Better get Lily up.
She is lying face down, her fists burrowed under her pillow. I go to pull one fist out and find a sharp little object that the Tooth Fairy has failed to turn to gold in the night.
Good, she’s still asleep.
I tackle the staircase once more, drop the tooth into the bin, and open my notebook. After a couple of false starts, I’m beginning to wonder whether it isn’t asking too much of the Tooth Fairy to write Lily notes in mirror writing. I keep it brief, then scrabble about in my purse and find a shiny £1 coin. Hmmm. I’ll need that for the Pay and Display in Candlebury. Maybe the Tooth Fairy could get away with 20p today? Bit mean. I manage to make up 87p, stuff it in an envelope along with the note, and make my way back up the stairs.
I push the note under the pillow until it makes contact with her fist.
‘Lily! Cooee! Wake uh-uup!’
Nothing. I pull the duvet down. The fist lashes out, then grasps the duvet and pulls it back up. We repeat this a few times until her eyelids start parting a little. I jab the corner of her envelope into her hand again. No. Lost her.
‘LILY! We’re going to be late! Get up! NOW!’
How does that happen? One minute I’m sweet, loving mummy, waiting for her eyes to widen with excitement and anticipation as she feels the envelope. The next minute I’m a screeching fishwife.
I pull the duvet off. The fist lashes out. I prise the fist open and stick the envelope in it. Her eyes part. A little smirk appears on her face. She rips open the envelope. A cascade of coins falls into the bed. She scrabbles through them, looking for the £1, and then, resignedly, takes out the letter.
I hand her a mirror. Her grumpy morning face breaks into a grin.
‘What does she say? Read it out.’
She clears her throat.
‘Dear Lily, This has got to stop!’
She looks at me, her little face twinkling with laughter.
‘The Tooth Fairy Department does not have limitless resources. Could you please wait until the end of the financial crisis before losing any more teeth.
The Tooth Fairy.’