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By Daphne Biener

Kira lost a tooth yesterday. Her third.

It’s the kind of occasion I love. The kind that insists I lie to my children: Go to sleep, my girl, sweet dreams. For late at night a winged stranger will snake into your room to steal your precious tooth. If you’re lucky, she’ll only take the one under the pillow, mmuhaahaa!

Kira is a willing conspirator even though it goes against every atom of her practical being. I know she’s on to us, but she’s a team player – just as long as it keeps paying out in dollar coins.

After her recent visit from the beloved nocturnal theif, Kira asked:

“Mom, when I grow up and have my own kids, will you tell me everything I need to know about getting in touch with the tooth fairy?”

Oh honey. Don’t worry. Everything you need to know is in The Book.

Kira: Um, The Book?

Sure, you know, The Mom Book. Mommy 101. You don’t think we just KNOW all this stuff, do you? No sir, we rely on a tidy syllabus to spell it all out. Truth-be-told I never have found that section on when said fairy forgets to grab the tooth and leave the loot…I guess some things you just have to learn on your own. But for everything else? There’s The Mom Book.

Congratulations, Mrs. Jones, it’s a girl. And here of course is everything you’ll need to know. Couldn’t very well send you off with a new baby and no instructions now, could we? (Friendly chuckles all around at this absurd thought.)

Due to a mix-up I never got my book. Which is why I’ve linked arms with a tin man who pines for a heart and a scarecrow who sings about how it would be, if he only had a brain…I would love to sing my version for you, but even with the biggest bucket a tune is too much for me to carry. Just know that my voice would bring tears to your eyes (not the good kind).  Instead why don’t you hum along as we skip the yellow bricks. If I only had that book…

I’d play dress-up all the hours
Teach kids to smell the flowers
Silence whining with a looook,

There would be no time for screaming
Or for midnight scary dreamin’
If I only had that book…

I’d return the Great and Powerful Mom. Oh yes, I’d have the answers. Imagine how different things would be back in Kansas:

Q: Mom? What does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth?

A: Why it says right here in chapter four that she floats around the world stealing pearly whites to build herself an enamel palace. See the picture? Like the emerald city, only more ghastly.

Q: Mom? How do they kill the chickens, you know, without killing the chickens?

A: Indeed my child I’m glad you asked. Sharp reasoning: Killing, bad. Chicken, good. Quite the conundrum. Let’s turn to chapter 7 and find that answer together, shall we?

Q: Mom? Why do you pee standing up at the airport? You said only boys pee standing up.

A: Astute observation my child. And so nice of you to ask it in that clear loud voice that can be heard over everyone else’s flushes. Let’s check the book when we get home, shall we?

Now that I’ve got the golden tome, I’ve read that you can nip teenage angst in the bud by dealing effectively with eye-rolling now. I’m sure glad they offer that 12-page outline of exactly how to manage these behavioral gems, aren’t you? What? Don’t you know about it? No problem. You’ve got the book, right? Just look it up.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.

15 Responses to look it up

  • Queen Goob says:

    I just flipped to that twelve page outline and realized I’d already highlighted it for future reference. The Book was also gracious enough to provide illustrated examples of dealing with that eye-rolling…..those pictures vaguely resemble Mo, Larry, and Curly. Must be the lighting in here, The Book would never suggest two fingers straight into the eyeballs of my spawn…..yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk.

  • Jordana says:

    Isn't that Part II of the instruction manual that tells us all the rules for life? Sigh. I never got that one either.

  • sharon says:

    I am picturing a very ancient book with the stale smell of libraries. Of course, its page are trimmed with gold and the index is massive. I know you'll fill me in on where to find it. 🙂

  • Lanie says:

    I think it was a class that we forgot to sign up for in college (along with Life 101 and Mariage 101)! Great post.

  • Kira's Dad says:

    Ah yes, Kira has be playing along with her joker parents since she was born, patiently waiting for us to get it straight.

  • Grace says:

    You have such a way of making everything funny! I'm still laughing. Can you get back to me on what the book says to do when your almost five year old shoots venom out of his eyes and mouth at his mother when he gets angry, at almost anything from bedtime to not getting a lollipop! Thanks

  • Lynda says:

    Your tooth fairy takes the tooth! Oh no I think I forgot to read that chapter in the book! I'm lucky just to get the dollar under the pillow before I forget and fall into an heap on the couch! As always this is a bright spot in my day.

  • G-PMikey says:

    There is such a book. Mom found it and read it in B & N many years ago. You know, the one next to "How to succeed in Business…." GP M

  • Daphne says:

    Update: Kira's top front tooth is now hanging by a thread. Last night she said "don't forget to check under my pillow, just in case it comes out…" Sorry kid, my job manual explicitly says I need at least 12 hours notice…

  • Peggy says:

    Perhaps "the book" could be redeemed with a coupon attached to a certificate we receive upon passing the required Parental Readiness Test.

    I agree with Robin, you should write the Mommy Book Daphne! You're well on your way!

kelcey kintner