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Soap Tooth Fairy

So, there I sat with the smallest knife in the house carving a replica of a child’s tooth – out of soap. Once again, I hear in my mind, “What is wrong with me.”

Flashback: Let’s just start with the fact that my wife – let’s name her Cynthia – and I are terrible tooth fairy focused parents. Does that make us bad people? No. But, it’s important to ask these questions. Here’s another question, kind and non-judgmental reader. If there was such a thing as Fairies – and from my research, I’m not sure there is – why would any of them pick the job of being a tooth fairy? Why, when they could be out collecting morning dew or sprinkling sunlight through the forest, would they be collecting little human teeth?

My theory on the teeth fairies is that they are – what’s the politically correct term? Ah, yes – hobos. Maybe these under employed ridin’ the rails fairies just didn’t have the same opportunities afforded them as their flighty brethren. Although it can be argued that Tinker-Bell did quite well for herself as a junk collector. But, let’s be honest. She had a body and was quite a flirt.

These hobo fairies come and get the pieces of chewing bones that are pushed out of the mouths of young humans. Then what? I know, I know. I hear the stories. These contain the memories of the children. Well, as a parent who can’t remember to put the money under the pillow I think it’s time we start a new tradition.

As far as I can tell these fairies never actually pick up the teeth. It becomes my job. Maybe once, years ago, a fairy took a tooth and now I’m stuck doing it. Not only do I have to do it, but I have to pay a child money for a tooth falling out. I’d like to meet and talk with the weak-willed parent that started this whole tooth money-making enterprise for children.

Our children consistently are delivered a bucket of disappointment upon waking in the morning only to find the tooth still under their pillow. On more than one occasion my wife or I have thought the other had placed the tooth bounty and forgot to check with each other.

“Daddy, the tooth fairy didn’t come. Why didn’t she come?”

“Well, maybe she had a cold and couldn’t go to work last night,” I search.

“But fairies don’t get colds, do they?”

Maybe your mother was drunk, I think deep inside my head.

“I think they get wispy little Fairy colds. Ask your mom.”

Do we really need to be moving teeth from pillows and putting them in some fairy land to preserve memories? Maybe before we had cameras. But now we’ve got hard drives full of pictures we don’t even look at. In fact, many of those pictures contain very clear images of those very baby teeth.

Who am I kidding, you just get through it and do it because of the tradition. I’m really not sure of the tooth protocol though. My wife is the repository for all things teeth. I cannot be the person minding the tooth store. Recently, our son’s tooth came out and I asked where these teeth are going and what will become of them. I was informed that each child has a jar in my wife’s closet that contains the teeth.

I didn’t really think she was holding onto them. I think of them as little postcards or Christmas cards (with plaque) that eventually just slip away. She explained that it is different from that. It sounds like they are slowly decaying away. My comment that she should brush them regularly was ignored forcefully.

Hoyt wanted to add something to his tooth under the pillow to try to get more money. I was impressed with his line of thinking. If he could get a dollar for some dumb tooth that fell out, maybe he could sell the fairy something else. He added a colored feather. Good choice. It was more useless. That feather had never even helped him chew an apple.

The reason I can’t complain about the fairy thing too much is that I don’t help matters – by writing a letter from the fairy. The following morning Hoyt is very happy with his loot and a letter from the fairy. My standard fairy font just happens to be very flowery cursive, like a seventh grade junior high girl, of a time when cursive was still taught. Our ten-year old daughter walks by, gives a glance and says, “That looks like your handwriting.” I give her the twist eye, followed by the You-wanna-ruin-this-for-your-brother brow furrow. Another happy family moment.

The day before, when Hoyt’s tooth fell out I was charged with holding onto the tooth. I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. At the end of the day I changed out of the pants and did some laundry, all the time very careful to continue to forget about the tooth. So immaculate was my forgetfulness that I didn’t remember until Cynthia asked me about the tooth.

Crap. Why would a tiny tooth not stay in a pocket during laundry. How could it get out. The kids would be getting ready for bed soon and Hoyt had asked about the tooth. He found his feather and needed to get them under the pillow. I told Cynthia that the tooth was gone. Like a military drill sergeant asking for push-ups, no could not be the answer. In this instance, “no tooth” could not be the answer.

I had not had any bright ideas all that day and this is where our little story began. I grabbed the bar of soap in the kitchen and whittled  what I thought to be a perfect little piece of white bone matter. There was absolutely no denying my genius. I placed the faux tooth in a little sandwich bag, thinking that the  feather could be added. I decided not to tell Cynthia until after. She might crack under the pressure of the perfect lie. I quickly ran upstairs and handed off the bag to Cynthia.

“Oh, great. You found it. Can you get the girls in bed, I’m going to read Hoyt a story.”

“Yes,” I said, quickly forgetting my recent creation – as if I carved teeth out of soap for a living and that was just the last one of my work day. I got the girls tucked in and then went into Hoyt’s room to say goodnight to him.

As I walked in the room, Hoyt passed me on his way out with his tooth and feather in the bag. Cynthia sat on the bed just having completed reading him a story. I asked if Hoyt was going to the bathroom.

She said, ” Oh, you know him and this germs phase. He wants to go wash off the tooth before the tooth fairy gets it. Isn’t that cute.”

For a brief moment I convinced myself that the tooth was not a forgery, then –





Jason Spafford


1 comment

  1. Kathy Laraway Decker says:

    What a twist there at the end. It was perfectly set up for you to grab one of the saved and jarred teeth and reuse it!
    I once (wrongly) “helped” a dangling tooth come out, with a bit of dental floss and some cringe-worthy pulling, at the insistence of one of my daughters. It was her first tooth to come out, and she wanted to leave it for the tooth fairy, that night. So, we looped, and we pulled, and ping! it came out, flew up in the air and landed, who-knows-where. Between the shock, the sound, and the (tiny bit of) blood, the child became hysterical and insisted that we replace the tooth, into her mouth. She’d changed her mind. Parenting fail, fail, fail. Handled completely badly.
    The tooth wasn’t found for several weeks (it was tucked neatly between the carpet and the fireplace hearth), so we had to improvise and write an “explanation note” for the tooth fairy. I wasn’t aware of the importance of the tooth, and it’s carrying memories and such. I have no idea what the purpose of the tooth was when my children asked, and I am certain that they did.
    Oh, and I let all future teeth fall out on their own.

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