If clean unicorns live in rainbow clouds and frolic in colorful wildflower fields, then the dirty rebel ones live at the fair. They can smoke behind the outhouses and gamble with the carnies, but they still have all the rainbow colors which they need to transform carbon dioxide into sugar. Oh wait, that’s plants.
Okay, scratch that.
Hey, we went to the fair, and how ‘bout those colors?
A feast for the eyes, if you can ignore the fact that the fairground air is 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and 2% corn dog grease. That and the bad t-shirts, this year’s WTF Award going to the guy at my picnic table whose shirt highlighted a map of Florida molded into a revolver with “Welcome to the Gunshine State” screen-printed above it. Classy.
We focused on the colors though because we are highly trained in that area, and once again the fair delivered.
I love it all—the cotton candy, the lights, the lemonade cups, the way you can look up in any direction and see a framed picture—ferris wheel against sky, Fun Slide against sky, bundle of balloons against sky. Nella grew into her fair-legs this year, landing right in the yellow zone on “Are You Tall Enough?” charts so that she could join Lainey on the kiddie rides and join Mom on the Fun Slide (“Again! Again!”).
Appropriately timed toward the end of the evening when all patience had been used, energy exhausted and optimism levels shaky, Lainey lost her first tooth—something for which she’d been waiting a whole year (since kindergarten buds were bragging of their losses) and I’ve been waiting seven years. I mean, I bought the beautiful pewter tooth fairy compact from a specialty store before I was even pregnant and have been waiting seven years to use it. Anyway, it happened right outside the funnel cake stand after she bit into her corn dog and complained that her tooth hurt. I looked in her mouth, saw the little tooth half an ax chop from Timber!, told her it was almost out and then she reached up to wiggle it. Next thing I know, it was gone. Blood-spattered overalls, full blown tears, corn dog flung to the ground and her first little tooth completely M.I.A.—its only possible location in the pile of dirt at our feet which was conveniently covered in thousands of white tooth-shaped bits of broken shells.
Alerted to the drama by—oh, I don’t know—the wails heard from space, Brett ran over to investigate.
“She lost her tooth!” I yelled, trying to dial down the drama as best as I could while sifting through the first of many handfuls of dirt and broken shells. “It’s somewhere down here, help me!”—which, to a germaphobe like Brett, sounds like an invitation to swim in an open toilet. He passed on the ground inspection, instead consoling Lainey with a few “there there”s and darting me a “Seriously?!” look which, in the heat of the moment, I mistook as “this is all your fault.”
“Oh, like I forced this to happen,” I snapped.
“I heard you. You told her to pull it out.”
Okay, maybe I did.
I’ll tell you one thing. I bet you any money people in Broward County heard “MY TOOTH! MY TOOTH!” carried across the grease-laden wind Saturday night.
I love those stories of people who look for things for hours and then pray that God will help them find them—even if it’s something silly like keys or a missing earring or the corkscrew to open a bottle of wine (listen, I think God’s staying out of that one)—and then it suddenly appears (PTL!). And so I prayed too because a first tooth is really special to a little girl, and certainly if God can help you find your earring, he could help you find a tooth or at least the toothiest looking of broken shells. And I believed I would be one of those stories so much that I smiled as I sifted the ground for the forty-eighth time, thinking how cool this story was going to be when the little tooth showed up on the forty-ninth.
It didn’t. But God works in mysterious ways—some of those including on-your-toes thinking for moms who need to quickly make up crap to soothe their six-year-olds.
“Listen Lainey—” (B.S. initiated) “—I hear the tooth fairy is super cool about this stuff. She loves good stories, and she’s going to love this one. In fact, she’s going to think this is so funny, she’ll probably tell all her friends. So how about we grab a little shell piece that looks like a tooth and leave her a note telling her what happened.”
And she bought it (PTL!).
Lainey opened her mouth again so I could examine the tiny gum cavern to find a shell that was about the right fit, and together we picked one out and I tucked it away in the change pocket of my wallet. We finished the night with a few fair games that won the girls a giant inflatable crayon. Combined with the overpriced bubble gun we bought, it seemed to completely make up for the missing tooth. Nothing goes as planned in parenthood—not even the simple things like losing teeth. In fact, once home, I couldn’t even find the pewter tooth fairy compact I’d been saving for so long, and so we tucked the little shell in a sandwich bag under her pillow with a torn piece of notebook paper Lainey had me script, and it was replaced without question with a crisp dollar bill. The “first tooth” envelope in her baby book now holds the fool’s tooth, which my friend so lovingly pointed out this morning, isn’t even a good knock-off: “Jeezus, Kelle. It’s all yellow and dirty. Couldn’t you have at least found a clean one?”
But yellow and dirty goes so well with the story of where we lost it. Behind the funnel cake stand, next to the Magic Maze, a few yards over from the man in the Gunshine t-shirt. It all happens at the fair, folks.
*Note: I realize now that I prayed wrong. I am told God delegates lost things to Saint Anthony.
*Also note: My family specializes in tooth loss stories and tooth fairy recovery strategies, and I am nowhere near the esteemed rank my cousin holds in this area. Her husband once donned rubber gloves to sift through—wait for it…a pile of Saint Bernard vomit to look for a lost first tooth. And, her tooth fairy once left a note explaining that her several day delay in retrieving a lost tooth was due to the fact that she was in jail (not my actual cousin, but her fairy alter ego). Heather, I bow. I have much to learn.
Because Pharrell’s “Happy” has a few more plays in it before it officially gains Overplayed status for me (with lyrics like sunshine, hot air balloon, clap along and happy, that might not be possible), I figured I’d use it for a colorful video of our fair fun. Enjoy. Clap along if you must. And that fight over the inflatable crayon at the end? Yer welcome.
Song: “Happy” by Pharrell
I missed Friday Faves, so a few catch-ups:
Contributing this week…
At BabyZone with 18 Tips for Encouraging Close Sibling Relationships with your kids…
And at eHow, sharing tips on how we create day-cations and local family trips with Plan the Perfect Family Adventure Without Traveling Far
And I’m sure many have seen this already, but my, my…this is beautiful: A letter to parents expecting a baby with Down syndrome from 15 people with Down syndrome.