all the kids

all the kids

Friday, January 12, 2018

What Questions Would You Ask the Tooth Fairy?

Today a tooth fairy came into the class I was subbing in. She was a biggish black college kid with wings strapped on over her hospital scrubs.

All the kids in room 4, 1st grade, were having free time with Legos and it took some time to get them interested in the fairy carrying the giant toothbrush and the giant set of display teeth.

Finally they were gathered around her feet like urchins. She said she had come to tell them about brushing and taking care of their teeth. She said she would talk a little bit and then she would answer two questions at the end.

A kid raised his hand right away.  "Are you the real tooth fairy?"

"Yes I am. We are big during the day, and we get tiny at night."

They stared at her, mystified.

Mya raised her hand. "Can you bring me a unicorn? A real one."

The tooth fairy looked shocked. "I'm not Santa," she said, artfully.

She then showed them how to brush, how many teeth they had, how bad sugar is for your teeth, and how they should visit the dentist twice a year. Sadie raised her hand and said she had never been to the dentist ever.

The tooth fairy looked worried and then said "Well there is going to be a dentist at the school, so you can fill out this form and see the dentist right here on February 28th."

Sadie sighed gravely, "My mom will never do that."

Ryan raised his hand. "My birthday is February 3rd."

The tooth fairy talked a little more about how often to brush, how to floss, and that cavities are little holes in your teeth. She recommended water as the best thing to drink for your teeth.

"Or Gatorade," Enrique suggested.

"Do you have any questions," she said, wrapping it up. "I will answer two."

Mya raised her hand. "What's that say on the side of your glasses?"

The tooth fairy paused. "That's a really good question." She took off her glasses and read it. "Ray Bans."

Another hand went up.

"When is your birthday?"

"October 5th," the tooth fairy answered.

One more hand.

"Do you live in a castle?"

She was packing up her toothbrush wand. "I do live in a castle. With four other tooth fairies."

"What are their names?" Anthony asked.

"Toothfairy Jasmine, Toothfairy Audrey, Toothfairy Eliza and Toothfairy Nina."

I was imagining this castle, and all these fairies in scrubs, probably somewhere in North Hollywood.

After she left, the kids and I were getting ready to start math. I heard Ernest talking to Julianna.

"Do you think she's the real tooth fairy?" He said, earnestly.
Julianna looked dubious and chagrined, at six.  "No."
"I do," he said.
"She was wearing wings. They were fake."
"I think they were real," he said, resolutely.

Mya was laying on the floor crying because she wanted so badly for the tooth fairy to let her use the magic wand. Just once, she whined, lost in possibility.

"Let's go play on the apparatus," I suggested, and all the kids lit up like Christmas. Mya scrambled up, crisis, poof, instantly gone.

The power of the substitute wand.

As we lined up, I thought about how not one of the kids cared at all, or had any questions about teeth, or dental hygiene in general. How three kids actually writhed in fear the minute she mentioned the word dentist. Human nature. The tooth fairy is not about dentists. The tooth fairy is one of the few things a kid can count on, a tool for getting free stuff. A surprise under your pillow. A quarter. A dollar.

A unicorn, maybe.