Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kid Cons the Tooth Fairy

Previously published March 5, 2010 on Associated Content / Yahoo Contributor Network

Wesley was probably around 5 or 6 (probably 2001) when my daughter (his mother) asked him to tell me about his tooth.

"It's been under my pillow for THREE DAYS and the Tooth Fairy keeps forgetting to take it."

I sympathized with Wesley and empathized with his mother. The Tooth Fairy had been negligent on many occasions in my home as well, even with Wesley's mother. All of my kids, at one time or another, suffered from the Tooth Fairy's failure to remember a missing tooth.

I patted his head and nodded knowingly and affectionately.

"Show Grandma the tooth, Wesley," Keeley suggested.

Wesley ran into his bedroom and retrieved his treasured tooth from beneath his pillow.

"Well, it sure looks like a good enough tooth," I said. "Surely worth at least 50 cents, if not a whole dollar."

"Yeah," Wesley agreed, "that's what I thought."

"Take a really good look at the tooth, Mom," Keeley added.

The tooth was shaped exactly like a tooth. The color was right and it matched the teeth inside Wesley's mouth. Wesley raised his eyebrows and smiled as I spun the tooth around my hand, holding it up to the light and placing it back in my palm for further investigation.

Upon closer inspection, the tooth looked more like a piece of shale than it did a tooth. I looked at my grandson who feigned an angelic pose. I could see the wheels spin inside his brain as he asked himself if Grandma would believe his story.

Could a child trick the Tooth Fairy into believing that shale was a tooth, thereby enabling himself to pocket some extra cash? And, depending on how much shale he could find, might little Wesley have found himself his own little goldmine?

"I have an idea," I told my daughter after Wesley left the room.

The next morning, along with his "tooth" the Tooth Fairy left behind, Wesley found a note under his pillow.

Keeley read it to him: Dear Wesley, I don't appreciate being lied to, and I take only real teeth. Don't try this again. Signed, the Tooth Fairy.

Epilogue: Wesley is now nearly 13 years old. He learned a valuable lesson: Don't mess with the Tooth Fairy.

UPDATE: Wesley was 13 when I wrote this blog. He is now 18.

(photo of Wesley was taken a couple of years before the Tooth Fairy incident)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Playing Hide and Seek With a Distracted Child

Have you ever played Hide and Seek with a distracted child? For practically my entire life I have played this game with my own children, my grandchildren, and the hundred or so other kids who have been in my care over the years. I tend to forget from time to time, however, that little 3-year-olds sometimes get distracted.

Yesterday my 3-year-old granddaughter, Avery, and I were playing, and I had to remind her not to call out my name when she was the seeker. She tends to panic when she can’t find me immediately and I have to assure her that I’m not leaving the house.

I found a spot that usually isn’t in my bedroom. I was washing my sheets and I had placed the comforter and blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed. I hurriedly hid under the blankets until she finished counting to 20 (though she must have an aversion to the number 15, which she sometimes skips). 

After she finished counting, I heard her shuffling around in the living room and I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. Finally, after what seemed an inordinately long period of time, I called out, “Avery, did you forget we were playing Hide and Seek?”

“Oh, yeah,” she laughed. For some reason, though I’ve had the shelf of bins in my living room since shortly after I moved in last Fall, she became curious about what was inside those bins and was going through them while I suffocated under the blankets on the floor of my bedroom.

Afterword – Avery is usually very focused and very conscientious, as you can see in this video. I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch and she was putting away the “castle house” we made before lunch so we could enjoy “quiet time,” the time after lunch when we watch a movie together. She makes up her own songs and sings them while she’s cleaning up. For some reason, though my son is named Greg and he is Avery’s uncle, we weren’t talking about him or doing anything Gregory-related. Still she came up with what I'm calling, The Gregory Song: