The Tooth Fairy

Did anybody else have this conversation last night?

I’m putting our two younger ones to bed and the tooth fairy comes up. Why? Well, Kinsey has lost three teeth in the last five days. It’s like that crazy dentist from Marathon Man is working at their school now.

Anyway, her two front teeth and one on the bottom have all come out. She looks hilarious. For about three days she was working over one of her top teeth – twisting it all different directions, trying to get it out. But she wouldn’t pull it out. Mom and her sisters kept urging her to rip that bad boy outta there. But I told her it would come out when it was ready. My Mom told tell me the same thing but my older sister always wanted me to yank it out. See, you’re one of two kids of people. You either pull your tooth out when its loose or you let it come out when its ready. You know which one you are. If you’re a puller, I’m pretty sure you also picked your scabs instead of just letting them heal. Mom’s a puller and a picker. I’m not.

Anyway, when it finally came out the one next to it was just about ready too. Except this one was twisted all weird-like so it was sort of to the left and pointing out at you. Tauting you, hanging on like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Then I pick her up from school yesterday and another one is missing.

“Geez, Kinz did somebody punch you in the mouth today? You’re missing another one!”

“I know! It’s awesome. I’m going to have so much money!”

I sort of questioned the whole tooth fairy myth right here. Not because I’m one of those whiny parents who thinks perpetuating the myths of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy is lying to your kids and setting them up for disappointment. Which is pretty much liberalism if you think about it. But because she’s getting it in her head that she make money by donating body parts.

So they’re getting into bed and Bailey asks me, “Dad, how does the tooth fairy get into the house?”

“I’m not sure kiddo. I’ve never seen her.”

“Is she really small like Tinkerbell?”

“Yeah she’s super teeny,” says Kinsey with a heavy emphasis on “teeny” while squeezing her fingers together.

I shrug and answer, “Really? Well I lock all the windows and doors every night so I have no idea how she gets in here unless she has some sort of special ops training. Plus, if she’s that small, how does she carry the quarters?”

Kinsey: “Well, she has magic like Santa.”

Magic is a key ingredient in the world of children. It helps answer questions and solve problems. Like the “do-over” rule at recess.

“She does?” I ask with as much incredulity as I could muster.

Bailey: “Yeah, she uses magic to come through the windows. Then she flies over to your pillow, takes your tooth and leaves you money.”

Kinsey: “Right and then she uses the tooth to build her tooth castle.”

“Her what?” Actual incredulity evident in my question.

Kinsey: “Her tooth castle. She takes the teeth that kids lose and uses them to build her tooth castle that she lives in.”

Me: “You mean each one of the teeth is like a brick? That’s kinda weird. And probably stinky.”

Bailey: “Dad do you talk to the tooth fairy like you talk to Santa?”

I have the girls convinced that I have Santa’s phone number in my cell phone. It’s pretty cool. I can only call him if its important. Only parents have the number and they aren’t allowed to tell anyone or even talk about it. It’s brilliant.

Me: “Um, no. But the tooth fairy probably knows Santa. I hear that she likes to hang with the elves.”

Kinsey: “Can you call Santa now and tell him that I’ve been really super good?”

Me: “You know, I don’t always get to talk to the jolly old fat man with the snowy white beard. He’s pretty busy. So sometimes I just get the elves. A middle manager somewhere in the toy factory. But he makes sure that the all the messages from Moms and Dads get to the right place.”

Bailey: “So Santa knows. He knows everything. He has a magic snowball and he knows God. Jesus too.”

Kinsey: “Yeah, they are friends.”

Me: “Yup, I think you’re right about that. But you better get to sleep because it’s pretty windy out there tonight and the tooth fairy might be busy or running into delays. You never know how many kids are losing teeth. September is usually a busy month for her.”

Kinsey: “I know. Because all the kids are back in school and that’s when you lose your teeth.”

Me: “Um…right.”

I’m glad they didn’t ask me about the Easter Bunny because I’m not really going to sell that one. A giant pastel colored bunny hopping around hiding plastic eggs? Nobody is going to buy that. Kinda like telling Americans that the government can run health care without raising your taxes…

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The A to Z Book of Toots

I’ve been meaning to get this post up for a couple weeks but our 4th grader kept forgetting to bring her composition notebook home. And she’s really the author of this post.

Over Labor Day weekend, we drove down to Mom’s folks’ house. We picked the girls up after school and were on our way. About halfway there, Riley pulls out her composition notebook. Riley enjoys writing stories.

“Mom and Dad do you want me to read you the book I wrote?”

“You wrote a book?”

