Tooth fairy magic

4 05 2014

Saturday morning, Caleb was lolling around in our bed while we pretended to be asleep, which we do for as long as we can every morning, which really means hoping to make it to 6:30 before Evanny wakes up.  He was being very quiet about his whispering, and then suddenly he wasn’t:

“It’s out!” he shouted, sitting bolt upright in shock and delight.

Toothless 1.0: Caleb finally achieves the mark of pride he's been looking for since starting first grade.

Toothless: Caleb finally achieves the mark of pride he’s been looking for since starting first grade.

The “it” in question was his first lost tooth, which he’d been wiggling at us for the past few weekends.  Two weekends ago, he bit down on it while eating dinner, caught it crooked, felt it grind, was totally grossed out, then noticed he was bleeding, and panicked and cried, so we were a bit worried about the actual loss, but it was mostly painless, and he didn’t seem too bothered by going to get himself some toilet paper for the bits of bleeding–he was way too excited to have the tooth in his hand.  The idea had been haunting him all year–other first graders were losing teeth and he wasn’t–so the loose tooth and the possibility of its loss had been a source of much attention for some time, and he was delighted with the actuality.  It didn’t hurt, and there was a tooth in his hand, and the gap!  It was so fun to play with!  And stick his tongue into!  And stare at in the mirror!  And whistle through!  And when he bit apples, it didn’t hurt anymore!  AND there was another loose tooth nearby!

So it was a pretty exciting day to be Caleb.  “I know about the tooth fairy,” he confided in us at one point.  “I know she leaves money and treats!”  We pretended to be delighted by this news, but we grumbled when his back was turned (and I complained on Facebook–who has to keep raising the bar for all the kids’ holiday traditions, and then spreading it around at school, so if you want to make the traditions believable you have to keep getting them more and more things?!).  We decided a dollar would do it, and I was pleased to find a golden dollar-coin in my coin bank this morning to leave under his pillow (he ended up spending the night at a friend’s house, but we told him the tooth fairy was expecting him to be here, so this was where she’d be looking for the tooth–which helped ensure he couldn’t lose it, since his mom wants it back to keep).  Treats, though, we weren’t going for.  Besides, I reasoned (as did at least one of my commenters online), what kind of tooth fairy would leave tooth-rotting, sugary junk to celebrate new teeth?

And then when he was brought home this morning, we and the friends he’d been staying with all went up to the park to look for his friend Will’s dad running by in a local 5k, and on the way back to the house, as we walked across the park in a spread-out string, Caleb’s treat appeared: with Matt and Evanny-in-her-backpack far ahead, walking with Will’s sister Ruby and their puppy Thea, and Will and his mom far behind, and me just far enough between them, with Maggie, to see the whole tiny story unfold, but not close enough for the dog to interfere, Caleb turned, mid-step, to some sound nobody else could hear, and a tiny shape separated itself from a pile of leaves and started for him, all fuzz.  He started running towards the shape–the tiniest little furball of kitten–and rather than hunkering down or fleeing, the kitten kept walking towards him, and didn’t shrink away at all when he bent down to pick it up.  He looked back at me, questioning and stunned at the same time, and I yelled ahead “just be careful.  Hold it gently; keep walking,” because I didn’t want the dog to lunge.  We caught up with him, and then the family, and after a few minutes I traded off the dog to Matt and took the kitten, because both dogs wanted to lick it, and he’s not tall enough to keep it out of their reach–but he didn’t want to let go, and the kitten didn’t want to let go of him, and I didn’t really want to separate them.

Matt, of course, was horrified by the implications–we couldn’t ask him to put it back, not as carefully as he’d been carrying it, not as proud as he was of himself–“I saved the kitten’s life!”–and we couldn’t have a fourth cat.  I was in total agreement, but more worried about the animal itself–a little bundle of sticks under a great cloud of wispy fur with occasional burrs and mats, with one eye glued shut and the other thickly goopy with whatever universal kitten goop seals the eyes of feral babies–so when we got home, we divided to conquer: Matt locked the cats in the basement, corralled the dogs with a baby gate on the stairs, and failed to distract the children, and I took the infant upstairs, ran the tap to get the water warm enough to washcloth-lick its eyes in the hopes of finding two intact, and gave the children tasks to keep them out of the bathroom so the poor thing wouldn’t be totally inundated.

photo (5)

“Toothless*,” the kitten Caleb has named vaguely after the dragon, but mostly in honor of his first lost tooth and the fairy who must have brought them together–dwarfed by a giant box that once housed 6 whole beers.

Fifteen minutes later, we had a wet-faced, miniscule kitten with two bright, black eyes, a beer-box with washcloths in it to serve as a bed, a tissue box as a litter pan, two tiny bowls with water and kibble, a tentative gender-identification**, and three kids fighting over who got to hold him longest and in which order.  Meanwhile, Matt had made the kids lunch and had been texting and then phoning Caleb’s mother, who has never wanted cats, to explain the situation.  “We’ll take him to the vet, get him checked out, get his eyes fixed, all of that,” he was saying, when I finally banished all of us from the room and left the little thing to rest in its new nest, “because the shelters won’t take a sick cat, so you don’t have to decide now.  I don’t want to put any pressure on you.  We just can’t have another one–but you have at least a week to think about it.”  He also sent her the picture at the bottom of this post.  Jenn, who is not a fool, thought about it for about two minutes (Caleb’s pride and hope, the hero she’d be for agreeing, the amount of measurable chaos one small cat would be likely to add to a mixed household already containing two part-time dogs, a part-time teenager, a part-time first-grader, and a full-time toddler), consulted her partner, and called Matt back to say they’d take him. Today.  Jason would take him to the vet’s tomorrow.  And so we got a miracle: a kitten-saving that didn’t earn our household another cat to fight with, a chance to just keep saying “yes,” and a happy, happy kid, and her boy–our boy–got his tooth fairy “treat” by spades and rainbows: his own kitten, who chose and found him.



“He came to me because he likes me. I saved his LIFE!”

*I’ve been informed that, now that he’s with his new family, “Toothless” has become “Lucky”‘s middle name, to give Caleb’s 2-year-old brother a ghost of a chance of pronouncing the name of the new family pet that he, too, is very excited about!
**Also, we were wrong; the vet says “Lucky” is a girl.




One response

4 05 2014
Leslie McFadden

Awesome! So sweet!

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