The Truth Fairy | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Truth Fairy

Tonight I stealthily switched one of Bria's teeth for a dollar.  Nothing incredibly new about the activity.  I've actually done it quite a lot by now.  I always pay a dollar, sometimes in quarters or even dimes and nickels depending on what's in my wallet when a tooth is lost.  Tonight's tooth has been under her pillow for nearly a week--also nothing new in our tooth fairy's history.  She's actually pretty delinquent most of the time.

But, there was something new, and I'm not sure I liked it.

Bria knows that the Tooth Fairy is me.

You go along as a parent, doing all of the things that your parents did for you, and you never really stop to think about what will happen when your child actually does stop and think and then question those things.  Like the Tooth Fairy.

(Really?  There's an actual fairy who goes around in the middle of the night paying children for their lost baby teeth which have been carefully hidden under their pillows?) Yeah.  Kind of silly and gross and weird all at the same time.

But also fun.

And a bit incredible.

Which is why, on the day Bria lost her tooth she asked me about it.

"Mom?  Is there really such thing as the Tooth Fairy?"

I have promised myself that I would always tell the truth about anything my kids asked me.  Maybe not the entire truth, but enough to answer the question at hand. If they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to have an answer.  So far, this theory has served me well, and while I've had to answer a few uncomfortable questions, the answers have been satisfactory for my children and life has gone on.

So, I told her the truth.  Yes, there is a Tooth Fairy, and you're looking right at her.  No, I never actually called her all those times to remind her to come and get your tooth already, it was just a way to cover up the fact that I always forget to get the tooth (or fall asleep before you do).  It's just a fun way for parents to help children be excited about their lost baby teeth and earn a little fun money on the side.  And you'd better not tell your sisters!  It's a very special secret, and they don't know yet.

She wasn't disappointed at all.  Only a little worried that now that she knew the truth she wouldn't get paid for her teeth.  I assured her that of course the Tooth Fairy would always come for her teeth.  Eventually.

And then she said, "But Santa's real. Because there is no way you and Dad would ever buy me all the stuff that Santa does!  Of course HE'S real!!!"

And I let out a huge sigh of relief.

I don't like my kids getting older.

41 comments :

  1. Oy. It's especially hard with that oldest child. After my primary teacher told a room full of 8-year olds the truth about Santa, I was determined that my kids would never hear it from me. I figured the natural cynicism that sets in around puberty would be sufficient for them to "figure it out".

    But eventually, my 13-year old son went to his dad and said, "I'm starting to have some embarrassing conversations with the kids at school. Give it to me straight."

    Sigh.

    There's no perfect way to navigate these waters, but it sounds to me like you're handling it just fine!

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  2. It can be so bittersweet, as they get bigger and stop believing! You are good for continuing to play along!

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  3. No way huh?? That is one generous Santa, lol. That's a great way to handle it.

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  4. We'll be sailing those waters soon, too, in our family. We're considering telling Turin the truth about Santa this year after Christmas, but I'm not ready to have the magic be gone. Why, oh why, does time have to pass so quickly?--Amanda

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  5. I'm having the hardest time with my youngest. The oldest 3 just figured it all out--from the Tooth Fairy to Santa--all on their own. #4? She's thinking and pondering and asking questions that are hard to answer. I hate it. Just figure it out, kid, so I don't have to SAY anything!

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  6. You are a good mom. And I don't look forward to that day. I was so crushed when I got the Santa news that I decided right then and there my kids wouldn't be so convinced of him as I was. So, while I haven't obviously stated that there is no Santa Claus, when they ask who a certain present is from, I tell them the truth. So far, they are too little to realize that never once have I answered Santa.

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  7. This is honestly one of my parenting quandaries...I don't want to be dishonest, but I sure like childhood imagination. I figure they'll make it to adulthood without major scarring either way, but I do have a friend who learned the truth about Santa and wondered if her parents were probably pulling the same thing with the whole "God" thing, too. That's my worry.

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  8. Not looking forward to this at all. I think you handled it beautifully!

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  9. All of the complications of kids getting older. Ugh!

    My youngest has a don't ask don't tell policy. He doesn't really want to know, so he never asks. LOL

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  10. Kudos to you for being honest with her. Her response about Santa is so adorable!!

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  11. What a good mommy you are. It's so hard to know what to do with situations like these. I don't just believe that Tooth Fairies, Santa Claus, and Easter Bunnies are just exercises in fun. I think they teach an essential in faith, in believing in the best of goodess and kindness on earth. That's why the honesty behind these things of faith is hard for me. I hope that I handle it half so well as you have.

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  12. Now you are making me wonder if my oldest has straight out asked me that or not ... I love the way you handled this ... and I LOVE her response about Santa!!! I am still laughing! One of mine lost a tooth the night before Halloween and I was so busy with some things that I forgot all about it ... fortunately hubby remembered before it was too late! Anyhow, I am going to remember this conversation and not be so scared of the talks that are coming up soon!

