Sleep is hard enough to come by in our house, at least for any extended period of time, without outside interference – I’m looking at you, tooth fairy.
“I’m staying up all night tonight,” Freya said matter of factly.
“That’s not happening,” I snapped, almost before she had finished speaking – because I have no doubt, thanks to three years worth of experience, that she could do it.
“Why would you want to stay up anyway?” Mark asked, a little more gently.
“So the tooth fairy can’t take my teeth.”
“Have you lost a tooth?” I asked. She looked at me like I was speaking a different language. “I mean, has one of your teeth come out?”
Again with the look.
I tried a different tack.
“What do you think the tooth fairy comes for?”
“To steal my teeth while I’m sleeping.”
“Um, yeah, no. That’s not what she does. When you’re much MUCH older you get a new set of teeth come through so your old ones fall out.”
She looked absolutely horrified. I can see sleep disappearing like a donut left sitting on the kitchen counter.
“It doesn’t hurt and it’s nothing to be worried about, especially as it won’t happen for years yet,” I added quickly.
Mark, seeing that I’m fighting a losing battle, joined in. “So when a tooth falls out you put it under your pillow when you go to bed and then after you’re asleep the tooth fairy comes and collects it and leaves you a pound.”
“She collects teeth,” I chip in.
Mark and I look at each other. We’ve got nothing.
“Anyway, you have nothing to worry about now. Ok?”
10 seconds later.
“I don’t want the tooth fairy to take my teeth,” she said, clamping a hand over her mouth.
“Where have you even got this from?” I asked.
I imagined she’d perhaps got into YouTube when we weren’t looking and, even though it’s the children’s version, watched a frightening horror-style version of the tooth fairy story.
“It’s from Peppa Pig,” Mark said.
Apparently Peppa loses a baby tooth and decides to try and stay up to see the tooth fairy. Lovely.
As expected, Freya had a restless night (even more so than usual).
Later the next day she said: “Can I have a pound please?”
“For my teeth.”
“That’s not how it works. Want do you want the pound for?”
“I want to buy a bike.”
“You’ll have to wait for Father Christmas to come for that,” my mum helpfully chipped in.
My eyes widened in horror. If she’s worried about a tiny fairy what’s she going to think of a full grown bearded-man breaking into the house in the dead of night?
What are the chances of me keeping him a secret?
Yeah, goodbye, sleep.