Tooth Fairying And Other Mistakes I've Made As A Mom

My 9-year-old lost another tooth today at school, and I can't begin to express the level of devastation this caused me in the ensuing hours.

No. It's not what you think. Sure, I know he's growing up and yes, I'm aware that the teeth he's now losing are indicative of the fact that one day sooner than I'd like, he'll be wearing braces and making out with some pimply teenaged girl in the playroom when they're supposed to be playing X-Box.

That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm devastated because this lost tooth means that I have to come up with yet another creative excuse for why the Tooth Fairy didn't show up in the middle of the night with the goods she's pretty famous for carrying.

You see, I'm fresh out of cash.

Who has cash?

Strippers, certainly, but not middle-aged mothers with perfectly good plastic rectangles of glee in their wallets. You know the ones. They have the tiny numbers and the swipey black strips and the luminescent little safety features no one knows anything about. And who cares? I whip one of them out and someone makes me a caramel macchiato. Nothing else matters in the whole, wide world.

But, on these rarest of occasions, when only cash will suffice, what's a mother to do when she doesn't have dollars and she's too lazy to get in the car to find an ATM? Do they even make those anymore? I doubt it. The free world runs on plastic and bitcoins.

Her only recourse is to raid another one of her son's piggy banks which makes everyone feel like crap, because the chances of her repaying the other kid fall somewhere in the negative teens on the number line.

This horrific dilemma got me thinking about all the dreadful decisions I make as a mom, as Tooth Fairying does not even come close to being my most epic, terrible choice.

There was the time I decided it would be a great idea to participate in the wonder of wonders that is Elf on the Shelf. Not one of my shining moments. After a couple years of forgetting to move Twinkle from one end of the house to another in a completely dissimilar predicament of total insanity, it ended with a lie about Santa's helper falling in love with Snowflake and living the rest of his life in Belize. The kids latched onto that notion with about as much Christmas spirit as Krampus, which is saying something as he is a DEMON.

And then there's the whole Easter Bunny schtick. Every year, as we festoon ourselves with ribbons and charming checked shirts and stuff ourselves into the car to head to church, I have to "pretend I forgot something" and run back into the house.

What am I doing?

No, I'm not picking up the fifteen items I'll need to entertain a three-year-old in a two-hour mass. Nor am I locking the already locked doors or enclosing my yapping dog into her crate so she doesn't yak on a rug in our absence. Nor am I stuffing myself with Easter chocolate directly from the bag intended for their baskets. (Well, I might be doing that). But what I'm REALLY doing is carefully hiding Easter eggs around the house in locations challenging enough for my 9-year-old but not too challenging for my 7-year-old who cries every year when he can't find as many as his older brother. And I'm literally just setting eggs on tables for my 3-year-old who has the search capabilities of a man looking for mustard in the fridge. And I'm hiding their Easter baskets in clever enough places that they won't discover them at the same time and then realize they all have the same stuff and that the youngest has recycled toys from the garage because he's still too out of it to notice and it doesn't even matter because they all end up ignoring most of what's in their baskets anyway to get to the chocolate (which I haven't been eating).

But I complete the cycle of absolute absurdity every year, anyway, because doggone it, that's what good moms do, right? We perpetuate the myths of childhood so we can squash them right around the time we tell them the most colossal of all lies: sex is something yucky and does not make for a good time, so you should avoid it at all costs.

It only makes sense.

Now, I'm off to go distract a preschooler with something trash on his iPad so I can dig into his Mickey Mouse piggy bank for a wadded up fiver. There's no chance I'm ruining my oldest son's childhood just yet; I still have to buy green food coloring for the St. Paddy's Day leprechaun pee in the toilets, which, to date, only half-terrifies the 7-year-old.

Luckily, I can use plastic to buy that.