Monday, December 7, 2015

Travel Brochure by Tiny Pants


Tiny Pants had to make a travel brochure for school this weekend. It was supposed to be about his home town, but it did allow for “any other place” or something. Tiny chose West Virginia. 

I felt this was a bit of an odd choice, since we live in Ohio, and he travels frequently to both Florida and Illinois.  Yes, I go to school in West Virginia, but Tiny has only been there once. 

Mama:  Why West Virginia? 
Tiny Pants:  It’s the only state I can draw.

Well, that clears up one mystery. 

His brochure proclaims: Wet, Wet, Wet, West Virginia. 

Mama: West Virginia is wet?
Tiny Pants: Yes.
Mama:  Are you sure?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 
Mama: You aren’t thinking, Wild, Wonderful West Virginia?
Tiny Pants: It’s wet, Mama.  Wet like a hurricane.
Mama:  Hurricane?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 
Mama:  Are you sure?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 

I kind of think this homework was for Social Studies, not Art and Imagination. But, you know, maybe he knows something I don’t. I’m not in the mood to argue. For all my friends in WV, to be on the safe side, I recommend you buy an umbrella. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oh, Santa, I'm Sorry.

I took Big Pants and Tiny Pants downtown to see Santa, as I do every year. We take the train (which is quite possibly slower than driving, but more fun) but I messed with tradition just a little to take use a different station. The new one was closer, however it did smell like pee on the first floor and patchouli on the second floor. Big Pants voiced that in the decision of weird odor versus shorter drive I chose poorly, and I believe he made a valid point. 

I watched the children closely, because I have a feeling that this is the last year my kids will both still "believe." Tiny Pants wanted to know if the Santa we saw was an elf from the North Pole (my excuse for how Santa is in every mall across the country on the same day) or just a grown up in a costume. I asked him what he thought because I am the queen of avoiding difficult questions.  Big Pants was quick to interject a theory about oversized elves that seemed well thought-out and plausible. Big Pants, who is old enough to hate being called Big Pants, still finds Santa completely rational. As I type this, he is working on a science fair project involving the laminar flow of air and other principles of physics I really only halfway follow, yet he blindly accepts Santa. 

I’m starting to worry just a little that I’ve let it go on too long. At what point do I say something? Or, is it possible that he knows full well about Santa and is just trying not to disappoint me? 

Nope. Big Pants was a little awed by Santa. He was a bit intimidated to say what he really wanted for Christmas, but I gave him a nudge and he told Santa that he really wanted for Christmas - a DNA test. 

I’m not sure Santa understood that Big Pants wanted to learn whether his relatives really came from Germany as they claim, or if they are, as he suspects, Secret Lithuanians. Santa looked at me like perhaps I wasn’t a very choosy mom. 

Luckily, when Tiny Pants was reading his list to Santa, he substituted “real-looking rabbit stuffed animal” for “taxidermy rabbit” as he had written down. I’m not sure he could have handled DNA tests and dead animals in the same photo session. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tiny Pants Makes an Unexpected Request For Christmas

I haven’t been posting here that much lately, mainly because I am not all that funny, and as the kids get older, they stubbornly refuse to provide me with free material. But every now and then, they still give me something worth sharing. 

Tiny Pants is making his Christmas list, because all he wants to do is shop and he’s making me crazy, so I told him to write Santa and stop bothering me. (I’m good at parenting like that.) 

So on his list there are a bunch of regular toy-type items that one would expect. But then we came to the One Thing He Wants Most of All. 

Tiny Pants:  Mama, can we get a live rabbit?
Mama: No. 
Tiny Pants: What do you call an animal that died and they stuff them?
Mama: Taxidermy?
Tiny Pants: Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I want most of all. A taxidermied rabbit. Can I google them?
Mama: Uh, yeah.
 (I was sitting next to him to make sure he didn't get anything to gruesome, for the record.)

Tiny then copied and pasted an image into his Christmas list, but he isn't exactly a pro at resizing, so the image is now stretched and flattened in a most unappealing way. 

I’ll have to let you know what Santa says when we visit him on Saturday. 

Footnote: At his age I did have a taxidermied squirrel I slept with every night, until I unwisely left it in my church school classroom and the janitor threw it away. I have to admit he comes by his weirdness honestly. 

