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The tooth fairy

Ella lost a tooth two days ago. It was the first time she lost a molar. It happened right after school, while I was helping Emma figure out a particularly tricky math problem. But there was no pause in the math homework because Ella didn’t tell me – or anyone – that her tooth had fallen out.

After dinner and the nighttime routine, I tucked Ella into bed. I didn’t know that her tooth was safely tucked away in a small, clear plastic container under her pillow, because Ella still hadn’t told me – or anyone – that her tooth had fallen out.

The next morning, bright and early, I kissed Ella on the forehead to wake her up. Her eyes darted open, and she sat upright in the tangled covers. With both hands, she lifted up her pillow. The clear plastic container, freed from the compression of the pillow, rolled a bit on the white sheets. 

I looked at it, confused. “What’s in that container?” I asked. “Is that a tooth? Did you lose a tooth last night?” Ella smiled triumphantly, picking up the tiny container and holding it out for me to see. 

“I did lose a tooth yesterday, but I didn’t tell anyone. And since there isn’t a note or a shiny quarter under my pillow, I now know for sure that you are the tooth fairy.”

I looked at my growing little girl, grinning with her mouth of teeth, only then noticing the narrow pink gap in the back of her mouth where a molar had been.

I looked at her beautiful smile, reflecting her delight in a cleverly designed and well-executed experiment. And I smiled back. 

Bravo, my sweet girl. May you always joyfully find ways to reach for and discover the truth, under the pillow or wherever it may be. 

-The Tooth Fairy

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.