Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tooth Fairy, Redux

Now, the fact that Stryker remains among the fairy faithful has a special poignancy for the Matron. She's here to tell you the backstory -- and that narrative?

Suckified Mothering 101

When Stryker lost his first tooth at seven, the Tooth Fairy--full of wine and emotion on her first EVER visit to this family--gave that boy a crisp $5 bill! Now, what hapless T.F. considered a one-time blowout, Stryker perceived (of course) as Precedent.

So when a single dollar rolled in for the next couple of teeth, he was less than impressed. Annoyed, even. (she knows that buck probably already makes her a spendthrift but she is loose with money when she's giving it away, whether she has sufficient cash or not)

But the next loose tooth? He methodically presented this analsyis to the Matron and her husband.

"Look, on one hand, I'm pretty sure you guys are the Tooth Fairy. But on the other hand, if the Tooth Fairy really exists, then she knows that this is special: I need FIVE DOLLARS again because then I'll have enough money to buy a pokemon game for my GameBoy. PLEASE GIVE ME $5!!"

The Matron could fill cyberspace with the amount of time Stryker spent on that simple narrative -- either way, magic or Matron, Fairy or father, he deserved five bucks. He pitched this up and down, in the bathrub, through dinner, dancing back and forth between the poles of "you're the Tooth Fairy" and "if she exists, then, surely."

Late that night, the Tooth Fairy, far more sober in all respects, left the darling boy the standard single dollar bill--with a well-crafted Fairy note and magic Fairy dust, to ease the blow. She kissed his sweet blonde head, too, just for a bonus.

At 5:53 am, the entire family awoke to this roar: "I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST GOT ONE LOUSY DOLLAR! I HATE THE TOOTH FAIRY!! I HATE YOU GUYS YOU ARE THE TOOTH FAIRY, I JUST KNOW IT!"

Screaming, crying, ranting and raving ensued.

And the Matron? Startled out of her sleep, such? Why she was as cool as a cucumber. She did what she sometimes remembers to do during Behavior Emergencies-- she consciously made the decision to pretend to be somebody else. Yes! She imagined herself actually being her Early Childhood and Education teacher, Beth.

Far from suckified mothering, the Matron rocked. Channeling Beth, she felt nothing but compassion and clear boundaries.

"I see you have strong feelings about that, Stryker."

"Oh honey. I bet you're disappointed!"

"It's okay to be angry, but please do scream in your bedroom."

"It's good that you're expressing your sadness, but remember to do it respectfully. Please take the wailing to the other room."

The marathon tantrum began just before 6 am, giving Stryker a full two and a half hours to rage. And friends? Rage, he did. And he was clever. Relentless. You see, once he stopped screaming (oh, like hour two) his new strategy was to follow the Matron, dogged her like gum on a shoe.

He followed her with this, alternating between despair, sobs and anger; the tone varied between the sigh of death and volcanic rage: "I can't believe you did that!" "I know you're the tooth fairy!!" "You must hate me!!" "If this is what real fairies do, well, I'm done with fairies!!."

"There is no tooth fairy. I can't believe you did that.!!! YOU're the Tooth Fairy and I wanted five dollars!" He didn't stop for a second, screaming from the bathroom when he had to pee.

And the Matron? She was all calm and groovy and like "boy, you have strong feelings, babe" for just over 2.5 hours. But that last half hour, she felt something great planetary shifting in her belly. Deep cracks and rumbles and shakes. "Beth" began suffering from Headache. Supressed Rage. Exhaustion. Strong Dislike.

On the walk to the van, "Beth" gasped one last good-parenting breath and died.

The three children piled into the van and Stryker wailed: "I know there's no Tooth Fairy! I wanted that five bucks. You did it!"

And the Matron?

Even she of wit and verve cannot adequately describe her rage--she was Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Every inch of her body shook and shimmied and threw itself into this SCREAMING presentation:

"YOU'RE RIGHT! YOU'RE RIGHT!! THERE IS NO F$%CKING TOOTH FAIRY! IT'S ME, ME, ME. AND YOU'RE NEVER GETTING ANOTHER DIME!"

And with that, she laughed manically!! Felt the pure raw joy of the righteous flush through her, was swept up in the sweetness of pure relief. She might have even panted at that steering wheel, a little bit. Damn, that felt good.

Until she started noticing the steady hum of sobs behind her. Sniff, sob, weep. Merrick was the loudest, just over one and surprised to discover that his mother was actually a demon. Scarlett was a close two -- she added moaning. Stryker just wept. Cried and cried.

That's what she listened to, all the way to school. Suckified mothering, indeed. The Matron is the woman who actually said "There is no f#%cking Tooth Fairy" to her children. And meant it.

The nail in her heart? When they arrived at school and she turned to assess the damage, Scarlett turned a soggy red face toward her mother and said: "But Mama! I haven't even lost a tooth yet!"

Oh! Mortal blow!

The Matron got down on bended knee and begged for mercy with the single strategy she had.

"You know when someone is really really mad and they think of the meanest thing they could possibly say -- like Scarlett how you told Stryker you were going to throw his GameBoy off the balcony but you really weren't? -- well, I was that mad. The WORST lie I could think of was that the Tooth Fairy didn't exist. She does! She does!"

And the Matron made more explanatory dance until the big kids went to school and she crept home.

Stryker probably still believes in the Tooth Fairy because he is afraid not to. Perhaps this shining track record is why the Matron has concerns over that whole conversation about Santa. . . .

12 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

I am anxious to hear the Santa conversation. You dream crusher, you. Welcome to the club.

Heather said...

See, now I could totally see myself saying something like that in one of my fits. But my children already know I'm nuts.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I knew there was a reason I lock them in their rooms during a tantrum. Lord knows what I would do if I snapped.

JCK said...

Anyone would have snapped. And you back pedaled magnificently at the end.

phd in yogurtry said...

magnificent backpedaling is right! bravo!

my daughter has recently learned the tooth fairy sleeps at the wheel. the last tooth I completely forgot to inform the tooth fairy's delivery man. and then forgot again. and again.

no crushing blows in this house. dreams die a very slowm painful and confusing death around here.

PicaboMama said...

Oh, so tragic, but so well written! I was transported to your mini-van...

justhay said...

Matron, you rock! No two ways about it, you have a phD in mothering.

Queenly Things said...

Don't you know that sometimes the Tooth Fairy makes multiple visits on occasion. And sometimes there are so many children to deliver money to that one night is not enough so we'll just leave it under your pillow for another night (or two) and she'll get here, not to worry.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That is so me--near perfection followed by a descent into absolutely losing it. I blame the children.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange that when kids find out about the real Santa and the real Tooth Fairy, they continue to believe in the God myth!

Irene said...

But what you screamed at them was so absolutely right and perfect...

Angie said...

I know that place where you went, Matron - I've visited there a time or two myself. The Suckified Mothering Planet. Yes, it's painful to return to Earth after being there - but you are human - and sadly, will return there again before this whole thing is over.

Your recovery was awesome - not sure I could come up with such an answer on the spot.

All will be forgiven as you are their mama, mistakes and all:)