P.S. Bonus points go to anyone who can explain why taxidermied is not a real word. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grieving the Loss of a Pet

As some of you know, my ex-husband’s dog died recently.  The boys are emotional messes.  I found this workbook online, which has been surprisingly helpful: I Miss My Pet.

I’m a pretty emotional person myself, and consider myself pretty good at this sort of thing, so I wasn’t sure I “needed” a workbook to help talk to my kids. We talk about this stuff fairly often. 

My youngest son, who has the better emotional vocabulary of the two, has been pretty reserved about the dog dying, compared to his brother, who cries several times a day about it. The workbook has really helped him open up about the mess of feeling he has. 

Last night we were working on the workbook, and at one point he got up and ran to the corner of the room to hide his tears. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “I am afraid the dog is mad at me.” 
(This was in the section about blaming yourself.)

I couldn’t imagine why the dog would be mad, but he said, “I told him I’d see him next week and then I didn’t get to see him again.”

Sigh. This is the sort of thing I wasn’t even thinking of that this workbook has allowed to come out. 

This morning he wanted to work on the workbook before school, but thankfully the workbook talks about finding a good time to talk so I was able to gently remind him that I am here for him but we have to go to school now. 

I am so grateful that someone made this available for free online, so I wanted to share it here. 

If you have children who are grieving a pet, download this workbook. It really has helped. 
Here is the link again. I Miss My Pet.

Rest in Peace, Zulu. You were loved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tiny, Perfect, Beautiful Princesses or Hummingbirds are Assholes

Every summer I work on the cabin porch, six feet away from a hummingbird feeder.  We hung it up so we could see those amazing, tiny, beautiful creatures up close.  But spending a summer in close physical proximity to hummingbirds has taught me something:

Hummingbirds are assholes. 

Their entire lives consist of drinking nectar and trying to beat the shit out of each other. When they chase each other they don’t mind flying six inches above my head, because they are so intent on their harassment of other hummingbirds that they don’t even notice that I am a human and should be viewed as a possible threat. They know they are small and that doesn’t stop them for even a millisecond.   

We have two hummingbird feeders, one has four sippy places and the other has only one sippy place. The hummingbirds like to stake out the four-sip feeder. I mean they hover next to it, not drinking from it, just waiting for another hummingbird to come along so they can try to impale it with their razor beak, which is nearly half the length of their bodies. Did I mention that the feeder in question has four sippy places? Two hummingbirds could share the feeder and not even have to be next to each other. But noooooo that can’t happen because, I repeat, hummingbirds are assholes. 

If a hummingbird was the size of a sea gull, we would recognize their sinister nature and consider them a threat against all humanity.  But they are tiny and delicate and so we write poetry about their rapid heartbeats and their little speedy wings and the iridescence of their feathers. In other words, forget pretty is as pretty does, hummingbirds can pretty much get away with being the biggest assholes of the bird community and no one minds because tiny. Because beautiful.  

I could write here about not being a tiny, perfect, beautiful princess.  I could write about primadonnas and stuck up women who think pretty is a gift they bestow on mankind.  I could write about how small Cinderella’s feet were compared to mine.  I think we all know ways we are the anti-hummingbird—the times we were not tiny enough,not beautiful enough to have as much value as people who were not deserving of the adoration they received.  I’ll let you finish this story on your own.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Guest Post: Open Letter to Clay Travis of Fox Sports RE: Trashing Appalachians

On the Oppression of Appalachians: A Response to Fox Sports columnist Clay Travis
By Andrea Fekete

Today, I read a blog post titled “Kentucky V. West Virginia: The Dumbest Sweet 16 Game of All Time” by Clay Travis on Outkick the Coverage: Fox College Football Blog of Fox, an unlikely place to find hate-speech of any kind. His verbal assault on Appalachians takes me back to the stories I grew up hearing on Buffalo Creek, stories about the man-made disaster officials of Pittston Coal dismissed as an “Act of God.”

According to Travis’ post, Kentucky and West Virginia residents are the dumbest, most uneducated people in our nation. First, let me say, I do not fit Travis’ stereotype of an uneducated hillbilly. I teach as an adjunct at local university.  I am a published writer. I do the work I love. I educate a populace often told how dumb they are by people like Travis. With that said, let me be clear, this response it not at all about how we do or do not fit his stereotypes. My response is to explain why these exist.

