Thursday, November 4 2021

leaves, the toy whisperer, and the tooth fairy

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. I hope you woke up in a good mood today. How could you not? We're surrounded by the toasty, burnt color palette of autumn. Everywhere I look, there's another dazzling pile of leaves to look at. I snapped today's banner image from our backyard while investigating a mystery. Two nights ago, the towering walnut tree we share with the nearby Burger King instantaneously ruptured, dropping its entire payload of leaves all at once. Our neighborhood Facebook group was abuzz with commenters reporting the same from their trees.

The scene was remarkable. An even layer of withered green leaves painted our backyard, our porch, our driveway, and even half of the hood of our car, forming a perfect radius starting from the trunk. It resembled the blast radius of a bomb.


I don't have an answer for why all the trees in the neighborhood simultaneously exploded two nights ago, but that won't stop me from enjoying the scenery. As long as we're easing into this Thursday morning looking at pretty pictures, I have another one for you. Marissa added a new coral to the tank yesterday. This coral is also a mystery to me, but not because of any interesting natural phenomenon. It's just because I wasn't paying attention when Marissa was telling me about it. I'll have to fill you in on the details later. For now, we'll stick with the theme and just enjoy the way things look on the surface.


You know what else is beautiful? Coffee. I've got a fresh cup with me at the computer, and I think it's time to take a...

Sip. I'm feeling good today. It's the first morning in a while I haven't felt like crap. I might even get back to doing Dutch lessons, chores, reading, and exercises - all the things I've been shirking until my body felt normal again.

Rodney has off school tomorrow for parent teacher conferences. So today is his Friday. He'll treat himself to a chocolate milk, probably learn more about gun safety and stranger danger, then head outside to begin his long weekend. Picking him up from school today, Marissa has been instructed to bring a plastic cup along to show his friends. Inside the cup lies Rodney's second loose tooth.

The second front tooth beside the first one that fell out has been wiggly for a while. Marissa gave it a tug after lunch, and in the next moment Rodney was bolting up the stairs to show me. He barged into my office while I was meeting with my boss. But one of the things I love about Scott is that he immediately tabled our discussion to focus on Rodney. He clapped along to Rodney's story from the other end of the zoom call.

Scott's son Dylan would also interrupt our call. He leaned into his dad's office and muttered something about a snake in the kitchen. Scott's eyes widened in disbelief. He excused himself, springing out of his chair to investigate. Luckily, there was no real snake in his kitchen. His son Dylan was slithering around the kitchen floor like a snake, and just used some unfortunate wording to tell his dad about it. I think the take away from yesterday is that without kids, zoom calls would be a lot less interesting.

The reader might remember that Rodney swallowed his first tooth, so he was thrilled to still have this second tooth as evidence. Carrying the tooth in a snack sized ziploc bag, Rodney contently trotted upstairs to his bedroom for quiet time. Marissa and I heard quiet sobbing trickling out of his bedroom an hour later. We found Rodney in anxious tears, huddled over his Ryan's World mystery box.

"I lost my tooth, it's stuck inside," he wailed.

Rodney's tooth fell out of the ziploc bag. Instead of placing it back in the bag, curiosity got the best of him. Rodney slipped his tooth inside one of the small holes of the Ryan's World mystery box. The Ryan's World mystery box, which has proven before to be an inescapable death trap to other toys, did what it does best in confounding Rodney's attempts to retrieve the tooth from the hole.

"I'm on it dude," said Marissa. She sat beside him on his bed and studied the toy. Marissa expertly manipulated the plastic cube - a shake, a turn, and finally a tilt, and the tooth rolled out onto his bed. Crisis averted, all thanks to Marissa, our family's toy whisperer. For extra security, we then moved Rodney's loose tooth out of the ziploc bag into a spider catch-cup.

I had a moment of indecision sending Rodney to bed. For the bravery he demonstrated letting Marissa yank his tooth out, we promised Rodney a mango smoothie the next day. But Rodney wanted to put the tooth under his pillow. I leaned against Miles' door for a quick sidebar with Marissa while she changed a diaper.

"Hey, we're not doing the tooth fairy, right?" I asked.

"That's right," said Marissa. "I'm getting him a mango smoothie tomorrow."

"He wants to put it under his pillow though," I replied. "Should I let him? Maybe we just give him some money now?"

"I don't have any cash," shrugged Marissa. "What am I supposed to do, PayPal him?"

Where we failed to come up with a reasonable alternative to the tooth fairy ritual based on magic, Rodney supplied his own based on Rodney pseudo science. He pulled me away from my discussion with Marissa and brought me to his desk. He had his lamp turned up toward the ceiling with the catch-cup balancing on top. Rodney explained to me that he would leave the tooth on the lamp, and - I quote - "the light would shake the tooth and turn it into money".


Maybe we should just stick with the basics. Rodney, just leave the tooth under your pillow and the tooth fairy will PayPal you in the morning.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Thursday, everyone.