She looked so innocent. Breath smelling like peppermint toothpaste, hair flowing over her pink floral pillowcase. "Good night, mama," she said. I kissed her on her lips. They were a bit gooey from the lip gloss she had recently applied in practicing her Halloween night costume routine. I said my own good night, and went back to my room. After I had settled into a good book, Neil called me into Elly's room.
"Elly has been hiding something," he said.
I thought for a moment. "It's the lip gloss."
They both shake their heads. I was stumped. I looked around and finally remembered.
"Your tooth!" I said. Elly's tooth has been loose for about a week. The hanging-from-a-thread kind. Mind you, this was not her first loose tooth, more likely her 6th.
At this point, I was expecting her to flash her gummy smile and I'd give her a hug and say all the typical parental things. Things that are getting rather stale after three kids. Instead, Elly sits up, whips her hand under her pillow and produces her toothfairy box with her tooth inside.
"She lost it three days ago," Neil said.
This was one of those moments when your heart aches for your child. Looking into Elly's dear little eyes, once so full of innocence and hope, now were filled with reality. Neil, of course, handled it better than I did. He went on about how she's grown up now and how proud he was that she was smart enough to fool her parents. I was thinking similar things but leaning more towards the if-she's-fooling-us-now...sort of thing. Still, there she was. A worried look (that she inherited from her aunt Meredith) plastered over her sweet little face. I didn't know how to respond.
Looking back, there were a number of questions involving the truth of the tooth fairy. On the way to the grocery store just the other night, she tested her theory by asking me direct questions about Miss Fairy herself. What does she looked like and Does she know about loose tooths right away? Typical stuff that most parents are used to dodging. Little did I know that my little Nancy Drew was uncovering her own little mystery.
I still can't believe that I was tricked. I wonder if this could have happened with my first born? I doubt it. I practically watched his teeth grow and fall out. On the bright side, I'm relieved that the whole tooth fairy episode is behind us...I mean, forever. You definitely get to a point as a parent when you're ready to move on. But Elly wasn't ready to move on. She held out her little hand and asked her dad to cough up the big bucks, citing she earned it. He obliged then she struck again.
"What about Santa? Is he real?"
I hoped she wouldn't see me squirm. "Of course, he's real, I said and kissed her goodnight. Again.
Will the lies ever end? I have a feeling she might test out that theory.