I had one job to do last night. One simple job! A fairly run of the mill parenting duty that could have been handled in under a minute, but somehow took 10 times that long, and resulted in me feeling flushed with frenzy and panic while I belly crawled down the hallway in the dark.
Let me back up a bit.
Yesterday evening my son, who is nearly 7, lost a tooth (his third to date). Our family’s anticipation and build up to the Tooth Fairy’s arrival was fantastically impressive. The entire house was buzzing with excitement as we tucked the children into bed last night, and everyone had a different idea about what the Tooth Fairy would bring. My oldest son, the one who lost the tooth, was hedging his bets and anticipating a boomerang or a coin (go big or be practical seems to be his motto lately). I was covertly checking my wallet to mentally prepare myself for what was actually going to end up under his pillow, while my husband stood quietly by, amusement crinkling the lines around his eyes.
It was close to midnight by the time my husband and I finally decided to call it a night. I had been on the computer for a while before we headed up to bed, and if you have ever spent any time in front of a bright screen before walking into a dark room, you will know that your eyes simply will not adjust to the darkness. You are blind, and it lasts for a really, really long time. It doesn’t help when your children have blackout blinds and zero nightlights, which is the case in my son’s bedroom.
So this was where my eyes were at when I stepped into my son’s room. With the Tooth Fairy’s coin clutched tightly in my hand, I turned off all the lights upstairs, opened his bedroom door and…nothing. I couldn’t see a thing. I took a tentative step forward, arms stretched out and sweeping the air in front of me. Within seconds my shin bounced off the edge of a toy bin, and I groaned, reflexively before dropping to my knees. I then proceeded to crawl, pitifully in the general direction of my son’s bed. Once my face hit the side of his mattress, I knew I was there. That’s when things went from bad to worse.
At this point, I still couldn’t see, but at least I knew roughly where I was. I crouched as low as I could, curled my fingers tightly around the coin, then reached up and quickly slid my arm across my son’s bed towards his pillow. Except it turned out I wasn’t anywhere near his pillow, so I ended up punching him in the stomach. Horrified, I dropped back down to the floor and wiggled half way under his bed. Sheets rustled, bed springs creaked, but eventually my son settled back to sleep. I crawled out from my hiding spot and carefully inched my way to the head of his bed. This time I found his pillow, made the tooth exchange, then began my hasty retreat. My vision was slowly returning at this point, so I could just barely see the outline of the door. I was scurrying towards it when suddenly I heard someone whisper, “Hey!”
I dropped flat to my stomach and began shimmying frantically out of his room and down the hallway. I made it to my bedroom, scampered across the floor and threw myself into bed. I explained, breathlessly, to my husband that I had just sucker punched our son, and likely caused permanent Tooth Fairy Trauma that was going to take years of therapy to sort out. My husband, being the reasonable, practical person that he is, calmly turned to me and said, “Why didn’t you just walk in his room, give him a kiss on the forehead, then swap out the tooth? If he woke up, you would have the perfect excuse for being there.”
It’s moments like this that I really begin to question my qualifications as a parent.