wide Ahh and
crossed my fingers, hoping she wouldn’t say she needed to extract it. “It looks okay,but when it gets looser, you need to pull it. Or else it could get infected.”
“Mom, it won’t get infected. See, it’s fine,” I said and to prove my point pushed it with my tongue. We paused and simultaneously looked at my tooth, which was now in the bathroom sink. “See,” I said, “Totally fine.”
“Well, I guess someone’s getting a visit from the tooth fairy tonight. Make sure you rinse your mouth out, and don’t lose that tooth,” my mom said, leaving me to my happiness. Not only had I avoided an excruciating removal, but tonight I was going to be visited by the Tooth Fairy.
When my dad came home that night, I proudly showed off the gap in my teeth. “Did you cry when your mom pulled it out?” my dad asked.
“She didn’t have to pull it out! It was so loose that I pushed it out with my tongue,” I exclaimed, still in disbelief that I had managed to avoid an painful extraction.
“Wow, maybe the Tooth Fairy will give you something extra for that,” my dad said. As I sat in my chair, feet dangling, I wondered if that would be true. Would the Tooth Fairy reward me? My eagerness for night to fall increased and for the first time, I wanted it to be bedtime.
That night I was folding the edge of the tissue, when my mom came in my room. “Is your tooth in there?”
“Of course, Mom. Where else would it be?” I shook my head and continued my methodical placement of the tissue wrapped parcel. When I was satisfied with its placement, I covered it with my pillow and proceeded to burrow in my covers. My mom turned off the light when she left the room and I closed my eyes. Except, I couldn’t fall asleep; I was too excited. As I tossed and turned, thoughts dashed across my mind. Would the Tooth Fairy wait until I was asleep? Or was she so skilled at her work that I wouldn’t even realize she was in my room? Or maybe she would let me catch a glimpse of her? Sure I had my drawings, but it would be nice to have confirmation that her wings were indeed purple. These questions consumed my mind, but eventually I fell asleep, because the next thing I knew I was waking up to light streaming in from the hallway and my dad standing next to my bed.
“Dad, what are you doing?” I blinked my eyes open, and then widened them in surprise as I recognized the objects in his hand.
“Nothing. I just wanted to check in on you,” he stammered.
“Well, why do you have my tooth in your hand?” I could tell he was trying to conceal the object in his hand, but I could spot the telltale mark of the heart I had drawn on the corner. “And why do you have a dollar in your other hand?” And then I wasn’t struggling to stay awake anymore because I understood: the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. She wasn’t some small, magical creature that could fly in through my closed window and swap my tooth for a quarter. She would never leave a trail of dust that would prove she had visited in the night. No, instead she was my parents. My stupid, life ruining parents, who weren’t magical in any sense.
I set a new record that week, not talking to my parents for two days. They kept trying to say they were sorry, but every time I opened my mouth to reply, I was reminded of that gap in my teeth, and that they were lying, no good Tooth Fairy impersonators. Eventually I had to start talking to them though, because no seven year old is self-sustainable.
But when the next loose tooth came around, everything was different. I no longer tried to hide my loose tooth from my mom, and when it did fall out, it was cleaned and handed to my mom to dispose of. And as I got older, and had more of my adult teeth, I realized that the Tooth Fairy was part of my childhood. Sure, the façade had ended a little earlier than I would have liked, but that’s the thing about growing up; it just happens. You can’t predict when it will happen or how quickly it will occur. Yes, I can pinpoint the loss of the Tooth Fairy as a catalyst in growing up, but the fantasies of childhood were bound to shatter. I know though, that if I ever have children, I will help them believe in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy for as long as possible. Because don’t you wish you still believed in magic sometimes? Cause I do.
Alexandra Loh '15