Heather Ryan

Heather Ryan
Eugene, Oregon, US
December 20
"Imagine," says writer TK Dalton, "a knocked up Bookslut, Salam Pax with a dead beat ex instead of Raed. That's Terrible Mother." She's also a quick-thinking, smart-mouthed single mother to three kids. By day, she teaches writing to college freshmen and sophomores. By night, she cooks, cleans, parents and writes. She is, despite vehemently claiming to be one, not a hipster, but does have an MFA in Fiction from the University of Oregon, which she earned by duct-taping her children to chairs and feeding them bottles of Benadryl (not necessarily in that order). Terrible Mother still lives in Oregon, where she deals her snarky brand of parenting humor to her friends. "Another single mother blog?" says novelist Roby Connor. "Someone get this lady some Jesus."


Editor’s Pick
APRIL 28, 2009 11:08PM

The Tooth Fairy

Rate: 9 Flag

Terrible Mother: Thing Three lost a tooth today.

Friend Omega*: Yeah?

Terrible Mother: Yeah. So she was all excited about the Tooth Fairy.

Friend Omega: Oh God. Tell me you don't do the Tooth Fairy thing.

Terrible Mother: Of course I do. Why?

Friend Omega: You tell her that some mutant fairy breaks into her room and steals her body parts? It's awful.

Terrible Mother: Body parts? It's just a tooth!

Friend Omega: What, does she hang out at the leper colony after hours?

Terrible Mother: Do they even still have leper colonies? Who has leper colonies any more?

Friend Omega: It's disgusting, TM. I mean, where did this story even come from?

Terrible Mother: When Thing One was little, she asked me what the Tooth Fairy did with the teeth. And I was a little caught off guard, so I made something up.

Friend Omega: What did you say?

Terrible Mother: I said she built her house with them.

Friend Omega: THAT'S HORRIBLE!

Terrible Mother: What was I supposed to say? I made up more about it. How she used the canines for fence posts.

Friend Omega: This is awful. Some fairy thing is going to break into my house and steal my body parts.


And how do you even assign monetary value to the tooth? Do you set a market price with other parents? Do you have to check with Billy's dad to see if he gets a dollar a molar?

Terrible Mother: My kids all get a dollar a tooth.

Friend Omega: A dollar a tooth! That's insane!

Terrible Mother: Inflation, Omega. Inflation.

Friend Omega: If my parents had given me a dollar a tooth, I'd have knocked out all my teeth!

Terrible Mother: That's because you have to over-do everything.

Friend Omega: A dollar a tooth! I might just do it right now to see what happens!


 *One of the first and only friends of the Terrible Mother cast to name himself.  And one of my oldest, dearest friends.  

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we still have the notes that our kids wrote to the tooth fairy. some are hilarious, some are greedy. FO needs to lighten up!


nice to see a story from you.
I remember the tooth fairy ritual fondly. Didn't do me any harm. :-)
A dollar a tooth, when I was a kid, would still not have been worth knocking my teeth out for. Let alone now!
This is so funny! The tooth fairy at our house is very lazy and forgetful. It sometimes takes two or three nights before she remembers to put the dollar under the pillow.
Not to forget bicuspid of soda and molar poblano. I'm sure the Fairy's
pantry has these.

You've left me laughing.
I think the tooth fairy is a lovely idea, frankly. A small being that gives you money for a body part you no longer use. HA! It's an early introduction to organ donation?
If you think about it. Losing teeth at all is pretty disgusting. The bribe of the tooth fairy is at least a welcome distraction from the pain of going around with bloody pits in your mouth.

I taught first grade in Central America. I don't think they had tooth fairies there. One of my students lost her front tooth right in class. She cried hysterically through the whole lunch period because she thought this was a sign that she was falling apart. She didn't believe me that there was one coming behind it. Such adorable torment. It wasn't until I found my copy of Ted Arnold's book "Parts" and read it later that day to the class--did she reconcile with her loss.
I have no idea why I punctuated the first line like that. ha! It's been a long day.