My household is always filled with entertaining conversation from the 5-year-old boy and the newly turned 7-year-old girl who now has neither of her front teeth. She's beginning to look more and more like a Gamble relative every day. Give her a plug of tobacco and 20 cuss words and I might start calling her Aunt Joan.
Recently my kids have been debating, if you can call any conversation between those two a debate, of when I will be enrolled in a nursing home. It is truly heartwarming and probably an event worthy in the future of a Hallmark movie. We could name it, "I Wonder When Daddy Will Go To The Nursing Home?"
My little girl says she thinks it will be in about 25 years, which would put me at 76. The little boy immediately popped up and said, "Uh-uh. I bet when I am a teenager," which means I'd be about 60.
I'm guessing I need to hit the weights, go to Hair Club for Men, or something. I protested concerning these predictions, so my little girl said, "Don't worry, daddy, we'll come see you in the nursing home. I think they let you walk around sometimes."
My son quickly added, "Nah-ah, you just have to lay around in a lounge chair all day, right, daddy?" Well now, if that's the case, I may check in tomorrow. My wife says, so in other words nothing would change except someone else would do the cooking and cleaning for me.
The little girl, having now lost both front teeth, has also become infatuated with the Tooth Fairy. Someone told her if you leave a glass of water beside the bed, the Tooth Fairy will take a bath in the water before it leaves. Well, lo and behold, the Tooth Fairy took the bath and left the water a pink color. She is now sure the water has special magical powers and I guess we'll have this glass of water in the refrigerator for the next 22 years.
The Tooth Fairy has also left fairy dust on occasion, which looks suspiciously like flour. Last week, my mother was baking something or other with my daughter and son which included flour. They both decided they wanted to taste the flour as the goodie was being made. They both exclaimed, This flour tastes just like fairy dust! Who knew that fairy dust would taste just like cake flour?
The first front tooth fell out at the beach. My little girl was afraid, complaining vigorously that the Tooth Fairy might not find her at the beach instead of home. My wife, being the model of frugality she is, told her that actually the Tooth Fairy would come to the beach and would pay her extra because she was on vacation. This forced me to leave the little girl $10 from the Tooth Fairy. The next week my little boy's tooth fell out and he only received $5, which is still approximately 100 times more than I ever received from a Tooth Fairy.
He has complained ever since about being shorted by the Tooth Fairy. According to him, the Tooth Fairy is "a cheapskate, not like Santa Claus who brings you stuff, even sometimes things you didn't ask for." I am afraid if things escalate, before long I'll be hiding gold Krugerrands under their pillows.
Who knows, maybe I won't need to go to the nursing home. And, maybe the Tooth Fairy will pay my mortgage. Come to think of it, in a few years I may need the Tooth Fairy. But for now, I'll try to see if I can't get the kids to talk about something else more pleasant ... maybe T-rex, or anacondas, or Al Gore going to a nursing home.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.