Have pity on me.
I made a BIG boo boo this weekend that forever altered Maya’s innocent spirit.
At 10-years-old she is wrestling with the last of her baby teeth. There has been one in particular that has been bugging her for the past few weeks. After wiggling and jiggling and staring at it in the mirror – she forgot about it.
This past Saturday night, Maya and I were working the art booth at an event. The treats available were more fun than an unchaproned slumber party. On one side was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and on the other side was a man making huge vats of kettle corn. We had samples of each and were munching on them thru out the night (in between greeting customers).
Maya was the cashier-in-training. She did a perfect job but then freaked out when a lady paid with a five dollar bill that had “You are a nice lady” written across it in ball point pen.
“Why would someone write on money?”, she asked me. “Doesn’t that ruin it for good?”
I told her it was all fine and to just chill out.
Later on we got swamped with customers. I was working things solo because Maya was sitting in a chair behind me chowing down on her kettle corn pretty seriously. On the ground by her feet were dozens of fallen popcorn pieces that had missed her mouth. I looked back to check on her and saw her make a face like she had just sucked on a lemon. She pulled something out of her mouth and disgustingly chucked it on the ground.
“Gross! What did they put in this kettle corn?” she said out loud.
Then she stood up and proclaimed loudly, “Oh my GOD! That was my tooth I just bit on! And I threw it on the ground! Mommy, mommy, help me find it! I need it for the tooth fairy!”
With a crowd of people at my booth, I couldn’t exactly bend down and start sifting through popcorn kernals and dirt. I heard her squeal. She found the tooth! She ran to the bathroom and wrapped it securely in a damp paper towel. She came back and told everyone about her tooth and began to guesstimate how much cash she would find under her pillow.
Fast forward to 5 am Sunday. I took five bucks from the cash box and made my way to Maya’s room.
On any other morning, you can walk in Maya’s room to find her in bed, sleeping with her petite mouth open, drool dripping down her cheek and belting out snores louder than an oncoming subway. But not this morning. I gently pushed her door open to tip toe in.
“Hi Mommy!” she said in a very friendly tone.
Our eyes made contact and at the very same time – this part seemed like it was in slooowww motion – we both looked at her pillow. She quickly put her hand on it to lift it up to see if her tooth was still there, while i did a dive across the air to slyly slip the five dollar bill under pillow without her seeing.
“Mt tooth is still here, ” she said with a frumpy frown. “Wait! Here is five dollars! How weird, the tooth fairy left my tooth but left me the money. She must be forgetful.”
“Well she has a lot of houses to go to Maya, it’s easy for her to slip up,” I replied with a twinkle in my eye.
I walked out of the room feeling like the best mom in the world. My little girl still believed in the tooth fairy. Sigh. How wonderful, magical and pure life is!
Right then, she stormed up the hallway with more hardened determination than a police officer working the freeway on New Year’s Eve.
“Hey! This is a five-dollar bill from the art booth!”, she said. She held up the bill for me to see.
“Huh?” I said. “No way, Maya!”
“Yeah, it says You are a nice lady on it. This is the bill I took last night! Mommy, there really isn’t a tooth fairy, is there?”
What a crunch. I felt so dumb. How could I not have thought to check to make sure the bill was pristine, free of any gratuitous graffiti?
Because it was 5 in the friggin morning, that’s why! Regardless, I needed a graceful quick fix before this moment turned into a traumatic one that would one day land Maya on the couch of a shrink.
“Ok, Maya,” I explained. “There really is a tooth fairy but she stops coming after you turn nine. That’s when all your teeth are supposed to be out. I didn’t know how to tell you.”
She accepted my story, but looked at me in a way that confirmed she was now questioning the existence of the Easter Bunny AND Santa!