There are many ways that I have failed at parenting.
I once forgot to put a filling in Little Man’s sandwich. Yep, my underweight child was sent to school with two slices of bread as his lunch entree. Christmas and birthday gifts have remained hidden for months following the events. There was the time that I floated the idea of carrot sticks for a post soccer game snack.
And then there’s the Tooth Fairy. The <insert all the bad words here> Tooth Fairy.
First, a little backstory…
When we had Little Man, my husband and I had the whole mythical characters discussion. You know, “Do we want to sell the whole Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy?” thing. For the record, this discussion ranks up there with discussions on whether one parent should quit their job, vaccinating, and college football team allegiance. It’s important.
We had our discussion and decided against Santa and the gang. I’m struggling to remember if it was a matter of not wanting to lie to our child (something all young, naive parents say they don’t want to do) or if we were just lazy assholes. Probably a bit of both.
I’m gonna go off on a tangent for a moment and tell you that if you ever tell a kid’s grandmother that you aren’t planning to do Santa, be prepared to be looked at like you’re the devil. At first she’ll squint her eyes and give you a look, wondering if you’re making yet another joke she isn’t getting. When she ascertains that you’re not kidding, she’ll lean in a little and sniff the air around you. She’ll make out like she has a sniffle, but it’s really about trying to detect booze on your breath. Because clearly drunkenness is the only reason a parent wouldn’t want to do Santa, right?
When she rules out jokes and booze, then she’ll move on to dropping hints that CPS will be called in the event tons of presents from a non-existent person (one that should be charged with B&E) aren’t given.
So, yeah, we do Santa Claus. (A modified version.)
We also put out baskets on Easter, because if you don’t put out baskets of chocolate on Jesus’s day, then surely you’re Satan. Little Man knows that there is no Easter Bunny (does any kid really believe in that?) and that getting treats isn’t what Easter is about, but we still have fun.
I did not expect to have to do the Tooth Fairy. Not even a little. Little Man questioned whether Santa was real when he was three because he didn’t think the story made sense. (We usually flip the Santa question back to him and he has continued to go along with it so far.) He knew the Easter Bunny was fake. But lo and behold, some kid in school loses a tooth and tells Little Man about the magical miniature being that leaves video games, cash, and toys under your pillow in exchange for your tooth. And he said he believed that.
The First Tooth
I can’t remember the circumstances surrounding Little Man losing his first tooth, but what I do remember is losing it. I don’t know if I accidentally threw it away or if I dropped it and it rolled under something. Whatever it was, I couldn’t find it. So as not to ruin the experience of losing his first tooth, I made a fake tooth out of popcorn.
Apparently teeth are like baby birds falling from their nests — if anyone else touches it, it will be rejected and die. Or, in the case of Little Man’s tooth, it will be rejected by the Tooth Fairy and he won’t get any loot.
Little Man didn’t bother the “tooth” and we later exchanged the popcorn for some cash. Crisis averted.
The Second Tooth
I didn’t lose this tooth, but I also didn’t have any money to leave under his pillow. After debating on leaving an IOU, I decided to borrow from Little Man’s piggy bank for money to put under his pillow. That was probably one of my low points as a parent, robbing my child to leave money from a fake fairy that collects children’s teeth.
The Third Tooth And Beyond
I’d love to be able to tell you that after losing the first tooth and not having money for the second tooth, that we learned our lesson and did better. But I’d be lying. There have been a couple of times when we pulled off the Tooth Fairy without a hitch, but mostly we screw up. I’ve lost more teeth, I’ve had to borrow more money from Little Man, and I’ve forgotten to make the switch.
That’s what happened with the most recent lost tooth. Little Man lost a molar minutes before his soccer game. He gave it to me to keep in my pocket, and miracle of miracles, it made it home. He put it under his pillow and woke up Sunday morning to find it still under his pillow. Crap.
My husband halfheartedly made up an excuse for the Tooth Fairy, but the boy wasn’t buying it.
“I don’t think the Tooth Fairy forgot so much as the parents forgot,” Little Man told my husband.
That night Little Man put his tooth in a box at the foot of his bed so the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t have any problems. The next morning he found that his tooth had been traded out for three bucks.
“Look what the Tooth Fairy brought me!” he told us, showing us the money.
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