I'll dispense with the sappy truism of my too-quickly growing Boy and get right to the gritty facts. He's losing his teeth.
Now, when I was a wee one on the cusp of dental maturity, I fought an uphill battle convincing my mom to participate in the Tooth Fairy racket. In her time and place there was none of this payout business for fallen-out teeth. Their littlefolk simply buried in the dirt or chucked upon an available rooftop their teeth to coax their permanent ones out faster and stronger (not sure what kind of gravitational pull those baby teeth yielded, but I guess it worked for my mom and her kin). For my coercive efforts, a concession was manifest in a small cache of quarters sealed up in a plain white envelope, the kind you might place a rent check in.
But even as childhood-me pled with my mom to play tooth fairy I knew it was a sham. Like I knew Santa and the Easter bunny and redemption (other popular fantasies withheld from me) were kind-hearted lies perpetrated on children partly for the amusement of the adults around them. Amusement I'd like to enjoy for myself now that my children are old enough to be lied to.
And that brings us back to the late-night dash to create a welcome packet of sorts for the much talked-up Tooth Fairy. The Boy had managed to keep the fact of his impending loss from us for nearly a week, until caught deep in tooth waggling concentration. So by the time of discovery, preparation time for the tooth fairy's big day was already compromised, limited to materials on hand. Hence, the late-night dash. I upgraded the plain white envelope of my tooth-losing days to a cloth-and-iron-on-adhesive constructed envelope (modified from this), mimicking the look of those teeny tiny coin-sized manila envelopes. The Boy picked out the last swatches of that skull-patterend flannel for the lining and the little pocket that adorns the front of the envelope. And then to document the lost tooth, because our particular Tooth Fairy likes to keep tidy records of all her collections, I drew up some miniature dental charts to be marked up, filled out and submitted with the genuine artifact.
Which was all fine and dandy. Except that the morning after completing the packets I greeted The Boy, verified all teeth were still in his head, sat down to breakfast, looked up and saw that in the few minutes since I'd last checked, he'd managed to lose a tooth. Just plain lost it. Gone, and, for all intents and purposes, irretrievable. Likely not the last major disappointment of my tenure as Parent, but certainly a huge blow. This Tooth Fairy proxy's disappointment, however, was nothing compared to The Boy's worry that he wouldn't be able to submit a packet for compensation from the Tooth Fairy. Mr. New Media, quick on his feet, brought out paper and pen for The Boy to do up a proper portrait of the missing tooth. And he, with an assuredness that I've never before seen in his drawing endeavors, marked out the outline of your prototypical tooth, with two pointy roots and a flat top. And then he filled out the dental chart, filed it into the envelope along with his utilitarian masterpiece and set it out on a window sill where the Tooth Fairy would find easy access to his submission.
Fulfilling her end of the transaction, Tooth Fairy issued one freshly pressed fiver, tucked into what seems, to a faithful five-year-old, to the be the same envelope he submitted to her.
And, not to worry, a few days later, a second tooth dislodged at dinner, with The Boy holding out his prize triumphantly, eager to fill out another packet.