Grandma made a little felt, tooth-shaped pillow for the girls. It had a 3-centimeter square pocket for baby teeth. Marissa put her newly lost baby tooth in the pocket and placed the hand-sized pillow on the top of her headboard. About an hour after the girls went to bed, I snuck a Sacagawea dollar in its pocket. The perfect size for the gold coin I had gotten from the bank. I felt pretty smug for having thought of it too. Surely Marissa would be impressed with the special coin even if my wife wasn’t.
Marissa was sound asleep. Chris had gone to bed too. Chris eventually wanted to put the tooth in a scrapbook, so she wanted me to leave the tooth in the pillow so she could request it from Marissa in the morning. This seemed against STFP (Standard Tooth Fairy Protocol), but I agreed. Marissa would catch on if it appeared in a photo album after the Tooth Fairy had supposedly taken it.
About a half hour after placement, Marissa woke up and appeared at the top of the stairs. I was expecting her to announce that the Tooth Fairy had already visited, but rather she asked whether the middle of the night had passed. I said no and instructed her to go back to bed. I didn’t put much thought into her query at the time.
At 6:50 the next morning, Marissa appeared at our bedside and announced that the Tooth Fairy had not made a visit. Without moving, Chris drolly remarked, “What do you think about that, Daddy?” I took the hint and investigated. I dragged myself to Marissa’s room and turned on the light. Marissa duly noted that the tooth was still present and there was no coin. I briefly thought that perhaps my 6-year-old was trying to scam the system and get money from the Fairy until the tooth had exhausted its fiduciary potential.
I scanned the headboard several times and tossed the pillows overboard. I felt the bed sheets and carpet underneath. With a puzzled grimace, I told Marissa that perhaps the Tooth Fairy hadn’t visited. I was denying my own efforts.
Finally the coin was revealed during the third pass of my hand over the pink floor. With mock amazement I showed Marissa the special coin that the Tooth Fairy had left her–hoping for sense of wonder from her in return. Nonplussed as she dropped it into her piggy bank, Marissa remarked, “Why didn’t she just give me a regular dollar?”