Travis, who is supposed to be writing about a basketball game between Kentucky and West Virginia, instead attacks folks in our region with trite insults we Appalachians often hear in the media. He tells us how dumb we are, how we have no self esteem, how so few of us have Bachelor’s Degrees, how we are racist, violent, and homophobic.

The language he uses is verbal violence, hate-speech. He taunts Appalachian readers by adding that soon the comment section would be filled with “dumb people proving just how dumb they are.” Even our smart people are dumb, according to Travis. Kentucky is “number one in mullets.” We are worse than ignorant to him.

I wonder if he realizes he is merely a cog in the massive money making machines of coal barons who destroy our land and chemical companies who poison our rivers.

I wonder if he knows using a major platform to insult a disadvantaged, struggling population could possibly breed fatalism among our youth, kids who already have a difficult enough time.
I wonder if he knows what dehumanization is, what it allows.

I wonder if he realizes how his article exudes ignorance; the very trait he ironically says is our worst.
Appalachia is inhabited by a people who have historically met impossible odds with courage. We are defined by our intense love of family and of place. We have inherited a painful history, true. No one can know the strength of our people, not unless they are one of us. There is a certain kind of strength we inherit when we listen to our fathers talk with closed eyes about walking among ghosts and surviving to tell the story.

When the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972 destroyed everything in its wake in Logan County, West Virginia killing 118 people, some bodies were never found. There is a grave back home that contains the bodies of unidentified infants with a headstone that reads: “Angels Known Only to God.”
After I read Travis’ long monotonous rant punctuated by the word “dumb” every sentence or so and other cliché insults directed at us, my mind turned dark. I starting remembering stories of corpses in trees, bodies under railroad tracks, unidentified babies, and deep despair of survivors, because it is the violent hate-speech in Travis’ column that perpetuates the idea that Appalachian people are less than human, that we deserve scorn and exploitation. It is the collective blind eye to our history of oppression that allowed Pittston coal to cause the deaths of over 100 people one early morning in February.  

Pittston Coal had allowed three “dams” which were not actually dams but clogs of coal slurry blocking the creek in three places to go unchecked. The water reached such a heights that when it rained for several days in February, the coal company was aware the poorly monitored “dams” might break, yet they warned no one of this impending disaster.

After the devastation, a lawsuit was filed by around 600 surviving families. They received about $13,000 as compensation for their destroyed homes and lives.

According to Kai T. Erikson, author of Everything in its Path, a 70-year-old man commented to a Pittston attorney, "I've often thought some of this stuff could have been avoided if somebody would have come around and said, `Here's a blanket and here's a dress for your wife' or `Here's a sandwich. Could I give you a cup of coffee?' But they never showed up. Nobody showed up to give us a place to stay. . .”

The website of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History reads: “In 1978, an attempt to incorporate Buffalo Creek as a town failed by a vote of 816 to 546. Incorporation would have qualified the area for federal and state rehabilitation grants. Opposition to incorporation was backed heavily by coal companies, which owned 60 percent of Logan County's land and wanted to be excluded from incorporation property taxes.”

I was born and raised in Logan County, West Virginia, right on Buffalo Creek, where mountaintop removal is rampant. Coal companies lop mountaintops off, dumping them in streams. In my hometown jobs are scarce, coal companies are still in control, and poverty is evident.

The man-made disaster Pittston Coal officials called “An Act of God” still lives fresh in our memories, even in those who were unborn at the time of the flood, like me. I was seven when I first saw photographs of the destruction. It has always been a presence in my mind.

A month ago, my father recollected the flood to his grandson, my nephew Trace, who was writing a paper on the Flood for a school assignment. I sat still listening intently, like a kid soaking up the wisdom of a war veteran grandfather.

He talked uninterrupted for half an hour. Not once did he open his eyes or relax his brow.  Among his resurrected memories, one I found most striking was his story of the state police ordering him to help clean up the corpses. A police officer motioned to a flatbed truck saying, “Hop in, boys.” They drove them through the black sludge covered road. My 23 year old father picked up the muddy corpses with the help of other young men. The bodies were later piled in our school gymnasium to be identified by family. I never sat in that gym without imagining the scene.

Afterward, to prevent another similar disaster, laws were passed but not enforced.

The WV Division of Culture & History reports: “In 1973, the West Virginia Legislature passed the Dam Control Act, regulating all dams in the state. However, funding was never appropriated to enforce the law. In 1992, an official with the state Division of Natural Resources estimated there were at least 400 hazardous non-coal dams in West Virginia, many of which were owned by the state.”

