Was I Just Hustled By the Tooth Fairy?
Eileen came home from school Friday with her tooth in a cup. One of those long-hanging baby teeth had finally come out, with… a helpful pull from her kindergarten teacher.
Since my wife was out of town for the weekend, the job of Tooth Fairy fell to me. After speaking to the kids on the phone, Beth told me to make sure I put $2 under Eileen’s pillow before going to bed. No problem, I could handle that easily enough.
I had a work party Friday night, so the babysitter came to watch the girls. When I came home, the babysitter told me that Beth had sent a text asking her to remind me about playing Tooth Fairy. That seemed unnecessary, but OK. Beth called a little later to say goodnight and again to remind me about leaving the money under Eileen’s pillow. Apparently my wife has some doubts about my ability to handle the job of the Fairy of the Teeth. Oh, she of little faith.
There was no reason for concern. After sneaking quietly in to the girls’ bedroom, I lifted Eileen’s pillow and placed two dollar bills under it. She slept peacefully throughout the transaction; not stirring one peep. As easy as that, I had completed my T.F. duties and now could wait to enjoy Eileen’s moment of excited discovery the next morning.
Only there was no discovery. As we ate breakfast Saturday morning, I waited for Eileen to mention finding the money from the Tooth Fairy. When she didn’t, I eventually brought up the topic. “So Eileen, did the Tooth Fairy come last night and leave you leave any money?” “Oh, no”, she replied, ” I forgot to put the tooth under my pillow. I ‘ll have to do it tonight.”
That’s right. The tooth has to be left under the pillow! I guess my recollection of the Tooth Fairy etiquette ain’t what it used to be, because I had completely forgotten that part.
It was time to revise the plan. The money must still be under Eileen’s pillow. We would have to try this all again tonight. When the opportunity arose, I went back up to Eileen’s bedroom. But there was nothing under her pillow, in the pillow case, in the blankets, mixed in with the dozens of stuffed animals, under the bed or in the sheets. The money was gone! Thinking I must have overlooked the bills, I returned to the bedroom four more time that day looking for the cash, tearing the bed apart and searching the room. Still nothing.
Wait one minute! Was I being scammed here? Was this the old Tooth Fairy sting? Eileen had played it perfectly straight but she must have found the money and hidden it somewhere. Now I would have to play along and put more money under her pillow tonight, doubling her payday from the Tooth Fairy. There wasn’t even anything I could say to her without raising suspicion about the Tooth Fairy. If I asked if she would tell me honestly if she had found $2 under her pillow this morning, the Tooth Fairy secret would be out. I tried bringing the topic up a couple of times during the day to see her reaction, saying we would have to make sure we put the tooth under the pillow tonight. Each time she calmly agreed. No smiles, no hesitation. This kid was good! She was playing me and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
It’s mildly alarming when your 6-year-old daughter shows one of the great poker faces of all time. What did it say about my daughter that she was capable of such an innocent demeanor when she obviously had this whole Tooth Fairy thing figured out and was now working the system for all it was worth. This really was troubling.
Shortly before the girls’ bedtime, I went in to get their beds ready and decided to take one more look under the bed. There, on the floor, in plain sight, were the dollar bills. Somehow I had just overlooked them several times. Eileen really wasn’t pulling the old Tooth Fairy sting. She still believed and was completely innocent. She wasn’t trying to deceive me, her dad and Tooth Fairy, after all.