So my son -Leo?- I may have mentioned him a time or two (or a million) before on this blog, lost a tooth today at camp. He was thrilled.
“I can’t wait to put this under my pillow for the tooth fairy,” he said.
“Why,” I asked.
Later on, Leo found a very nice card and a very nice pencil and he sat down to work.
“Mom,” he said. “How do you spell ‘fairy’?”
I told him. The house deepened into open-mouthed silence. Then:
“Mom,” he said. “How do you spell ‘please’?”
Then: “How do you spell ‘bucks’?”
Finally, after a long time working, he came to my office to show me his work. It was in his very best handwriting. Each word was exactly one fingerspace from the word before it. He had decorated it with wings and hearts and lightsabers.
“You worked hard,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “Because I have a new strategy.”
He looked over his right shoulder. Then over his left. Then he cupped his hands around my ear and whispered earnestly. “I know how I can get a Lego Death Star.”
Ah, the Lego Death Star!
It is, in the Barnhill house, the Holy Grail of toys! It is our World Cup, our Pennant, our dragon’s gold, our doorway to Valhalla! It haunts Leo’s dreams and occupies his waking moments. It is all he wants, all he dreams about. It is the one thing – the one thing! – that child covets.
“A lego Death Star?” I asked incredulously.
“I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. The tooth fairy! The tooth fairy has LOTS of money!”
He showed me his note.
Dear Tooth Fairy, his note said. Here is my tooth. I took care of it. Please give me 400 bucks. Love, Leo.
Then, he lovingly placed the note in a quart sized ziplock with his tooth, decorated it with stickers for good measure, and put it under his pillow.
Right now, that child is dreaming of going to Legoland in the Mall of America, plunking down his four hundred bucks in shiny new quarters, and skipping home with the death star under his arm.
Right now, under his pillow, is a new note.
Dear Leo, the note says,
After careful consideration, we decided, instead of four hundred bucks, to give you four quarters.
The Tooth Fairies.
Who’s the meanest mom alive? This girl, right here.