EldestGirl is basically a Jane Austen heroine trapped in the twenty-first century.
She adores correspondence. She writes to everyone. Whilst she hasn’t quite progressed to embroidery, harpsichord playing and calling cards yet (please nobody tell her these are a thing), she adores writing letters. Her missives are not just confined to friends and family – she will write to dogs, cats, Santa (even in July), and notably, the fricking Tooth Fairy.
EldestGirl’s first tooth came out shortly after her sixth birthday. She was staying with Grandma and Grandad at the time. As it was her very first tooth, I drafted a sweet little letter from the Tooth Fairy for her grandparents to print out and put under her pillow with the coin.
Retrospectively, this was a mistake.
EldestGirl decided that the Tooth Fairy was her newest pen-pal, and spent a good thirty-minutes drafting her reply. The reply was only to be read by the Tooth Fairy, and was sealed with multiple layers of sellotape to prevent tampering.
Now, I may have made a mistake in entering into Tooth Fairy-correspondence in the first place, but I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. When EldestGirl put her note under her pillow the following night, no reply came.
“Oh dear,” I said. “Perhaps she only comes when there’s a tooth to collect.” Because bollocks to the idea of writing a Tooth Fairy reply to EldestGirl every night (and it would be every night) until she was about eleven.
At least I had bought myself some time. Yes, I was still going to have to reply to Eldest Girl’s letter, but I had a) absolved myself from nightly missives and b) kicked it into the long grass to be dealt with by Future Me.
Planning to start our evening at the cocktail bar, eat too much food, and then stagger to a taxi and end the evening giggling whilst paying our lovely babysitter, before crashing out in bed – the evening was going to be a winner.
On some deep, dark level, EldestGirl must have realised we were planning a fun evening out without her. Out came the next wobbly tooth. On a normal evening, this would be no biggie. I would sneak into her room when she had gone to sleep, extract the letter to the Tooth Fairy, draft a suitable reply, print it and then sneak the reply back under her pillow. Job’s a good’un.
What I categorically did not fancy doing was sneaking back into her room half-cut, tripping over the army of toys she had laid out and then role-playing the bastarding Tooth Fairy in epistolatory form at 11 p.m.
Luckily, I am sneaky and resourceful. Whilst TheBloke (TM) occupied the girls with their dinner, I snuck upstairs, carefully peeled the sellotape from her Tooth Fairy letter (that had literally been under her pillow for four months), took a quick surreptitious photo and scurried back downstairs to reply, print and then, all I had to do was to sneak back into her room later and put the new letter under the pillow with her coin.
I quickly realised that I had underestimated EldestGirl’s thirst for knowledge about all things Tooth Fairy. I had anticipated something along the lines of “Hi, thank you so much for my coin, I promise I will keep my teeth clean.”
As a side note, I am also pleased to see that her spelling has improved quite dramatically in the last four months. It took every fibre in my body as a professional proofreader not to correct her Tooth Fairy letter with my red pen.
So my evening out with TheBloke (TM) was prefaced by writing a fairly comprehensive thesis on the Tooth Fairy.
The best part of the evening was asking the taxi driver if he had change from a fiver “for the Tooth Fairy”. Parenting is weird.