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Honesty is the Best Policy ... or is it?

Local mom grapples with the Tooth Fairy tale.

This week’s installment is not for children.  I will do my best to be discreet, but let this be your warning: get the young readers away from the screen.

Is it OK to habitually omit the truth with our kids? I mean the truth about the "visitors" who show up at holidays and other special occasions.  Perpetuating the fun and the fantasy for our kids isn’t exactly, in my humble opinion, a lie, though I know some folks who say it is.

Gingerly placing money and treats under the pillows of our precious sleeping babies in the wee hours isn’t an underhanded deed we do for personal gain.  It is exciting and fun for the kids, so we go to great lengths to make all the magic happen for them.

I don’t see any harm.  Though, I would be fibbing if I said all the drama, role playing and build up I have done for years about our various "visitors" hasn’t given me pause.  I wonder, what is going to happen when I finally fess up? Are they going to be horrified, feel betrayed, or not give a hoot either way?

Teeth are dropping like flies around here lately.  My little one lost her first tooth a week ago.  She lost her second one just two days ago.

She has been very excited about her first visit from the Tooth Fairy, and I think I have played my part to fan those flames of enthusiasm. 

We had the standard loose-tooth drama that I’m sure many of you have experienced.  The tooth was hanging by a molecule and she refused to give it a yank to finally set it free.  And there was no way she was letting me do it.

Finally, after weeks of dangling, tooth number one decided to jump ship.  She was on the bus ride home when it happened.  She tried in vain to conceal the void in her mouth behind a really tight and really big smile as she bolted down the driveway toward me.

We were all set for the fairy’s first visit to Claire’s room that night when she surprised us with her hesitation.

“Mommy, will I ever see my tooth again?” she asked. 

Inside, I panicked when I imagined the day my girls stumble across my treasure trove of hidden teeth and scrawled notes to Santa and the Easter Bunny. 

“I’m not ready to say goodbye” she said with a tear.

I was both surprised and touched by her confession.  Still scrambling to cover my bases, I told her she may someday see her teeth again because the fairy sometimes gives teeth back to mommies.  That was really lame but all I could manage on such short notice.

I wanted to keep the dream alive and enthusiastically reminded her of the impending flurry of goodies and loot the fairy may surely leave if she gave up the tooth. 

She wasn’t enticed.

Claire was happy with her decision to keep the tooth and began strategizing about where she could hide it.  This was a bizarre but funny twist.  We have always spent big chunks of time placing the teeth strategically so the fairy would never miss them.  Now, we were in stealth mode, trying to find a spot the fairy would not find this tooth.

I reassured her the fairy wouldn’t rifle through her things if the tooth wasn’t under her pillow.  She found solace in my words and promptly placed the tiny speck of a tooth in her jewelry box, safe from the thieving fairy.

I left her room that night feeling a bit deflated but with a warm heart.  I am happy to keep the fantasy going for now.  I’ll deal with the "truth" later.

Elaine Owsley April 09, 2011 at 12:38 PM
When I was asked what the tooth fairy did with the tooth she took, I extended the story a bit by telling them that she flew over the ocean and dropped them in where clams opened up to receive them and turn them into pearls. Not a story easy to refute and the kids were charmed to think that somewhere their teeth were serving a purpose.
Christy Vander Haagen April 10, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Hi Elaine, That is a wonderful story....I wish I had come up with such a creative and beautiful rationale. :)
Elaine Owsley April 22, 2011 at 06:58 PM
One of our daughters asked if mothers ever got the pearls that were their child's teeth. I was far enough out on my limb that I told her I didn't know, but that would be nice if they did. Sometimes you just have to know when to stop. Children always want more information and every time I wore my pearls, they wanted to look closely at them.

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