Friday, December 30, 2011

Tooth Fairies and Other Fantasies

This was something I wrote a few years ago, and wanted to resurrect it because it is SOOOO like my kids still:
My daughter just had three baby teeth removed at the oral surgeon’s, and in addition to the almost $1000 bucks I spent there, I now have to fork over at least $5 to slip under her pillow, so that I can save the teeth to show off at her wedding or first baby shower.

There is definitely a rite of passage that happens, though, when your kids no longer believe in such fantasies. I’m sure my shrewd 8-year-old is well aware there is no tooth fairy, as I’m sure she’s positive that Santa doesn’t exist. After all, she has an eye for design, and proportion and can easily figure out that Santa’s portly dimensions would never fit our slimline-gas insert. And she hardly batted an eye when we claimed on Christmas morning that Santa helped himself to a banana because we’d neglected to put out milk and cookies. In her letter to him, sometime in November, she asked what were the odds she’d get the Scholastics order she placed, informed him that this was just one of so many letters he would receive, and signed her name twice — printed, in case he couldn’t read the cursive.

But we continue to hold on to these fantasies, in a strange tug of war to see who — parent or child — will admit first that there is no such thing.

When my son was about 12 — just two years ago — he had been making noises about Santa that led me to believe that he no longer believed. So when he asked me outright: Mom, is Santa real? I hesitated, but given that I’m Christian and expect him to believe all sorts of things that sound fantastical and impossible through faith, I didn’t want to lie, and set myself up as an unsound authority on such matters.

So I told the truth. No, he isn’t.

But I was unprepared for the reaction — my son burst into tears, and ran to his room, sobbing. When he finally came out of his room — an hour later — he was fine and had worked it out.
What am I saying here? Tread carefully, and think ahead to what you’re going to tell your kids. In retrospect, I’m glad I did tell him, but it was hard to take at the time.

No comments: