“Tommy. Stop sticking your hand in your mouth,” I hissed as we stood in the ultra long line at Kohls on Black Friday.
“I’m trying to get my tooth out,” came Tommy’s garbled reply. Garbled, of course, because his fingers were in his mouth.
“I know but no one wants to see you do that,” I reminded him.
It was Black Friday and we were waiting in line. It was around eight in the morning and yes, I had both kids with me because of course Tom had to work. We had been to Target before and had gotten in and out of there—I managed to find cheap DVDs and $6 jeans for Tommy. Then I decided to go into Kohls and nearly passed out when I saw the line snaking around the store. I looked down at my cart full of stuff. Did I really need all of it? Were the adorable penguin pajamas for Natalie worth it?
Yes, they were.
And it wasn’t just the pajamas. It was also the 55% off photo frames, the new sheets because our other ones are dying on us, the really cute shirt for Tommy, my new black comfy pants and….I can’t remember what else. But I needed it all.
So we stood in line.
And we waited.
And we waited.
And, oh right, we waited.
Tommy was entertaining himself by trying to dig out his tooth.
“Natalie, please don’t pull out all my coupons!”
I had realized she was going through my purse and was messing up everything. She was sitting in her stroller and surrounded by coupons. One was even resting on her head.
“My tooth is about to come out. See?” I heard Tommy say to the woman standing behind us. I watched in horror as my kid used his tongue to tilt his tooth out.
“Tommy. Stop that!” I lectured and quickly apologized to the woman, who surprisingly didn’t look disgusted. Maybe she was a dentist?
“How old is he?” the lady asked me.
“I’m seven!” Tommy piped up. “And this is my Mom, not my sister. She had me at nineteen which is an inappropriate age to have children. I have to wait until I’m older to have kids.”
Gee, Tommy, thanks.
See, he mentioned the sister thing because people sometimes ask if he’s out with his big sister. It’s normally the old people who think that because they probably need their prescriptions changed. The younger people take one look at me and know that I can’t possibly be his sister thanks to the dark circles under my eyes and the wrinkles that are forming around my mouth.
I really don’t know why he felt the need to mention the rest. I mean yes, I had him at nineteen and yes, I’ve told him he should wait but I didn’t expect him to relay that to anyone else.
The woman looked amused though. “Yes, I had my daughter at twenty and I’d suggest that you’d wait until you were older too,” she said.
“Maybe I’ll wait until I’m fifty,” Tommy said with a sharp nod.
Okay there, Mel Gibson.
Thankfully we finally made it to the registers.
After Kohls I decided to stop off at Wal-Mart, which actually wasn’t so bad. I just went for the $3 pajamas and I managed to find a few pairs.
Then we came home and I was putting our new clothes in the wash when Tommy walked over to me with dried blood on his chin.
“Have you been feasting on some animals?” I joked.
Tommy opened his mouth.
“Do you need something?” I tried again. Sometimes I really don’t have the patience for children’s games. It’s like, if you want something tell me. Don’t throw a fit about it and don’t just stand there staring at me and expect me to guess.
“I lost my tooth!” Tommy said impatiently. He pointed to the new gap in his mouth.
“Oh my gosh! You did!” I went over and squeezed his cheeks and peered at his new gap. His first lost tooth. Yes, he lost his tooth late. His dentist says he has a delayed mouth and that he’ll probably still be losing teeth in high school. Tommy has been hoping for years that he’d finally lose a tooth like all his friends. And now he had.
“Mommy,” Tommy said, his voice strangled. “I don’t like this.”
I realized I was still squeezing his cheeks. Oops. I let go and backed up.
“Where is your tooth?” I asked. I pictured it taped on his wall or something. I wouldn’t put it past Tommy. He’s had some....interesting ideas in the past.
“It’s under my pillow,” Tommy answered as if he were speaking to a dumb person. “For the tooth fairy.”
I ended up putting the tiny tooth in a bag just so it wouldn’t get lost. Then we put it back under his pillow.
When Tommy went to bed, he was so excited.
“The tooth fairy is coming!” he kept saying.
I crept back upstairs around 9, armed with a dollar bill. I assumed Tommy would be asleep since he goes to bed at 8. When I entered his room, I thought he was asleep because he wasn’t moving. I headed for the pillow and…
“Hi Mommy!” Tommy shouted, sitting bolt upright.
“Sweet Jesus!” I shrieked. I balled the dollar bill in my palm so he wouldn’t see.
“Did I scare you?”
I mean, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
“What were you doing?” Tommy demanded.
“Just…checking to make sure you were okay.”
“I’m fine. You need to go or the tooth fairy won’t come.”
So I came back again at 10.
This time I whispered, “Tommy?” as I entered the room.
All I heard was Tommy breathing. He was asleep. I tiptoed over to the pillow—my first tooth fairy moment!—and slid the bag with the tooth in it out.
“Tooth fairy? Is that you?” Tommy’s voice rang out.
How horrible is this? My first tooth fairy moment would be my last. Tommy would realize that it was me all along and would turn out to be depressed and moody and when he was forced to see a psychologist he’d say, “Well, my life was going perfectly until I realized my Mom was the tooth fairy..”
I couldn’t have that on my conscience! I peered down at Tommy and realized his eyes were still closed. He was obviously half asleep. I could still get away with this.
“Is that you, Tooth Fairy?” Tommy mumbled again.
I had to say something! What if my non-response caused him to wake up?
So I went, “Yes,” in what I hoped was a fairy voice but what really reminded me of what people sound like when they’ve sucked on helium.
Still, I guess Tommy believed me because he just rolled over.
I quickly left the dollar bill and got the crap out of there.
When I woke up the next morning I peeked in Tommy’s room.
“Did the tooth fairy come?” I asked innocently.
Tommy grinned at me. “Yes! She left me this!” He showed me the crumpled dollar bill. “I’m rich!”
I grinned back. “Yes Tommy. I guess you are rich.”