It’s a gamble to take a shower with a toddler in your house. As desperately as I want to get clean I know that I must also want to Magic Erase crayon from a wall, scoop dog food out of the water bowl, re-roll a roll of toilet paper…. something.
I got out of the shower and I heard her start running. She was up to something. “Luuuuucy,” I cried. “What are you doing?”
I did not hear her customary response, “Nothing.” Instead I heard her dive-bomb onto the couch. “Are you hiding?” No response.
I peeked into the living room to see a pile of blankets on the couch and assumed (correctly) that Lucy was hiding with some kind of contraband. Whatever it was, she already had it. I figured I could quickly get dressed while she was hiding. I threw my clothes on and took a deep breath and prepared to find out what she had been up to during my 87 second long shower.
“Lucy, where are youuuu?” From under the blanket I heard her “Hiding!” only it sounded more garbled than usual.
“Do you have something in your mouth, Lu?” She pulled the blanket down, eyes shining. “What do you have in your mouth, Lu? Spit it out.” I put my hand in front of her face the way a parent does and steeled myself for halloween candy, a beetle, part of a magazine.
“Rocks!” she announced triumphantly as she spit into my hand eight teeth. Yes. TEETH. Two days before Halloween Lucy was living out some kind of twisted horror movie and she spit into my hand a mouthful of TEETH.
They weren’t bloody. She wasn’t crying. And yet still for a brief moment I thought “This kid astounds me. She has fallen and busted out all of her teeth in the time it took me take a shower and it didn’t even slow her down.” I am not sure what made me turn back and look into my bedroom. But there on my dresser was my jewelry box. It was open and on it was a small blue box. I started to laugh. In 87 seconds she had climbed up to open my jewelry box, dig to the back where I hide Emily’s teeth after the Tooth Fairy does her thing, stolen them and shoved them all in her mouth.
With a fistful of spitty teeth I started to laugh. “Yes. Rocks. Do not put rocks in your mouth.” And I started to count. I counted the “rocks” and I dug through the couch and carefully ran my hand along my white bedroom carpeting until I had accounted for all of the missing teeth. Teeth safely returned to their hiding spot I all but forgot she had done this. (Now that is indicative of how absurd life with an almost three year old truly is, she spit teeth into my hand that she had stolen from jewelry box and I all but forgot it happened hours later.)
Emily got off the bus later that afternoon. “Look at this, this tooth is loose.” We had the usual “Let me wiggle it” “No, don’t pull it” “I am not going to pull it, just let me wiggle it” argument. It wasn’t very loose. Nevertheless, an hour later she came back downstairs with a fresh gap and a bloody tooth. “It was a one day process! Loose tooth to missing tooth, Mom! Just one day!”
The world is weird. That night as I reminded her to put her tooth where the the Tooth Fairy would be sure to find it she smiled at me. “You’re the Tooth Fairy, too, right?”
“No. Go to bed. I love you.”
“But you’re the Tooth Fairy, right?”
“No. Go to bed.”
“I know that you are. You can tell me.”
“Do you want your dollar? The Tooth Fairy won’t come if she hears you talking like this.” She smiled and pulled her blankets up to her pierced nine-year-old ears.
In the morning she came down and said “Dad, I got a dollar coin from the Tooth Fairy.” He asked if it was Sacagawea or Susan B. Without thinking I responded “Susan B, 1979.”
Em just smiled at me and said “Yep. Silver. From the Tooth Fairy.”