I know our history well. I wrote and published one historical fiction novel about our coal miners fighting (literally) with coal company thugs and national guardsmen on Blair Mountain. They were fighting for basic workers’ rights, human rights. It was the largest armed insurrection against the U.S. government since the Civil War.

Our state is strangled by the strong hand of industry while our mountaineers are left starving in the shadows. The coal companies lie to our people, convincing them if we don’t allow them to lop off tops of mountains we will have no mining jobs at all. Then, when it is convenient for King Coal, they layoff miners anyway blaming Obama and the EPA.

Then, there are the sins of the chemical companies. In 2014 there was a major spill of crude 4- methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Freedom Industries’ negligence was to blame. Ken Ward Jr., of the Charleston Gazette, wrote, “When West Virginia inspectors arrived at Freedom Industries late Thursday morning, they discovered that the company had taken ‘no spill containment measures’ to combat the chemical spill that has put drinking water supplies off-limits for hundreds of thousands of residents.” Soon after, new protections were put in place but with a Republican majority, a bill to roll back safety standards on these chemical tanks in West Virginia was recently introduced.

As with any historically marginalized people sharing a collective cultural identity, Appalachian people have been dehumanized, have been branded “other” by the mainstream media and therefore, the sins of industry committed against us are forgotten and forgiven.

It is well known that African Americans were dehumanized to the most extreme levels in our national history. During the pro-slavery and abolitionist debates, doctors and scientists published writings in support of slavery. They used their positions of prestige to give validity to their assertions that African Americans were inferior to whites not only in intellect, but also in their hearts. These “experts” spoke of Africans’ inability to feel love, even for their children. Africans were labeled inferior, as deserving of their captivity and torture. Some “experts” even claimed slavery was best for them since a population so stupid could never self sustain. They were “better off.” Historically, Appalachians and Native Americans have also been branded with the label of inferiority. It is not a coincidence that these three groups also share a history of exploitation for financial gain.

When we talk about racism or sexism as it relates to literary theory in my Fiction and Nonfiction course, one student always asks, “But why does it seem like one group is always stereotyping another? Why?”

I always answer by writing one lonely word on the board: POWER

Without power, no group can profit off the backs of another group. The bricks of this nation are bound with the mortar of black slaves’ blood, sweat, and tears. Without making the oppressed group less than human, citizens of even the mainstream oppressive group would disagree with the abuse of the so-called “inferior” group. The stereotypes are there to maintain the hierarchy, to assure the party gaining financially will continue to do so.

How does one group convince the general public the oppressed group is not oppressed at all but rather deserving of and even implicit in their own oppression and exploitation? Through brainwashing of the mainstream, of course, but how is that achieved? The media.

Of course, it isn’t only through the media stereotypes can be widely spread and maintained. Evidently, even national chain pharmacies like to step in and help out. Walgreens carries the Halloween “costume” pictured below in their stores. I took this picture Halloween of 2014. You can see the “W” logo of Walgreens just above the package.

While I don’t attend church myself, many of my West Virginia and Kentucky family and friends are proud Christians. On their behalf, in regards to our bigots and our oppressors, I say: forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

Works Cited

“Buffalo Creek.” West Virginia Division of Culture and History. West Virginia Archives and History,  n.d.   Web. 27 March 2015.

Erikson, Kai T. Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976. Print.

Travis, Clay. “Kentucky V. West Virginia: The Dumbest Sweet 16 Game of All Time.” Outkick the  Coverage: Fox College Football Blog. Fox Sports, 25 March 2015. Web. 27 March 2015.

Ward, Ken. “Freedom Industries Cited for Elk Chemical Spill.” The Charleston Gazette. The Charleston Gazette, 10 January 2014. Web. 27 March 2015.

 This article first appeared at

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Talk and The Book

I recently gave the boys two age appropriate books about bodies and where babies come from and all that. I found one called It's Not the Stork for ages 4 and up, and its companion for older children called It's So Amazing.  I had botched any attempt at having an appropriate discussion about babies the last few times they asked, and I had noticed that they had stopped asking me anything about how babies were made altogether.  I realized I was about to lose control over the flow of information - if they decided Mama was an unreliable source of truth, they would start asking other people instead. I figured a couple good books were the way to go.

