Tooth Booth

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“I have a cavity in my mouth!” she announced, elated.

“You do?” I couldn’t suppress a smile. The contrast between the child’s delight and the mom’s anguish was too funny.

“Yeah,” the girl expounded, lisping all the way. “It’s a hole! The dentist has a special magic mirror for my teeth and she looked all over and she said I have a cavity.”

“Wow,” I managed and raised an eyebrow at the mom, who nodded solemnly.

“Next week,” the mother sighed. “I’m not looking forward to it …”

I understood why. This little girl could raise roofs at the mere sight of needles. Just ten days prior the mom had shared with me her mortification at the horrified looks people had given her when she’d emerged with her child from a routine blood draw. “Everyone in that waiting room must have been convinced we were slicing her in pieces,” the mom had vented. “I can’t believe they hadn’t all called Child Protective Services or 911.”

“Laughing gas …” I mouthed.

The mom inhaled and shrugged and nodded all in one. Skeptical and perhaps a little hopeful.

“Not next week,” the child pointed out. “Tonight!”

The mom and I exchanged looks.

“What do you mean, tonight?” the mother asked. “Doc Dee said she’ll see us after lunch next Tuesday.”

“Yeah,” the little girl waved this information away. “But I have a cavity,” she stressed. “So the Tooth Fairy is going to get it first.”

She opened her mouth to give us both a good look before turning to me. “I don’t know why the dentist needed a magic mirror,” she added and her voice rose in puzzlement. “I can see my cavity right away already.”

She held her mouth agape and pointed to a newly lost incisor. “See? It’s right here.”



For The Daily Post

Happy Flying!

tooth fairy
This is the sweetest story of an eight year old with a lost tooth and an obliging tooth fairy, but most of all, it is the story of a principal who understood, and did what he could.

And that, as we know, is a lovely whole lot!

Here is the story from Vancouver:

Principal Writes Letter to Tooth Fairy

A letter from a B.C. principal to the Tooth Fairy on behalf of an eight-year-old girl has gone viral after it was posted on the school’s Facebook page.

Avery Patchett is in Grade 3 at James Hill Elementary School in Langley and last week she lost her third tooth during class. Her teacher gave her a necklace to help her keep the tooth safe, but when she went outside at recess to play she tripped and fell, knocking the tooth into the dirt.

“When I was running up the stairs, maybe my tooth necklace was loose,” said Avery. She was upset that she had lost her tooth as she wanted to give it to the Tooth Fairy that night.

“When I tripped and lost it, I lost it forever,” she said. “I looked a couple of times and I still haven’t found it because the tooth looks like rocks.”

That is when her principal, Chris Wejr, stepped in to help.

Avery came to him crying about what had happened. “She was upset because she had lost her lost tooth and she was worried the Tooth Fairy wasn’t going to come,” said Wejr.

“I said ‘well, I’ve sent a letter to the Tooth Fairy before and it worked’ and I said ‘what do you think about us sitting down and writing up a formal letter with our logo on it and everything and giving that to the tooth fairy?’”

So they wrote a letter together and Avery took it home to give to the Tooth Fairy.

“She gave me five dollars,” she said.


Wejr had previously helped a student at his former school through a similar experience and said it is important to help kids in this way and to share these stories. When he posted the letter on the school’s Facebook page, it immediately generated a huge response.

“It shows that people want to hear the positives,” he said. “There’s so many incredible caring moments that happen in schools every day and they don’t get shared, so we try to share the positive moments that happen at school once in a while.”

Avery’s mom Debbie said she did not expect this at all from her child’s principal. “I just thought, ‘wow, it’s a really nice gesture’,” she said.

“He took something really small and made this a memory for her that will last forever, and it is a small gesture, but it means everything,” she added. “We hear so many horrible stories every day, it’s nice to hear this story, this small little story, this little gesture.”

Wejr said the lesson here is that sometimes adults need to stop and make sure they show kids they care and help them in moments of distress.

“Sometimes the small things can really have a large impact if we just take the time,” he said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

 To see a video clip of the story, click here.

Believe in Magic!


“Is the tooth-fairy real?”

The six-year-old shows me a new hole in her mouth. First wobbly baby tooth fell out over the past week, welcoming this Kindergartener to a new world, as well as placing her face to face with the frail veil between reality and fantasy, logic and magic.

“What do you think?” (again, my standard reply: she must have some hypothesis about this if she’s asking. I’m more interested in knowing what she’s thinking than telling her about mine)

Frown. Pause. A searching look–am I doing the ‘adult avoidance of answers dance’ or am I really interested? She decides I’m worth the effort.

“I think she’s not real,” the little girl curls one side of her mouth with the bitterness of the words.

“Wow, really? Why??” The surprise in my voice is real enough, even if the extra oomph to it is intentional as a way to mirror the depth of the child’s emotion about this.

“Because it is really not her. It is mommies and daddies. The tooth-fairy is just pretend. I saw my mommy put the dollar under my pillow,” she is trying to sound very matter of fact about it, but she is disappointed. Crushed, more like. A little miffed, too, for the charades, and for having noticed it. Certain kinds of knowing exact a high price.

“Oh, well, maybe the tooth-fairy just needed their help,” I note. Sometimes such announcements about magic-loss are actually challenges, fragile requests for help in restoring the possibility of wonder, Santa-Clause, and fairies.

Eyebrows raised–am I trying to trick her?–but there’s also a smallish rounding of wonder in her eyes. She’s curious now. Hopeful. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m thinking, all those children losing teeth. I bet sometimes there are just too many in one night for the tooth-fairy to get to, so maybe she asks the parents to help.”

“Oh.” A moment of silent thinking. She’s letting this in, perched on the fence between accepting what she wants to believe, and what would put doubts to rest but also put out magic.

I wait. There’s no rushing works of hearts.

“So …” she pipes up, “Maybe my mommy helped because there’s only one tooth-fairy and she was too busy?”

“Maybe, huh?”

“YEAH!” her face transforms. It is lit now. “Because the tooth-fairy, she only has little wings, and maybe she had to be very far, like in California … so she couldn’t have time to come everywhere at night!” Pause. Smile. Wonder in her eyes. “You think maybe next time … when my other tooth falls, see? (she demonstrates a minor-wiggle in the other top incisor), you think the tooth-fairy will maybe be in New York?”

Magic restored.