Zoe had her first loose tooth while she was still in kindergarten, last May. It didn't fall out, but the one next to it also became loose over the summer. Months went by. The two grownup teeth started to grow in behind the loose baby teeth, but they still didn't fall out. After two months, Zoe gave up asking me when they would fall out. I was as mystified as she. I don't remember enough about being in the baby-teeth-falling-out age to know if this is normal or not. Finally, last Thursday, during second day of first grade, she "pulled" them out. I'm not sure if she always could have done so, but, I came home from work and learned that Ro and I needed to play tooth-fairy that night.
"If you told me before I left work, I could have stopped at the bank and seen if they had any dollar coins," I said.
The tooth fairy job was complicated by Zoe not using the traditional envelope. After yanking out her teeth, Zoe was sent to the school nurse, who presented her with a white plastic tooth-shaped tooth case on a gold cord. The tooth-case looked too small to hold anything but maybe a dime.
Ro wondered how we'd get the case out from under Zoe's pillow. I snuck it out easily. Children do sleep soundly. If they didn't, I don't think this tooth fairy custom would be so widespread or have survived so long.
We wonder what to do with the teeth. "I think my parents threw them out," I say. I remember that's what we concluded when we reached the age to know the Truth about the Tooth Fairy.
"It seems like something we should save," said Rodrigo. "I should call my mother and ask her what to do with them."
"She'll say throw them out!"
I take the teeth that Ro has put an envelope. Where to hide it? Zoe goes through all of my stuff. I put it in Ro's drawer, too high and stuck for Zoe to open.
Since it was two teeth, we thought we should put two dollars in the case.
We considered ironing the dollar bills so they'd look nice, but I figured I'd have to fold them up very tiny anyway. The tooth case was too small for two dollars. I only managed to fit in one dollar bill, much creased and folded, and then rolled up to fit inside the case.
I snuck it back under the pillow.
How I wished I could see her expression the next day when she opened the case and found the dollar!