The Case of the Missing Tooth

Bring on the Tooth Fairy!

“Look, Ma! There’s a hole in my mouth!”

So, the 6yo lost his third tooth six nights ago…

And the very next day, he managed to lose it all over again.

(I swear, is it only in MY family who can actually lose the same tooth TWICE?!)

Okay, so it all started last Wednesday night, when Liam was brushing his teeth and POP! out came the wiggliest of the three wiggly teeth he’s been working on losing for the last few weeks.

Initially there were great hoots and hollers of delight and excitement, but then he got little worried, because he decided he really needed, and I mean “needed” (on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is I-need-to-clean-the-play-room-or-Mama-is-going-to-go-postal-but-I-don’t-really-care and 10 is I-need-to-find-a-bathroom-right-now-or-I’m-absolutely-going-to-die he was probably at a 5, which isn’t bad, but it was going to slow down bedtime), to show his tooth to his BFF, who was coming over the next morning for an all-day play date and sleepover. So, after a lot of fretting and a wee bit of thought, he decided to write a note to the Tooth Fairy:

The 6yo wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy

“Dear Tooth Fary. Please do not pick up my tooth today. Thank you. From Liam.”

Clearly, the Tooth Fairy thought it was as cute and persuasive a note as I did, and very graciously decided to wait until the next night to pick up Liam’s precious (and so tiny!) tooth. (The fact that the Tooth Fairy was plum out of the gold $1 Sacajawea coins that she’s always left for all the teeth she’s collected in this house has absolutely no bearing on her willingness to wait. No bearing at all…)

The next morning Liam’s friend came over, and before the kid even had his shoes off, Liam had run upstairs to his room and come back with his tooth in hand to proudly show and tell.

Right. Did you catch that, Sherlock? “With his tooth in hand.” Not tooth in envelope. Tooth in hand.

I, however, did not actually SEE the tooth in hand. Or I would’ve made sure the tooth went from hand back to envelope.

Instead, I was busy talking with M-’s mom about the arrangements for the day and night (it would be both 6yo boys’ first sleepover, so there were contingency plans to be made), as well as trying to keep the 2yo from stealing my phone (he’s OBSESSED I tell you!) and texting things like “High” to various individuals in my contact list (all of whom now think I am overly fond of hippie lettuce; or am I just being paranoid?!), all the while also trying to convince my 10yo daughter and her friend (who was also over for an all-day play date and sleepover; they’d eventually be joined by another friend for a grand total of six – SIX!! – children playing, eating and sleeping at my house that day and night – because I’m CRAZY) that Liam would have a fit if they were playing with every single one of his Hexbugs, and as there are now so many Hexbugs thanks to Christmas, couldn’t, oh I don’t know, SHARING be possible?? All that to say, there was MAYHEM happening when the tooth in hand was quickly discarded to the table

Where breakfast bowls and plates still remained to be cleared

And cleared they eventually were. You know… in order to make room for elevensies. And lunch. And afternoon snack. And dinner. All of which were also cleared. From the table. Where the tooth no longer was to be found… Having, clearly, been cleared

But I didn’t know that until bedtime, when Liam, perhaps just a tad tired after caroming around like a pinball all day long and staying up at least two hours after his normal bedtime, and perhaps just a smidgen nervous about his first-ever sleepover, came traipsing downstairs to ask me – who was perhaps just more-than-a-little brain dead from entertaining and feeding six (adorable, but still… six) kiddos all day AND somehow managing to vacuum and wash all the floors in the house before the kids’ movie ended – for his tooth.

Yeah, turns out… my fairly cavalier response of “Uh… What do you mean? I haven’t seen it” wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. Ohhh nooo….

Let’s see… How best to describe the EMOTIONAL MAELSTROM that hit that night (without using profanity)? Well, let’s just say bedtime didn’t go so smoothly that night…

Luckily, the Tooth Fairy comes anyway, even when children who lose their teeth refuse to sleep in their own bedroom during their own sleepover (yes, really). And even when the lost teeth are, well, really truly lost.

And luckily, all was well the next morning when Liam found his gold $1 George Washington coin (the Tooth Fairy couldn’t find any Sacajawea dollars; what’s up with that?!), and excitedly showed it to his friend (who had somehow weathered the storm over the missing tooth with remarkable aplomb) while they ate their oatmeal and played with Hexbugs. And just like that, Liam was over his disappointment. The tooth has now been missing for almost a week, and I don’t think he’s given it another thought.

I, however, have been going crazy wondering where that dang tooth has gone! Partly, because it makes me sad that there won’t be a tiny little tooth to put in the envelope with the letter to the Tooth Fairy and to place in Liam’s memory box with all his other lost teeth (past and future). But mostly, because it’s a freaking UNSOLVED MYSTERY. I’m no Hercule Poirot, but I NEED TO KNOW.

