Sunday, May 29, 2005

Wicked Tooth Fairy

We all remember the Tooth Fairy from when we were growing up. She was a magical creature who took our teeth away to heaven when they fell out, and left shiny quarters in their place. I had a special pillow with a tiny pocket to put the tooth in, and I looked forward ever so much to losing teeth so that the Tooth Fairy would come and visit me.

Now, more than twenty years later, I've met her Evil Twin - the Wicked Tooth Fairy.

The Wicked Tooth Fairy is the one who brings you the teeth in the first place. She comes when you are just a baby and gives you teeth one at a time. She is the wicked one who arrives one day and turns my sweet bundle of joy into a howling, shrieking, biting, writhing bundle of anger overnight. She is the foul creature who brings fever, fussiness, clinginess, and sleeplessness in her wake. And she's here, in my house, and I can't get rid of her.

The Bear is teething again. At ten months she has four teeth and is working on cutting about six more. Her gums are swollen and puffy and lumpy and white, and these bad boys look like they're ready to come through at any minute. One of them is already through just a bit, and the poor kid is just miserable. Normally, the Bear is the most charming of little animals. For the last few days, she's been alternating bouts of cheerfulness with bouts of inconsolable wailing and finger-biting. Every so often she will fling herself down on the floor and sob, then get back up and keep on going. She's developed what I like to call the "crawl and cry" where she does just that. It's so sad to watch! I've told her stories about all the wonderful foods that await her once she has more teeth, but she says she doesn't think it sounds worth it. Poor kid.

I feel almost as bad for myself as I do for her - my boundless patience and compassion are running low. I wish I could just cut the teeth for her and save her the pain. I'd gladly do it, but I just can't. So instead, I'm off to shoot the Wicked Tooth Fairy with a harpoon and mount her stuffed head on my living room wall. Call me Ishmael.

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