I let them discover the books on their own, and told them they could read them alone or we could read them together, or they could not read them at all.  Big Pants voted to read the books on his own. I tucked the boys into bed that night, and Big Pants fell asleep reading one of the books.  By some miracle, it migrated to his younger brother's bed by morning. 

I waited for the questions to start, but none were forthcoming. I wondered if I should bring it up or not, but decided to wait a little longer. Finally, at dinnertime, Tiny Pants had something to say.

TINY PANTS:  Well, that book answered one question I've had for a long time. 
MAMA: What was that?
TINY PANTS: How girls pee.  It's called the Opening of the Virginia. 
MAMA: Actually, babies come out of their Mama's bodies through the vagina, but they pee through their urethra. 
TINY PANTS:  No, it's called the Opening of the Virginia. 
MAMA: Vagina.
TINY PANTS: Virginia. 
I gave up.

A few days later we flew to Florida for a family vacation.  Tiny Pants brought The Book.  We were seated in the back of a full flight, elbow-to-elbow with strangers, though luckily, Tiny Pants had a window seat. He pulled out The Book. 

TINY PANTS:  Mama, is it pronounced, Ah-Noos?
 MAMA:  No, it is Ay-Nus.
TINY PANTS: Is it Vel-vah?
(Oh God, please don't let the people around us be listening. I know that's a poorly constructed sentence, but I can't think clearly.)
MAMA:  No, it is VUL-VAH.
I was trying really hard. Really, I was. I wished they would ask Daddy instead. I wished for that as hard as I could. 

After vacation, The Book accidentally went to Daddy's house. I was hoping it would stay there and Daddy could deal with it. No such luck. It reappeared the following week in the Daddy-And-Mommy-Bag we use to transfer toys between houses. 

At this point, Big Pants had finished reading both of the books I had given him, the one for ages 4 and up and the one for ages 7 and up. Tiny Pants really wanted his brother to read the one for ages 10 and up, even though he is only 9. I thought about it. He was almost 9 and 1/2. He was close. 

MAMA: Big Pants, do you want to read the last book?
BIG PANTS: Oh, Mama, I have enough knowledge for now. I'll wait for September. 

Tiny Pants became frustrated with his own reading ability, so he asked me to read The Book to him.  Every night I read just a few pages. We went through the names of all of the body parts, inside and out, for both sexes.  We even discussed circumcision. Then one night I saw that the next night we would be reading the Penis goes in the Vagina part.  Oh Lord, give me strength. I was not ready for this. 

But, miraculously, Tiny Pants lost interest. The next night, he requested I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid instead of The Book. The same thing happened the next few nights.

My mother used to say that, "God watches out for fools and drunks," but apparently Someone has their eye on really uncomfortable mothers as well.  


Eventually I had to tell the children the basic penis-into-the-vagina mechanics. I had heard that Big Pants was due for The Talk at school during health class, and I had to make sure he knew the score. I remember being mortified in fifth grade when we had the big sex talk at school and I didn’t know what fallopian tubes were. How had my mother neglected to teach me about the alien arms of the ueterus? So I sat the boys at the kitchen table and briefly and quickly said something rapid fire like, “the-penis-goes-into-the-vagina-and-transfers-sperm-do-you-have-any-questions?” And I added something about doctors being able to accomplish the same in same-sex relationships or if people had medical difficulties conceiving, because we have friends in both camps, and I am nothing if not inclusive. 

Big Pants just wanted to get away from that table faster than I did, but Tiny Pants had a few questions: 

“Did you need a doctor to get pregnant with me?”
“No. Anything else?”
“When a woman has her period, does she wrap her entire body in toilet paper like a mummy?”
“Umm, no. They make special pads for that.”

 (Tampons were not a discussion I was ready to have, nor was I going into menstrual cups. But seriously—how often did he see mummified women walking down the street???)

Monday, February 9, 2015

On Racism and Politics and Children


Tiny Pants finds a lot of things wrong with the world, and when he grows up he's going to get to work changing laws. I think he'd make a great politician, because he's smart, charming, and has a flexible view of truth. His brother has too strong of a moral code to make it in politics. 

Right now Tiny Pants has two pressing issues on his agenda:

1. Eminent Domain (He feels very strongly that no one should be able to force you to sell your house to put up a Target or a highway. He feels it's un-American.)