“Yes. It’s called The A to Z Toot Book.”

Well how about that, our daughter wrote a book about toots. Cutting the cheese. Barking spiders. Messages from the interior secretary. The thunda from down unda.

And here it is (with some commentary from me):

A is for the Appalachian Toot. Also known as the Hillbilly Toot. You can smell the gubmit cheese.

B is for the Bionicle Toot. I don’t really know what a bionicle is or why it is tooting.

C is for the Caribbean Toot. Spicy with dreads.

D is for the Ding Dong Toot. You probably have heard this one. High pitched to start with a real low bass to finish.

E is for the Echoing Toot. Usually performed in tunnels. Easy to blame on somebody else.

F is for the Fillipian Toot. It’s biblical. I was laughing too hard to tell her she misspelled it.

G is for the Galloping Toot. You’ve done this. You’re running and it’s sneaking out between strides.

H is for the Hound Dog Toot. Always nasty.

I for the Icy Toot. Popping a cold one.

J is for the Jumping Toot. The very idea of a jumping toot is frightening.

K is for the Kangaroo Toot. Sounds like Crocodile Dundee.

L is for the Leprechaun Toot. Smells like potatoes. AKA the “McToot.”

M is for the Moroccan Toot. Spicy with a touch of chickpeas.

N is for the Nestiga Toot. She’s either just making up words or she actually invented a new toot.

O is for the Octopus Toot. Shoots ink.

P is for the Potato Toot. Made famous by Dan Quayle. Related to the Leprechaun Toot but more starchy.

Q is for the Quitter Toot. Noisy with a sudden ending.

R is for the Rhombus Toot. An equilateral parallelogram other than a square toot.

S is for the Soloing Toot. One done alone on a stage or in the Millennium Falcon.

T is for the Tomato Toot. Fights cancer.

U is for the Uranus Toot. Self-explanatory.

V is for the Voca Toot. Rye evidently doesn’t know a lot of words that begin with “v”.

W is for the Wong Kong Toot. Beef and broccoli.

X is for the X-ray Toot. A toot so powerful it emits radiation.

Y is for the Yo-Yo Toot. In and then out, in and then out.

Z is for the Zon-Zon Toot. Far Eastern in origin. Foul in stench.

Published in: on September 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Search

So yesterday we’re supposed to go to the high school at 7 p.m. so we can rent a violin. Simple enough. Except that we’re supposed to be there at 4 p.m. It seems we misread the instruction sheet. The girls and I had just arrived at home and just to be on the safe side I pulled out the sheet telling us what room at the high school we’re supposed to find to rent the violin.

Room 404.

I notice that the rental starts at 4 and ends at 7. Aside from the obvious, why is this important? Well, the music teacher told us to get there right when they start or we might not get a violin.


I call Mom. “Hey guess what? This freaking violin rental thing starts at 4 not 7.”

I load all the girls back into the car and head over to the high school. We arrive and engage in a brisk walk to the door. All of us, except for Bailey, manage to enter the building without incident. It seems Bails thought some of the fallen locust tree leaves were interesting. So she picked some up, stopped looking where she was going and smacked her forehead into the door. And these are big heavy doors.

We’re around some other people so she’s desperately trying to hold in the tears and crying.

(By the way, as I’m writing this, Riley is singing and Kinsey and Bailey are booing her from the shower)

Anyway, I pick her up and head toward the orchestra room. It must be obvious what I’m doing because a guy asks me if we’re here to rent a violin. I tell him we are and he tells me they just rented their last one.

“Well that’s freaking awesome.”

He mentions a couple local music stores we can try. Which is nice but means nothing to me. I can identify most of the major Civil War battlefields on a map without much help but the location of local music stores remains a mystery to me. So we get back in the car and head home because we need to get the flyers from the music stores with the phone numbers and addresses. These are located right next to the sheet that told me to be at the high school at 4:00. I also need my wallet because I forgot to bring that too.

We get home, I run into the house, grab the flyers and jump back into the car. Out of nowhere, good luck strikes! One of the music stores has a location only about 10 minutes away! I call them up and realize, once again, that sometimes God is just messing with me.

Bills-Pats throwbacksTurns out the location near us closed. In January. Now we have to head almost 30 minutes across town. Plus for some ridiculous reason not one freaking local radio station is carrying the Bills-Patriots Monday Night Football opener. The AFL throwback jerseys, by the way, were beyond awesome. They were so excellent that there should be an NFL rule forcing the teams to adopt the throwbacks as their permanent jerseys. In fact, there should be a rule that every year each team has to wear whatever they wore in 1975 at some point in October.

