Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yesterday Lula was in the studio while I continued my eternal activity of walking around the house with random objects in my hands, wondering where the other green sock was and what had happened to the 599 other lego ocean liner pieces; to add to the stupefyingly endless amount of daily household chores, I'd started organizing a closet in the hallway, dumping its dusty, mysterious contents--crap, mostly--on the studio floor.

One of the things in there was a pink box I'd been using to store sentimental stuff--postcards, old passports, somewhat macabre locks of the kids' hair, Lula's baby teeth--and though putting it in the studio with Lula made a little bell go off, I was in a fog of dodishesmakedinnerfoldlaundrywashdogsfindsockopenmail, and it wasn't until I heard her say "Hey Maman! I found my second tooth! We forgot to put it under my pillow!!" that I realized Pink Box + Lula = Oh Shit.

"Your...tooth? What tooth?" I asked, the fogginess giving way to alarm. Silently I berated myself for slipping up, for allowing the Great Tooth Fairy Myth--and Lula's precariously hanging, 7-year-old, almost-not-believing-anymore innocence--to be threatened. She'd recently told me some of her friends don't believe in Santa Claus; though I'd suspected she plays along, to a certain degree at least, with the bizarre gift-oriented lies we tell her ("Yes! It IS remarkable that Santa gives the exact same toys as the ones at H.E.B!" "Yes, it IS weird that Maman and the Tooth Fairy have the same handwriting!"), I'm finding that a year of a child's life, from my new perspective as an ancient person, goes a lot quicker than I remember it going, and...What?? Lula doesn't believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy anymore?! I'M NOT READY FOR THIS!

Scrambling to gather my thoughts, hoping she'd interpret my 10-second pause as Preoccupation With Important Housework, I affected a tone of nonchalance: "Oh right, we forgot that one. We'll just do it tonight." Still frozen in the middle of the living room, I waited for her reaction: had it worked, or would she...laugh at me? Did she know?

She answered in a clear voice, a voice so sweet, so guileless, that I couldn't help wondering if I was the one being duped. "Ok Maman, I'll put it in an envelope, then!" she said, and I heard her walk, suspiciously businesslike, into the office. I heard the filing cabinet open, then the desk drawer (to get a pen to write a note, I assumed), and then, still as perfectly accepting of "the story," maybe just a little too unquestioning, she walked briskly down the hall and into her room.

I heard the bunk bed creak, and started to relax. Phuh-EW, I thought, and then I wondered: had she written a note? If so, what did it say? Was it another series of questions asking how she could beat her friend Sammy in track? Was it a repeat of the last "note"--the words "I WANT A TOY" hastily scrawled on the back of the envelope? Or was it something different, a little more thoughtful--something that matched the steadily growing, happily purposeful activity I sense(d) in my not-so-little girl?

I still don't know what she wrote, because I forgot to do the whole Tooth Fairy routine last night. That came close to inflicting serious damage to the reputation of the Winged Hoarder of Teeth, but! As everyone knows! If you're late getting your tooth under your pillow--even if you forgot!--you get put waaay down at the bottom of the list. So she might not come on a timely basis. Although she had better, if she wants anyone to care about her...

Better go put that scratchy costume on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are hilarious. I love it! Please keep writing- as you make me laugh and love and smile and cry and relate.

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