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  13. It was a sad day when my oldest asked me if Santa was real! Enjoy this time while you can. It goes so quickly.
    Love your blog! I'll be back often.
    Sandra

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  14. Must be hard. I know I'm probably missing out a bit by not doing Santa or the Tooth Fairy or whatever, but I think it's easier than the quandry of when to break the truth to them sooner or later. I don't think parents are wrong to do the make-believe characters, but it's easier for me to come up with our own traditions. My kids still get money from their teeth, and play pretend games with them and we make up our own fun traditions and ways of doing things.

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  15. I am almost 30 years old and I believe in the Spirit of Santa Claus! I love silly traditions and I do not look forward to my kids getting older and wiser!

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  16. You should watch The Hog Father. Its a great little movie stuffed full of fantasy charicters. Youll love it and its great for times like these.

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  17. sorry, thats just "Hogfather" -- one word

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  18. My oldest was just four when he asked about Santa. We had finished watching Mr. Krueger's Christmas, and he said "What does Santa have to do with Jesus?"

    We hemmed and hawed. He was expecting a doctrinally sound reason, and "the spirit of giving" didn't fly with him. He wanted us to point to a Santa scripture or something. (Yes, he was really like that at age four.) We couldn't, and he kept insisting, so we told him the truth.

    And he was sad about it. Because he really thought that, with all the hype over Santa and Jesus, that Santa must have some doctrinal significance.

    I think he's over it now. I hope so, anyway. I can't bear to lie to my kids when they ask me straight out. And Santa is a nice lie, a fun lie, but it's still a lie.

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  19. I loved this post because it reminds me of my Dad. The only thing he ever lied to me about was Santa. I asked him once and he told me that he believed in Santa, and left it at that for another year. What was funny about it to me was the amount of guilt he had about the Santa situation. I said to an adult friend of theirs one time that my Daddy would never lie to me, and he was visibly hurt. You're a great mom!

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  20. Excellent !
    With questions like those, we always asked back "What do you think ?" If they still wanted to believe, we left it alone...if not, truth is the best answer.

    We also said Mom & Dad are Santa's helpers and when the older ones asked and answered the dreaded questions, we dubbed them helpers. It made Christmas even more fun for our older children in the long run !

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  21. PHew -- glad she still has some belief left. Once I figured out the Tooth Fairy, I realized that Santa wasn't real either. I've been SO tempted to tell Ellie because I'm not a big fan of the Tooth Fairy anyway.

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  22. My life is a facade.
    I've always just asked Conner why he cared, he still got the $$. :)
    I just don't want to deal with the Santa questions that will follow.
    Hey, my computer's on and I'll be around. :)

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  23. What a cute story! I love the innocence of childhood. I also love how you handled that. Truly inspiring. I think I will probably do the same when my kids get old enough to ask those questions.

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  24. The way she phrased it, she definitely did not WANT to know there isn't really a Santa. I think you did the right thing!
    :~D

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  25. I love this! I think when the oldest kids know, it makes them feel special because they are in on the secret.

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  26. Cute I had Rob read it and he loved it too.
    Thanx for your comment.

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  27. Love it! Kelley already knows that the Easter Bunny isn't real, but hasn't made the connection to Santa thank goodness! It's a good thing Bria put that in a sentance and not a question....

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  28. Kids getting older...(sigh), I know.

    My oldest daughter doesn't believe in Santa or the tooth fairy anymore. She's trying to convince her 6 yr old brother & sister now about their non-existence. And it's killing me.

    At least our 2 yr old is still clueless. And very snuggly.

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  29. Lara, I want to ask you something. Can you send me your email?? myvisiblevoice at hotmail dot com. :)

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  30. oh my gosh...this has totally been on my mind because jonah just lost his first tooth. i was almost surprised when he didn't ask if the tooth fairy was real just cause it seems so utterly ridiculous. i'm glad i've got a little more time...hopefully.

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  31. I was so disappointed the year I found the barbies in my Mom's closet that were labeled from "Santa" the next morning.

    Good that she believes much longer.

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  32. Whew! At least you dont' have to give out the Santa news yet! I still wish my kids were little and believed in all that stuff. Makes it more fun, you know? I like how you answered her!

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  33. Oh then she'd better not interview my children. ;-D Mine found out that Santa's not real because my in-laws accidentally claimed the big gifts one year and there were no "Santa" gifts left and the long faces were too much for all of us to handle. So... we had to tell them that Santa are all the loving family we have who generously chooses to give them gifts at Christmas time. Funny, my in-laws played the "Santa" card for almost 15 years for their children. Go figure...

    You're such a good mom...

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  34. What a sweet moment....ur awesome...i wish i was good at remembering to get those baby teeth from under the pillow.. our tooth fairy is often out on holiday ...for very long periods of time ....but she gets there eventually... ;)

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  35. Reed has already realized the Tooth Fairy is fabricated....I, however, do not have the heart to truthfully answer his questions about Santa Clause. I just can't.

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  36. I love your tooth/truth policies. Mentally filing this away for when my time comes, one day.

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  37. Love the post. I remember my mom always telling us that the Tooth Fairy must be busy in India or something (apparently there are a lot of children there who are losing teeth) whenever she'd forget to give us money for like a week.

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  38. What a cute post. Bria is such a sweetheart.

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