"Mom, Maaahm, my tooth, my tooth, Mom, it hurts!" my 7-year-old, Gabriel, wailed at 5 o'clock the next morning. "It hurts so much, please pull it out, pleeease!"
Just the thought of a wiggling, bloody tooth makes me want to heave. "Honey, I can't do that. I don't do that... you know I can't do that." I said, wiping a tear off his cheek.
"But Mom, that's what Daddy would do. If Daddy were here he'd pull it out and make me feel better!" Gabriel whined.
"Oh, sweetie, I don't think he would. He'd say he was going to, but I'd stop him because it's disgusting. Besides, your tooth doesn't have to be pulled out; when it's ready it'll come out naturally."
"Okay, fine, Mom," he said, annoyed, as if he wanted to say, "I can't believe I have to spend my weekend with this wimp and her lame ideas about nature."
Five minutes later I was in the kitchen making coffee.
"I got it!" The bathroom door went flying open. "Mom!" Gabriel yelled, "I did it! I did it! I got it out."
I ran to him in the hallway with a wad of wet paper towels anticipating a geyser of blood spewing out of his mouth. Thankfully, there was only a hole where the tooth used to be. Gabriel's hand flew up to my face, and there, held between two of his fingers, was the tiny human tusk. I immediately put it in a zip-top bag.
"Congratulations!" Tod shouted from his cell phone. "Don't forget to put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy!" I made a mental note that I would be in charge of this tonight and casually checked the billfold of my wallet. Singles in place, the Tooth Fairy was locked and loaded.
A lot was riding on this. I was not going to be the one to mess with Gabriel's belief in the Tooth Fairy, especially without Tod home to blame if anything went wrong.
We read stories, sang "You and Me Against the World" like we do every night, and put the baggie with the tooth in it under Gabriel's pillow. Everything was set. Or so I thought. I didn't anticipate how distraught my 2-year-old would be without Daddy there to put him to bed. Not wanting the sobbing toddler to keep Gabriel awake, I brought Gideon to bed with me. I was exhausted. Which is exactly why I felt the need to eat a bag of semisweet chocolate chips while watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians, something I would never have done if Tod had been home.
At some point, I passed out cold in front of the TV, my mouth pasted shut with chocolate.