Over the weekend, J.R. lost a tooth. The good news? I’m not sure I can report any. The bad news? Amazon Prime doesn’t yet drone packages to my door in an hour’s time. I am screwed.
You see, J.R. could not care less about money. I won’t mention his nine-year-old cash worshiping brother knows this, and has robbed him blind more than once. Anyway, my son decided at a very young age he’d require gifts from the tooth fairy as opposed to a five spot. I gave in to J.R.’s wish to receive presents from the tooth fairy because I so desperately wanted him to participate in and believe in something, somewhat like a typical child would. Something other than the Cavity Creeps.
Holidays, traditions, and rituals that bring joy to an average family can often prove disastrous if not torturous for a family like ours. When your four-year-old looks right through his birthday gifts, it breaks your heart. As does watching that kid run away from a potential Halloween costume as if it were on fire, year after year. If you’re tough enough, or enough of a masochist, you never stop believing next year will be better.
This is why the second my son even hinted at acknowledging a milestone or festive event in the slightest normal way, I jumped on it. You want a birthday party but are placing a ban on all singing? Done! You want your gifts from Santa to be unwrapped, arranged in alphabetical order and placed exclusively on the left side of the living room couch? On it! Halloween is about wearing your costume the entire day only to be stripped off at sundown? Let’s do this! Our warped ways of celebrating would make us feel normal because J.R. started looking forward to holidays for once, as long as his version of partaking applied. P.S. Before our Elf on the Shelf a.k.a. Chippie flies back to the North Pole, he hangs with us for a extra few days. And we TOUCH HIM!
If you haven’t already figured this out, seeing as I already reported my twelve-year-old was anticipating the tooth fairy as eagerly as I am Magic Mike Live, my son is immature for his age. That’s autism for you. The irony, bordering cruelty, never seems to let up. Get this: the older my son becomes, and the more his cognition improves (thank you God- I guess), the MORE he wants to participate in kiddie holiday traditions. Unfortunately, he firmly as Channing Tatum’s abs believes in the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus EX-PO-NEN-TIALLY each year. By the time he’s 21 we’re going to have to either move to The North Pole or some other desolate place where nobody can hear him scream “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The Valentine Lady IS real!!!!!!!!” Oh did I mention we made up a few holidays?
I’m sure you can see where I am going with all of this. My son stands out enough, and sticking to a single mall so he consistently observes who he’s identified as “The” Santa is just not my style. Ugh! It’s only a matter of time before an elementary school aged child breaks it to my middle schooler that his already stressed out parents wear more hats than he thinks. Our house of Uno cards will fall and he’ll demand we contact Will Ferrell and tell him to tell his friend Buddy the Elf we ALL sit on a throne of lies. Son of a Nutcracker!
Back to my weekend quandry: I may have failed to mention J.R.’s definition of a gift. For starters, the item must a) be totally obscure and nearly impossible to obtain without offering to sell my body to a stranger and b) if available, impossibly expensive (I’m not as marketable as I used to be, apparently). I recently paid an amount close to an actual car payment for a Cars movie Mater figure I know he once owned (at least three of) when he was a toddler. And what did he want from the tooth fairy this go-around? The Great Snail Race, by Spongebob Squarepants. And wait for it…wait for it…yup- it’s out of print. Ask me if I am shocked.
Before his dad could properly troll the Internet for a place to purchase this no doubt classic piece of literature, the tooth fairy wrote J.R. a letter. It reads:
The Great Snail Race is arriving at a snail’s pace [if at all]. I am sorry! I am on vacation in the Bahamas [possibly true, you never know]. I wish you were here with me [lie: mommy wishes she were there with her]. Be a good boy, work out hard, and good luck in school tomorrow. Your book will be here soon [big fat lie].
Love, the T.F.
You can bet J.R. was none too happy The Great Snail Race did not magically appear under his pillow in the morning. After much thought, however, (and a few tantrums later) he put the character of Gary on notice. The message? Hurry up. He writes:
Dear Ms. Tooth Fairy:
Tell Gary that I want him to be fast enough to get here.
As if we have not butchered this country’s sacred rituals and Hallmark holidays enough, J.R. now has deemed Gary the Snail assistant to the tooth fairy. Patrick’s 1st cousin and Spongebob Squarepants’ pet. Kill. Me. Now. I can’t take a step without my son asking me to be careful I am not crushing Gary, along with the dreams of other children who are counting on him. I am asked no less than fifteen times a day when Gary is going to arrive, book in tow. I ask myself no less than fifteen times a day why God chose The Great Snail Race as the only item on the planet not eligible for Amazon Prime. In the interim, my husband and I have entertained every inquiry into Gary the Snail’s legend and are naturally making it up as we go along. I did, though, beg the neighbors to keep its cat from meowing. We are feeding the monster we call autism. Calgon, take me away. Anywhere but Bikini Bottom.
We’re anticipating that shell donned delivery dude to arrive in the next week or so. This way, I can stop cursing out Jeff Bezos under my breath every time Spongebob Squarepants come on. Most importantly, my husband and I can count on one over the moon kiddo once that package comes. And in that moment, my frustrations over raising a kid who isn’t quite like the others will drift away.
Believing in and participating in J.R.’s screwy logic is a score for his team- doing so means believing in him. Autism may be forever, but life is too short to not be The Queen of England to his inner BFG. If you didn’t catch that last reference, get to reading.
Who has time to dwell anyway? The Great Pumpkin is calling!