...I wrote this a few weeks ago...
A few hours before his bath Leo had come to me, put his index finger in his mouth, and rocked his two bottom incisors, eyes snapping. “Are these really gonna come out?”
Later, freshly showered, he and Zenon waited in my bed, for their bedtime story.
“Just keep moving it,” advised Zenon with the wisdom of an older brother, craning his neck to check the progress of the wobbliest of the teeth. “You get double the money from the fairy lady if you pull it out!”
He brought a bandana decorated with flaming skulls and dabbed at his brother’s blood-dappled chin. “Eeew! More blood’s pouring… Does it sting yet? Shall I pull it for you?” His index finger and thumb advanced in anticipation.
“What if they both come out, Mum?”
“Then you get double the money.”
“If he pulls them out?”
The tooth fairy responsible for our family rewards the pulling of teeth over their natural shedding by doubling the under-pillow offering.
“It’s out! Mum… my tooth… Look!” Leo was incoherent with delight, the bloodstained white bud in his palm.
“Now for the other one,” said Zenon. “Has it started to hurt yet?” Fingers again advanced with the offer of assistance.
Two minutes later, Leo held up the second tooth.
“How much is that? Pulling out two teeth?”
We did the maths together: “If a tooth falling out is a euro-fifty, then two teeth falling are three euros. Double that for pulling, and what do you get?”
“Six euros!” they crowed together.
Unable to contain his excitement at finally becoming a ‘big little kid’ with gaps in his mouth, Leo rushed upstairs to tell his brother and sister.
A few minutes later Sophia came into my room and peered again into her little brother’s mouth.
”Well I wonder if the Old Cow will be on time for Leo,” she said. “Always took her a couple of days to get to me and Alex.” She shot me a shrewd glance from laughing eyes. “And don’t go making excuses saying that the delay is because our particular tooth fairy lives in Australia and has to deal with jet lag and time zones and currency exchange…”
In today’s pre-dawn school ritual, I wake Sophia first.
“Have you any change?” I ask. I have already combed the house and she and Alex are my last hope before trotting out the ‘Our-tooth-fairy’s-name-is-Sheila-and-she-lives-in-Australia’ routine.
Sophia hitches a sardonic eye above the rail of her loft bed.
“Six euros you’re wanting, is it Mum?” she asks. “Check on top of my dresser.”