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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 4 weeks ago

OBSERVED: Tooth Fairy? More like Tooth Phony!

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As a dad, I know my primary duty in this world is to keep my wife and children safe.
by: Michael Eng Editor and Publisher

As a dad, I know my primary duty in this world is to keep my wife and children safe. Before we go to bed every night, I check on all three kiddos to make sure they are sleeping soundly. Then, I check every door to the house and make sure all the car doors are locked, too. Some nights, after I make my rounds and crawl into bed, my wife will question whether I actually checked every door. So then, I am compelled to get up to check. Again.

That’s why it’s always been a bit odd that I’m forced to be OK with the likes of the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. First of all, I have no idea how they’re actually getting into my house. But like clockwork, as soon as our oldest was born, they worked their magic, tucking little toys, candies and assorted goodies in baskets, under pillows and in stockings. 

They always seemed to bring such joy to our kids, so I have let their repeated unlawful entries into our home slide.

But, our most recent run-in with the Tooth Fairy has me rethinking that blind eye.

Two weekends ago, we had the parent trifecta of stress: one sleepover birthday party (away) followed by a second sleepover birthday party (hosted) and capped with a no-school Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The morning after the first slumber party and a few hours before the next was to begin, our daughter, Aria, came bounding into the kitchen.

Guess what? she said, as she presented her first molar. 

Of course, the Tooth Fairy does not visit during slumber parties, so I told her to place the tooth into a Ziploc bag for after the weekend.

The weekend continued with the second slumber party and then a recovery day (for the kids; Mommy and Daddy still had to work) Monday. 

On Tuesday, we woke Aria early for school. She was particularly ornery — to be expected after a three-day weekend. We prodded a little at the breakfast table: Why are you in a bad mood? Are you just tired?

All through breakfast, Aria had had that Ziploc bag balled into her fist. Incensed, she slammed it on the table — Sherlock Holmes style.

We have LED bulbs, but somehow, they seemed to get hotter as she seared her stare into us. Sweat began to bead on my brow; I turned to my wife, hoping she had an alibi. Aria demanded answers, but we had none. The Tooth Fairy had not come. She kept claiming we were the Tooth Fairy and that we messed up. We stumbled for words, eventually convincing her to try again that night.

Wednesday morning came. Thankfully, the Tooth Fairy did arrive, burgled the molar, left three mangled dollar bills and a letter on official Tooth Fairy stationery.

Sure, there was an apology. But that twit also didn’t hesitate to throw my wife and me directly under the bus’ wheels.

“Your parents have been very busy and forgot to send me the alert about your tooth,” she told our daughter. “I’m so sorry.”

Rage pooled in my fists as I read the note, but instead of lashing out, I handed it back to Aria.

“I’m just glad she visited,” I told her.

And I was. Crisis, it seemed, had been averted. I turned to walk away.

“Wait a minute,” Aria said. “So, you alert her? I didn’t know that. How do you alert her?”

Michael Eng is the editor and publisher for the West Orange Times & Observer, West Orange Observer, Baldwin Park Living magazine and OrangeObserver.com. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism....

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