Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Tooth Fairy and Other Lies

My five-year-old lost her first tooth last week. She literally lost it, didn't even know it was gone. She came over to tell me something and I thought she looked funny. She opened wide and the tooth was gone -- I don't think she even knew it. Don't know where it went -- maybe she swallowed it. It was very One Morning in Maine, except we don't live in Maine and it happened inside the house.

I told my friends. One of them asked what the tooth fairy brought. Um, nothing. Suzanne never mentioned the tooth fairy, so I didn't raise the issue.

Here's my problem. Years ago at a playgroup, the butcher's wife mentioned how Santa Claus is the first time many parents purposefully lie to their kids. For some reason, this really struck me. Since then, I haven't played up Santa Claus, she gets enough of it from our culture. We've read books about the historical Santa Claus but I don't really get into the nitty gritty of telling her he's real or unreal, but none of her presents are from Santa -- they come from mom and dad. The same friend who asked about what the tooth fairy brought also asked what Santa brought. She must think I'm a nutcase, maybe thats why she's always so nice to Suzanne.

Anyway, I guess Suzanne hasn't heard much about the tooth fairy -- if she had and had expected a visit, she would have gotten one. But I'm not bringing it up. I'm thinking she's probably headed for therapy and I'm headed for hell.

1 comment:

Syntone said...

It seems these mythical home invaders--Santa, tooth fairy, Easter bunny--pose a challenge for every family. My early mothering mentor refused to lie to her children about them. A friend's daughter was terrified that the tooth fairy would come in her house at night, and left frantic notes telling the intruder to stay out.
At my house, we talked about Santa as St. Nicholas, who was apparently a real person--and that the spirit of St. Nick lives on in anyone who is generous or cares about children.
We never did the Easter bunny, but my youngest often said she saw fairies, and we have done the tooth fairy--with much positive result.
Losing teeth was a whole other issue. My, I'm glad we're past that stage!