2. Saving tigers  (He thinks we should adopt them and take them home to protect them from hunters.  Seeing as that's not possible, he wants stricter laws against hunting, like life in prison.)

We were driving yesterday, which seems to be when we have a lot of important discussions. This is kind of inconvenient, because I am only half able to form good answers while avoiding hitting other vehicles. Driving is not my best skillset. 

TINY PANTS:  Mama, was Martin Luther King Jr. shot because he changed the law?

MAMA:  Yes. (A little simplified, but I was driving after all.)

TINY PANTS:  Well, I want to change the law, too, but I don't want to be killed. 

And that right there is the problem with the world. 

MAMA: Well, he was changing all of society. A lot of people back then didn't think black people were as good as white people. They weren't allowed to go to the same restaurants.

TINY PANTS: They had to use different drinking fountains and sit at the back of the bus and go to different schools. 

MAMA: Right.  The word for people who think one color is better than another is racist. And a lot of racist people were angry to see things change. (I struggled to explain why someone would think this.)  They weren't very nice people.  I think people are a lot nicer now. (Lie)  I don't think anyone would shoot you for changing laws now.  Laws get changed every single day in this country and no one gets shot over it.

Of course I instantly thought of all the school shootings and how he has more of a chance of being shot going to school than as a member of congress. I didn't say that, of course.  But I thought it. 

I wanted to say that all the big fights, the ones that enrage people like racism, are over and solved and in the past.  But that's too big of a lie to tell him. 

Oh people, can't we learn to behave better so I can explain things more easily to my six year old? He just wants to protect tigers and not let the government force people out of their homes.  He doesn't know things like racism and sexism and homophobia still exist, and that people still get so crazy they shoot each other over them.  He doesn't know it's still not legal for his grandmothers to marry in our state. He doesn't know that Mama gets hate mail for writing about feminism. He doesn't know that people are shot every day over race in this country.

I want him to change the world. And I want the world to be safe enough for him to fight to change it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Tooth Fairy Got Played

I try to be a good tooth fairy. 

Last night Tiny Pants lost a tooth right before bed. I found the tooth box, we wrote the required note asking the tooth fairy to please, please let him keep his tooth, and put the note under his pillow and the tooth box beside the bed. 

Thirty minutes later, good old Tiny Pants is bouncing on his bad and has "hid" his note for the tooth fairy on the floor in a little secret space between the nightstand and the wall. Clever, isn't he?  I threatened to remove the  tooth until the next night if he didn't go to sleep. 

I set an alarm to remind myself, because last year the tooth fairy fell asleep  which caused all sorts of chaos and confusion. When the alarm went off, I snuck back into his room, dug the note out from under his pillow and slipped the two dollar bills underneath.  OK, shoved is perhaps a better description than slid, if you must know.  Tiny Pants woke up but I got him back to sleep in under 3.3 seconds. Win.

This morning Big Pants woke up first. "I wonder if the tooth fairy left me anything?" he asked.  Shizah!   

When Big Pants started losing teeth, Tiny Pants was so jealous that the tooth fairy started bringing him a lollypop when his brother lost a tooth. It seemed easier. I had forgotten, or at least had hoped he had forgotten. He hadn't. 

I ran back down stairs and rummaged through the cabinets for the new Dove chocolates I had bought (myself) and ran upstairs with them cleverly concealed in my hoodie pocket.  I very sneakily slid them under the folded clothes at the end of the bed that he was supposed to wear today. 

Meanwhile, Tiny Pants was up and looking for his tooth fairy loot and Big Pants had found his chocolate. The dollars were nowhere to be found. 

Look, I know I put it under his pillow. I was stone cold sober and in retention of all of my faculties last night. I did not dream it.  But the money was gone. We took the pillows out of their cases. We used a light to look in the crack between the bed and the headboard. We picked up the mattress completely off the bed. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

I ran frantically back downstairs, luckily found two more dollars in my wallet, and ran back upstairs. I fluffed his sheet and let them fall like little autumn leaves onto his bed. (Of course neither child was looking at the time, which was a shame because my slight of hand was Vegas worthy.)

Problem solved, or so I thought. 

Tiny Pants commences to get dressed, and inside his UNDERPANTS beneath his pajamas he pulled out my neatly folded original two dollar bills. He was astonished.  
Or acted it.

"Four dollars Mama! I got four dollars this time!"

I think I've just been played by a six year old. I'm starting to look forward to the day they stop believing.