The Tooth Fairy Is a (Busy) Slacker

The Tooth Fairy Is a Busy Slacker

The Tooth Fairy Is a Busy Slacker

Both boys sat in front of me at the breakfast bar this morning. I asked them normal questions about their night—“Did you sleep well? Did you dream? What did the purple minion do?”—as I turned to stare at the coffee pot. I stared really hard.

And then I heard BigBrother ask LittleBrother, “Did the Tooth Fairy come?”

I froze. I think the coffee pot froze as well. In fact, I’m quite sure time froze. Because I knew the answer.

The Tooth Fairy, in fact, did not take the—gag—tooth from the pillow and replace it with money. Because the Tooth Fairy has insomnia and it totally slipped her mind. Or she got caught up watching episodes of The X Files and Frasier. Or celebrating the dog on National Dog Day by finding her blue football and tossing it around all evening.

Or I just totally forgot.

This has never happened before, because teeth falling out of my kids’ heads usually results in me nearly vomiting which causes me to remember until bedtime. And into the next day. And into the next day. And forever. Because teeth.

My saving grace, however, was that the tooth fell out of my youngest child’s head. He’s a laid back kinda dude. When he rolls out of bed in the morning, he moseys to the bathroom and then moseys to the kitchen. He slumps in his seat and waits for breakfast. He slowly starts waking up. He’s just kinda chill, kinda, “Hey, it’s morning. You know.”


And so I sprung into Super Animated Mommy Mode. Which is really difficult before coffee, especially when you’re not sleeping well. I fast-walked into my office, grabbed the dollar—which I set out the night before because you know—and fast-walked back into the kitchen. I quickly noticed that BigBrother was already done with his breakfast.

“Uh! Well, to keep your brother from stealing your money, I’m going to go guard your Tooth Fairy pillow!” And then I ran off to his room, shut the door, fished out a tooth with my finger (OMGGAG), slammed a dollar into the pocket, shoved it back under the pillow, and sat down on the bed. Three seconds later, BigBrother opened the door with a grin on his face.

I played it up big time. “Oh no. Not YOU. I won’t let YOU steal your brother’s Tooth Fairy money!” He sprung into a fit of giggles as I chased him out of the room and LittleBrother came racing in. He retrieved his pillow, pulled out the dollar, and grinned a grin with one less tooth.

Crisis averted.

I texted my husband later to alert him to our near catastrophe. We laughed.

And then BigBrother came home with a tooth in a little carrier from school.


Photo: Anthony Delanoix


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52 Weeks of Brotherhood: Homework Returns

Homework Returns

Homework Returns

Homework Returns

So it’s back. Homework.

I mean, I knew it would come back around, but I just wasn’t ready. I feel that’s a going theme with school so far this year. “I’m not ready.” (And yet, I’m not even the one in school.)

On the first afternoon the boys both brought home homework, my husband was working his 24-hour shift so I got to tackle the dual-help on my own. This is how things in the fire life work, of course. I am used to handling the not-quite-emergent emergencies on my own.

The boys tossed their backpacks on the bar where we eat breakfast and snacks, do homework, and solve the world’s problems at 11:30pm long after the boys are tucked away and off in dreamland. I unpacked lunchboxes and pulled out the work to complete. I doled out snacks and grabbed something to munch along with my iced coffee.

Within minutes, someone was in tears.


It wasn’t even me.

Our school is pretty good about not sending home too much work. (So far. Please Lord, forever.) But sometimes it’s you second week of school and you had football practice last night and football practice tonight and you spent the weekend with your Nina and stayed up too late and you actually just want to go play with your friends, riding bikes around your precious little slice of neighborhood, but homework. And it sucks. I get it. It simply sucks. But your mommy doesn’t let you say “sucks,” and even if you do, your little brother tells on you. So it double sucks. But you’re a perfectionist. So you sit there, too frustrated and tired to calmly pull your multiplication facts, the ones you know just fine, out of your head and commit them to paper with your pencil that needs sharpened but the pencil sharpener is a JERK and won’t sharpen the pencil without pulling out the cheap not-lead and WHY DON’T ERASERS ERASE instead of just turning your paper purple or blue or green or ripping a hole into the spot where the answer goes.

Or, that’s how I assume it goes from watching the little implosion from my oldest son yesterday. Yesterday it was him. Today or tomorrow or someday soon it will be the other brother. This back and forth will continue, sometimes the bad homework days falling on the same day.

And I’ll be there to remind them to take deep breaths. To refill water glasses. To check over their work and suggest tips or tricks to remember those ones that aren’t sticking in their minds. I’ll remind the other to offer peace and quiet while the one struggling works. I’ll be here, with them, standing in the thick of it. Because this is what I do.

And maybe someday if I’m not here right at 3:00 in the afternoon, they’ll remember the afternoons we spent working at the kitchen counter. Maybe they’ll know to get themselves a snack, some water, and to get right to work so they can have more time to play with their friends—whatever that looks like when they have cars and can go off and do whatever they please.

For now, it’s just us, me with my iced coffee, them with their eyes on the still warm day outside. We’ll get through this together.