does the tooth fairy cover first shaves?

by bam

i’m sure if i can dig up the contract, if i can find where i tucked it–hmm, maybe under the pillow–i can figure this out.
i’m sure there aren’t too many folk in this odd little predicament, this strange hidden corner of the salle de bain, requiring dual coverage from the winged thing who comes in the night, the one who leaves bright shiny quarters for all blood-drawing procedures. or at least the ones in the mouth.
what i’m not sure of is what of the nicks on the neck? do i call in some fairy with post-graduate work?
i seem to have no one to ask. i seem all alone in this quandary. it seems rather a stretch for the fairy, covering quite so much breadth. most folks i know have their kiddies in bunches, don’t put such hyphens into their pediatric constructions. so their fairies aren’t put to such tests.
i mean maybe in the old days. maybe in the days when a nice catholic girl and her mate got started on the honeymoon, didn’t stop till what they thought was well after “the change”–code word for a body function you did not want to spell out, not in polite company anyways. oh, my heavens, what would they think at afternoon bridge?
back then, heck, it was nothing to have a whole string of saint’s names tucked in your beds. nothing to have one kid in need of a shave, while the apostrophe, the afterthought, the caboose, was way down the line with a wiggly tooth.
maybe back then, maybe when milk came in big gallon bottles set by the door in a box in the night, maybe then it was nothin’ for son no. 1 to holler for burma-shave (and quickly thereafter the band-aids) while down in the kitchen one of the little ones–say, son no. 6–was flapping like a hen, a bloody old kleenex stuffed in his mouth, soaking up what comes at the end of a wiggly tooth that gets yanked.
ahh, but this is not the old days. this here’s my life. my odd, unusual, often comical, split-screen of a life. my life straddling the canyon that comes with eight years between delivery-room visits.
on the one hand, there’s the fellow up till heaven-only-knows how late in the night, writing some essay on voltaire’s pithy little quote that history is the lie commonly agreed upon, while the other one, the little one, kept roaming the halls looking for anyone who would listen to his rumbly tummy, charging with butterflies, on the eve of first grade, which starts any minute now.
and so it was that this weekend, the one that’s no longer, held high drama of so many kinds.
one night, the little one was off crossing the alley for what was planned as the first-ever sleep over (although as he tucked his bear in the bag, his lower lip quivered and he remarked that this might be merely a sleep-under). and before i’d even settled in for a long night of quiet, the phone jangled. i was met with the news that the young boy was bloodied and now missing a tooth. i dashed, camera in hand, not wanting to miss for a second the very last time a first tooth would be lost.
bounding into the kitchen of an otherwise innocent family, chomping on chicken and fries, i spied my littlest angel, bloody wad of a napkin stuffed in his mouth. he removed it long enough to show me the evidence. long enough for me to squeal, carry on just as you’d imagine. i took pictures. i flapped. said again and again: “let me see, let me see.”
the mother of said innocent family, a doctor it so happens, had already dutifully slipped said bottom-left front tooth into a zip-top bag for instant inspection.
there it was, a speck of a thing that could be mistaken, so easily missed, for a kernel of corn that never did grow. (hard to believe that little thing, that chip of a thing, made me let out a yelp when long, long ago i discovered it as he was nursing.)
it seems a chunk of fried chicken had wedged by that tooth, and as he yanked on the chicken, out came the tooth.
sure enough, when that boy toddled home at 10:30-something, when the call came confirming he was not sleeping over, we extracted said tooth and said baggie from the pocket of overnight satchel, and tucked both straight under the pillow.
bingo: two shiny quarters by morning.
perhaps it was that, the notion of coins under the pillow, that stirred the big child to ask for a razor.
or, come to think of it, it was his father who’d done the insisting. “time to shave, son. time to banish the ’stache.” or words to that effect.
anyway, next thing i knew there we were waiting for blood once again. i flapped, to be certain. only this time, there at the bathroom’s thin door, watching this spectacle of father passing along intimate knowledge, as the faucet ran hot and the blade was duly examined.
the littlest one dressed for the occasion, outfitted himself in full storm-trooper regalia. spent half the first shave with weapon aimed at the razor. should his dear brother be attacked, perhaps, by the blade, and need someone to come to his rescue.
never mind me and my camera, i was too busy recording the moment to even have noticed if he’d drawn any blood.
i found the whole thing quite charming. never had seen such a thing. felt like i was being let in on some secret society of shaving.
oh, the tricks i picked up. all sorts of facts about hot water and cold. the thermal equations, and how they can sway the whole chemistry of the day. and i thought a swipe of mascara remover got me jazzed in the morning.
the boy, er the man-child, is now clean as a whistle. the sinister shadow just over his lip is now gone. no longer do i think, “snidely whiplash,” whenever i glance his direction.
i have one who is toothless and one who is stripped of his whiskers. i myself, the mother of both, would be utterly puffy-chested, if not for the one dangling thread, the unanswered question.
i put in a call to the tooth fairy, i did. but, dang, two days later and she’s till not rung back. it’s not like it’s hard, it’s not like i’ll take much of her time.
the question is simple, the question is this: does she or does she not cover the very first shave, as well as each tooth?
i have two boys and two pillows. one has two quarters he’s already kerplunked in his firetruck bank. the other is drumming his fingers.
this tooth fairy, does she expire?
and if not, what might she deliver?
band-aids, we think, might beat even the shiniest quarter.

anyone have a tale of a parent passing along some secret growing-up rite? for me, i recall the ironing board and my mother and a whispered exchange about baby-making and how it was beautiful, complete with the subsequent taking down from the bedroom shelf of the blue box from the makers of kotex. anyone with a tale of a first lost tooth, or a first flick of the razor? anyone draw blood on either occasion? anyone else find themselves oddly straddling two distant-enough planets of parenting? one where teeth wiggle, one where whiskers fall by the wayside?