Bolts-Raiders throwbacksIf I were to rank the four throwbacks on MNF, and I did, it would go Patriots, Bills, Chargers then Raiders. This of course excludes the Titans throwbacks which have the old Oilers logo. Regardless, it pains me to put the Raiders fourth – not because I’ve suddenly embraced evil but because those white throwbacks they wore last night were sharp. But it’s tough to beat out the powder blue Chargers uni’s or the Patriots with the vintage Pat the Patriot logo on the helmet. Plus the Bills throwbacks don’t get enough love. They are nearly perfect reproductions of the originals and much cooler than the horribly awful uni’s they wear now. Did you hear the Falcons and Bucs are wearing vintage jerseys next month too? Can’t wait.

Anyway, back to the music store. We get there and it’s busy. Evidently I’m not the only Dad who completely blew the whole violin rental deal. It was like walking into the customer service area the day after Christmas. If there were drums everywhere. Not surprisingly Kinsey and Bailey found them. I’m trying to fill out the rental form as fast as possible but it was like I wanted to take the space shuttle out for the day. They’re asking for my driver’s license, credit card, retinal scan.

I’m feeling kinda bad the whole time too because Monday was Riley’s first rehearsal. Or it was supposed to be but since we blew it and didn’t rent the damn violin in time, she couldn’t go. Then today was her first mini-lesson during day. Now you’re thinking, well, at least she has the instrument now. Except today is the day of the violin lesson for parents and Mom took it with her to work. Why? Because she was getting her hair cut (and colored) after work and since that takes about as long as it took Rommel to build the Atlantic Wall she figured she’d probably just head over to the lesson after that.

So Rye didn’t have it today either. But thankfully they had an extra violin at school and she was still able to get her first lesson. She learned finger and thumb placement and how to pluck the strings. Evidently, this is all a big deal.

But since I had to go through The Great Violin Rental Search yesterday, Mom is doing the violin lesson solo tonight.

Which is nice.

Old, Old Dad

I had a friend tell me today to enjoy the days I have with the girls while they still need me. Little did I know that those days may already be in short supply.

For example, tonight I’m dropping off Kinsey at gymnastics and she is giving me explicit instructions on how to pick her up.

“Dad, when you come pick me up, just wait outside.”

“What? Why?”


“You going to need a better answer kiddo.”

“Well, just wait outside because I can come out by myself. I can just walk out to your car on my own.”


Yeah, I hesitated with my response a little. Because it just felt like I was agreeing that my role in this organization is no longer what it used to be and my skills, while valued, are becoming obsolete.

Luckily for me consistency isn’t one of Kinsey’s strengths.

“Dad, it’s okay for you to come in with me when you drop me off.”

“Cool. Thanks Kinz.”

So I drop her off and head home to dig through the garbage. Why? Because I’m a Dad and when your second grader loses her list of spelling words and freaks out about it, you need to find that damn list.

Unfortunately for me, Kinz forgot to bring her planner with her to school on Tuesday. Labor Day holiday screwed up her whole routine. So she forgot it. Which means her list of spelling words wasn’t written in the planner and instead was written a regular ol’ piece of notebook paper. Which she naturally placed on the kitchen table and was stunned to realize that 24 hours later is missing.

It also so happens that I have a pathological aversion to losing things. It just really never happens to me. I can almost always find what I have temporarily misplaced. I pretty sure that somewhere in my ancestry is some Sioux or Comanche. Mom isn’t this way. It’s not that she can’t find things, it’s that she has some type of genetic code that prevents her from actually looking. I’m completely serious. She loses something and she stops, looks around whatever room she happens to be located and then surmises that whatever it is that she’s looking for is lost. It has been magically transferred into another dimension. It jumped minutes into the future and therefore will always be lost to her. It has taken on chameleon characteristics and is able to camouflage itself. So there is no use in looking.

Riley and Kinsey have inherited this from her. Except they’ve both added whining to their “searching” stage. I mean Flight 19 could emerge from Bermuda Triangle and land on our driveway and unless I said “Hey girls have you seen five big blue U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers? Might be wet, probably look a little old,” they’d walk right by.

In fact Riley announced that I had also lost her spelling list.

“Did you look in your school folder?”


“Try that.”

“Oh, here it is.”

Anyway, I found a lot of stuff. None of it useable unless you’re MacGyver. But not the spelling list. Sometimes Bailey just grabs things to write on so my theory is that she’s confiscated it. If I called her in for questioning now it would be fruitless. Unproductive. Ineffective. Sorta like trying to look off Troy Polamalu on third and long. Season opener tomorrow baby!