And I *have* looked. It wasn’t on the table, which really was clear when Liam asked me for it. It wasn’t on the buffet. It wasn’t hiding underneath the dining room curtains. Nor had it somehow miraculously appeared back in the envelope with the letter to the Tooth Fairy, which sat next to Liam’s bed in his bedroom (yes, I really did look).

It’s possible it was mistaken as a toast crumb and swept up and dropped in the compost bin – and I’m not going there. Ick! Or perhaps one of the dogs ate it in one of their many (read: many many many) forays under the dining room table (and all around the house; truly, they’re incorrigible and insatiable) to find any morsel of food they can sniff out – and I’m definitely not going there. Ick times infinity!

Last night the mystery of the missing tooth finally drove me to get out a whisk broom and gently sweep under the buffet. Though I’d of course looked there that first night, I thought that maybe the tooth had been pushed against the walls so I couldn’t see it. No luck. All I got for my efforts was a square yellow Lego piece and an old dusty raisin… and some very odd looks from my husband and kids when they returned home from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practice to find me on my knees, on the floor, in a very unflattering pose.

This morning found me back at cleaning day. I (rather grumpily) brought out the vacuum cleaner and went to replace the dust bag, which was full… and inspiration hit. I grabbed the bag and returned to the scene of the crime (spreading out a piece of newspaper on the dining room table to catch the dirt, because, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m smart like that). I had a good feeling about this! I found the scissors and gently cut one side of the bag open. I looked inside… And… Holy Grossness, Batman!!!! As my eyes bugged out in revolt at that compacted pile of dust bunnies and dog and cat hair and Christmas tree needles and toast and cereal crumbs that made up the contents of my vacuum bag, I second- and triple-guessed my (ridiculous?) “need” (on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I-need-to-dust-but-what’s-the-point-everything-will-look-grey-again-in-two-hours and 10 is I-need-a-glass-of-wine-or-the-kids-might-not-make-it-to-morning I was probably at a 4, which isn’t bad, but it was waking me up in the middle of the night) to find this one tiny (have I mentioned TINY?!) tooth.  Well, I’d come this far… Slowly I dumped out a little, just a little, of that nastiness and… THERE WAS THE TOOTH!! THE TOOTH!! I. Kid. You. Not… I found the tooth. The tiny little tooth that was lost not once but twice. It was CRAZY. And very exciting!

The 6yo's lost tooth is found

Can you see it? That TINY little white speck is the dang tooth that kept me up at night! Plus, I found a penny. How great is that?!

I did a little happy dance. Took photos to text my husband (who wrote back “What IS that?!” – okay, so it’s not a great photo, but in my defense, it *is* a tiny tooth…). And, finally, tucked the tooth safely in the little envelope, with Liam’s cute and persuasive note to the Tooth Fairy written on the front, and hid it all away, up high in a rarely used cabinet so he’ll never find it, in Liam’s memory box.

Where, since it’s in a “hidden” location, I’m sure it will be lost. Again. Because, really, that’s just how this family rolls.

But today? Today I feel like I did Agatha Christie proud. And I can finally say:

Case closed.

(Wow, that’s satisfying… I should totally solve mysteries more often… Like, I’d love to know where Liam lost his North Face fleece; that mystery really irks me… Also, I’d love to know where I lost my mind. That’s been lost since at least 2002… And some days, I really miss it…)

10 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Tooth

  1. I have always admired your drive for research and quest for the nugget of information that satisfies your thirst for knowledge, but this particular quest for the answer to the unsolved mystery, my friend, is freaking hysterical!!! I’m calling you Agatha from now on!

  2. Somehow I can’t post this:

    “Happy to have you back writing again! Isn’t it funny that a child’s long-forgotten “need” can transform into our obsession! As for the Sheppards, we only seem to lose teeth when we are traveling. Fortunately, she deals with foreign currency! We’re keeping Mrs. Fairy on her twinkle toes!”




  3. 6 children and more than 1 dog? I had a mini mental breakdown just imagining the energy that would take. Seriously, wow. What kind of special wine do you drink? It must be aMAZing.
    And kudos on finding the tooth. I’m the finder of lost things in our house too and when I can’t find something (even when I’m not the one emotionally invested in the item) I take it personally.

    • I confess, it was very gratifying to finally have found the missing tooth! Yesterday, however, my 2yo lost two of these itty-bitty little toys (ninja things his older sibs got out of a vending machine for a quarter) that he calls “babies,” and I have a sinking feeling that I vacuumed them up… But I just can’t bring myself to cut open another vacuum bag!! That’s terrible, isn’t it? Sigh…

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