Monday, December 21, 2009

A Toothsome Tale

Calyssa lost a tooth last night. It was her third. This one had been hanging by a thread for several days, so I wasn't at all surprised when she spat it out with her toothpaste into the sink, and very nearly ran it down the drain before she realized it.

It brought back memories of a few months ago, when she lost her first tooth. She had two that were equally loose, so we were kind of curious to see which would go first. Friday night, she went to sleep with all of her teeth still present and accounted for. About 3 a.m. on Saturday, I was awakened by my daughter's sobs. Many moms come awake instantly when their child cries; I'm not one of them. Fortunately, nights like these are a rarity in Southernland. So, bleary and groggy, I shook myself and asked her what was wrong.
"Mommy, I lost my tooth and I can't FIND it!" she bawled. (This was right before we moved to our new place, so at that point she didn't yet have her own bed, but slept with me.) So, I turned on the bedside lamp and confirmed that, yes, her tooth was, indeed, missing. Like, GONE. Not under the pillow, nor anywhere else in the bed, which meant that there was only one place it could, reasonably, have gone.
"Binky, you know what? I think you must've swallowed it," I said. "It's probably in your tummy," which statement served only to make her cry all the harder.
"Don't worry, it won't bite you," I assured her, because at that hour, I couldn't see any other cause for such extreme upset.
"Mommy, I don't have my TOOTH! Now the Tooth Fairy not COME!" she wailed. I tried to reassure her that the Tooth Fairy has likely seen this kind of thing before, so I was sure that she'd understand and come anyway; this line of reasoning didn't work. Then her eyes alighted on the notepad that I keep with my Bible, next to my bed.
"Write a note," Calyssa begged. Since at this point I simply wanted both of us to get back to sleep as quickly as possible, I agreed.
"Dear Tooth Fairy," she dictated. "Can I give you this note instead of my tooth? I swallowed it, and I'm really sorry I can't trade it for my dollar. My Mommy says I can't look for it in the potty. Please don't be mad at her."
"Okay," I said. "Here you go. Get a cup from the kitchen, put it on the dresser with the note inside, and come back to bed."
"Wait, I have to write my name," she insisted. So she took my pen, added, "Love, Calyssa" to the bottom, folded it up, and set it on the dresser inside a cup. About twenty seconds later, she was fast asleep, with a smile on her tear-streaked face, so I quickly got up, grabbed a bill from my purse, hid the note to use on a future scrapbook page, and snuggled down next to her. All was right in her world again.

In case you were wondering, the Tooth Fairy visited us again the very next night; that other tooth fell out later that day, and now lives, hidden, in the locked bottom of my jewelry box.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Real, or Fantasy?

Tomorrow afternoon I am scheduled to attend the first Parent-Teacher conference of Calyssa's grade school career. I will receive her fall report card, and discuss her progress in class. On the front seat of my car are a few of her more recently completed, graded assignments that I plan to discuss with her teacher. One assignment in particular shows various cartoon-y drawings of a pig in various poses. Calyssa was supposed to circle the pictures that show scenes that could actually happen, such as the one where he's eating at a trough in a barnyard, and put an X on those that are fantasy, such as the one where he's frying an egg in the farmer's kitchen. "NEEDS HELP WITH THIS" is marked in big, red letters at the top; Calyssa circled every picture.

I know that my child is, shall we say, rather imaginative, but I didn't realize that she had so tenuous a grasp on reality. Frankly, as a realist myself, I was horrified! So both I, and my teacher sister, have begun quizzing her regularly, to see whether she can identify situations as real or fantasy.
"Calyssa, Mommy reads a book. Real or fantasy?"
"Real, Mommy!"
"Good! How about this one? Betsy [one of our kitties] reads a book. Real or fantasy, Calyssa?"
"That's fantasy, Mommy. Betsy can't read!"

This has been going on for a couple of weeks. (It makes good drive-time conversation.) Then, this morning, she asked me, "Mommy, is Santa Claus real or fantasy?"