Calfgrit10 lost a tooth last week. We had the usual excitement of it all, including talking about putting it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Normally, we immediately put the tooth in a piece of tissue, folded up so it doesn’t get dropped and lost. This time, though, Calfgrit10 wanted to hold on to the tooth without it in a tissue. We weren’t sure why, but we let him keep up with it.
He kept it beside him as he played with his Lego toys. Come bedtime, he had lost it. (As expected.)
The next day, I looked around his room when he was out playing, and I found the tooth in the carpet among his Lego toys. I didn’t tell him I found it. I decided to let a life lesson play out. Throughout that day and the next, I kept checking to see if the tooth was still where I found it, and it stayed.
A couple days later, Calfgrit10 shouted, “I found my tooth!” I was at work, so he only told his mother. He also told her, “I’m not going to put it under my pillow.” This information was passed on to me.
Now, we know our boy. He’s got a critic’s skepticism and a scientist’s mind for experimentation. He has already started doubting Santa Clause, and the Tooth Fairy is a close relative. So I suspected he might secretly put the tooth under his pillow to see what happens when Mom and Dad don’t know it’s there.
That night, well after he’d had time to fall deeply asleep, I went into his room to check under his pillow. I took some quarters with me to replace the tooth if I found it. Usually, Calfgrit10 rolls off his pillow and sleeps on the side of his bed up against the wall. This time, though, he was sleeping on his back with his head right in the center of the pillow. I carefully felt under his pillow, all around where I could, but I didn’t find the tooth. It could be right under where his head was, but I couldn’t get under there without risking waking him up. So I left the room.
I thought maybe I should check around his room to see if the tooth was not under his pillow. I took my flashlight in with me and went back to look on his night stand, his dresser, his bookshelf, and on the floor. I didn’t see the tooth. That didn’t necessarily mean it was under his pillow, but there was still that big spot right under his head where I hadn’t felt. I reached under his pillow again and tried to very gently get my hand under the area under his head.
His eyes fluttered. I froze with my hand under his pillow. He rolled over away from me, towards the wall side of the bed. My fingers immediately felt the tooth.
He rolled back toward me and I barely got my hand out from under him before he pinned me down. I didn’t have the tooth.
He raised his hands above his head and stretched. I quietly stepped back away from his bed. His door was open, and the dim light from the hallway nightlight seemed glaring. I tried to stand in what little shadow there was in the room, but I felt like he would have to see me if he opened his eyes fully.
His stretching turned into arising. He kicked his covers off him and rolled out of bed. I stood just a couple of feet away, stock still and holding my breath. His feet touched the floor, and then he slowly walked past me and out his door. I could have reached over and touched him as he walked by. But he showed no sign of noticing me. He was either sleepwalking or I’m a freakin’ ninja.
He went to the hall bathroom. I stepped back to his bed and reached under his pillow. I grabbed the tooth, but I didn’t the quarters in my hand this time. (I had put them down to carry the flashlight.) While he was still in the bathroom, I snuck out of his bedroom.
I went to my bedroom to put away the tooth and get the quarters. With the quarters in hand, I stopped from leaving my bedroom. I heard Calfgrit10 flush the toilet. If I went now, we’d run into each other in the hall. And he’s probably more awake now than he was when he first got out of bed. I watched out the crack in my door. I watched him go back to his bedroom and get into bed. I waited.
I waited a good half hour for him to fall back to sleep. Then I left my bedroom, walked into his bedroom, and eyed him warily for any sign that he wasn’t fast asleep. When I was sure he was deep in dreamland, I tiptoed up to his bed, and slipped the quarters under his pillow about where the tooth had been. I smiled at my sneakiness, and then went to bed, myself.
The next day, he didn’t remember to check under his pillow until the afternoon. He showed his brother and then his mother the quarters the Tooth Fairy had left. When his mother commented that she thought he was not going to put it under his pillow, he admitted, “I said that to trick you.”
Three days later and he still hasn’t mentioned anything about it to me. As far as he knows I know, he lost his tooth.
He thinks he’s smart and slick, with his sneaky testing of the Tooth Fairy. But he just doesn’t understand how smart and slick and sneaky the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause can be.
Unless, of course, he did see me in his room that night. But he gave absolutely no reaction to my presence, so I really don’t think he noticed me, or remembers noticing me.