I head back to pick Kinsey up and on the way home she notices the lights are on at the high school football field.

“Hey Dad are those guys playing football?”

“Yeah, looks like practice.”

“Do you have to be strong to play football?”

“Yup. Fast too.”

“I’m fast. Are they faster than me? Were you fast when you played football?”

“Well, I was faster back when I was in high school. Now I’m not so fast.”

“Or flexible. Kids are more flexible than grown ups.”

“Right Kinz.”

“Yeah, now you’re just old, old Dad.”

Now I’m just old, old Dad. But that’s not so bad…

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I had this notion that once the girls got a little older and could take care of themselves a little bit, things would get easier for us.

Now I realize that was just stupid.

We’ve hit the after school activities stage for all of them now. Gymnastics on Wednesday nights. Dance on Thursdays right after school. And next week we’re adding some special activities for orchestra.

Yep. Riley decided she wanted to play the violin. Those sneaky orchestra peddlers introduce all this stuff in 4th grade.

Hey kid, look a violin, just try it. Just once. It’s cool, all your friends are doing it.

It’s like crack. You can’t give a kid something that makes noise and encourage them to use it. That’s like giving Josh McDaniels an NFL team and telling him to coach it.

Last week we attended the Orchestra Open House. It was weird. I never played an instrument. I’m bored at halftime when the band plays. And aside from creative chants at college basketball games, I see no useful purpose for the band. But now I have to rent a violin. And I have to make sure Riley practices at least 10-20 minutes every night.

So that’s another thing I have to remember to do. Make sure each kid is reading for 15 minutes. Make sure they do their math problems. Make sure we check their folders for stuff. Do you have any idea how much crap schools send home? The local high school has a cheerleader “clinic” for the grade school girls. The Campfire girls are recruiting. The figure skating club is recruiting. The computer club meets on Tuesday after school. Send in money before next week to make sure you get a school directory. School pictures are this Friday.

Evidently no one is aware that my fantasy football draft is Thursday and I don’t have time for all this parenting crap. Last year my running backs were Jones-Drew, Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson. There is no way I get that lucky again.

Anyway at the Orchestra Open House the teachers played us a few songs. Naturally I was hoping for their version of Paradise City. Sadly, I was disappointed. The only song I recognized was Beethoven’s Fifth. I still like Walter Murphy’s version better.

They played a song at the end that sounded a little bit country. Riley leans over and says, “Dad this is why I want to play the violin. So I can play this cowboy music at Thanksgiving when we’re at Grandma’s house.”

Didn’t see that coming.

But next week we have to go rent a violin from the local high school music co-op on Monday. I don’t know what a music co-op is but it sounds a lot like something that includes community organizing and bailout cash from the feds. Then on Tuesday we have to attend a parent music lesson. Yes, evidently for us to be fully able to encourage our child to practice her violin, we must experience it first.

This is dumb. I mean the girl’s gymnastics coach isn’t dragging my behind out onto the mat and making me do the vault. The math teacher isn’t calling me in to practice long division. But the music teacher wants me to play to the violin.

It is a good thing Mom is going to be there because I have grave concerns about my ability to muzzle any sarcastic comments that wander into my brain.


Nobody likes school more than Bailey. Nobody. Between the time she finishes breakfast and walks out the door might be the happiest I’ll see her all day. But I guess kindergarten is pretty fun. You get a cool new backpack, coloring is one of the subjects and you get to have chocolate milk everyday.

Kinsey had a spelling test last week. It was a list of “ai” words like stain, rain, brain, etc. But that last couple words were ”night” and “word.” So I’m quizzing her on the list and I get to the last one which is “word.”

“Okay Kinz, ready? ‘Word.’”

She says in the “can you use it in a sentence” tone – “Dad do you mean “word” or “word.”

You’re confused. Well had you been there you’d be laughing. Because the difference between “word” and “word” is evidently the influence of Ice-T on 2nd grade spelling tests. Remember back in the day when saying “word” meant “cool” or “damn right,” etc.

Ice-TWell all that evidently hasn’t left American kid culture. When she said the second “word” she kind of bent her waist to the left, crossed her arms in front of her and gave her best rapper pose.

Then yesterday I’m quizzing her on this week’s list of words. And she nails all of them on the first try.

“Dad, did I get them right?”

“Yup! First try too. Good job!”


Yeah, she gave me a cha-ching.

Anyway, I’m making dinner for the girls the other day and I feel someone squeezing my right buttock.

“Dad, your bottom is squishy. Mom’s is hard.”

So I guess there’s that…

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 7:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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