Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Tooth Fairy

In my life as a parent, I have been an exceptional Santa Claus, an acceptable Easter Bunny but a lousy Tooth Fairy. My kids learned from an early age that they could only ask Santa for 4 things and that Christmas lists were "due" by November 1. They would scour the "Toys R Us" catalog that came in the Sunday newspaper, looking for their hearts' desire. Then, they would cut out the items they wanted and paste them to their letters to Santa. Not only did I know what they wanted, I had detailed lists with photographs, sale prices and dates and UPC's. With the advent of online shopping, I became Super Santa. Just me and Amazon.com, making spirits bright.
Easter was less involved and we always managed to get the baskets together and set out the night before. We always got the eggs dyed on time with only one real disaster. Don't ever try that stuff that is supposed to tie dye the eggs. What a mess! I had to us WD40 to clean the sink! We also learned to switch to hiding plastic eggs outdoors after our dog discovered all the protein treats we had left for her around the back yard.
But the Tooth Fairy business I could not master. I was constantly forgetting, giving the Tooth Fairy a bad reputation for tardiness in our family. I even crafted notes of apology, manufacturing plausible excuses for her being a day or two late in getting to that bloody tooth under the pillow. There was a late fee that kicked in on the second day that doubled the cost of a tooth. I even convinced the kids that the tooth fairy was having difficulty getting to the tooth under the pillow as she did not want to awaken them. They started setting out the little silver box on their desk, anything to bring forth that stupid fairy. It once took me three nights to make the exchange. When my daughter was about 11, she looked at me slyly and told me that the Tooth Fairy had not come the night before. I looked at her straight in the eye and said, "How about I just give you 5 bucks and you give me the tooth?" She was shocked! "Mommy! Do you realize that you just admitted to me that you are the tooth fairy?"
It is funny how we feel so compelled to perpetrate these deceptions on our own children. There is a sense of liberation when they no longer believe and we can let our guard down. For my older two kids, it seemed to just sort of happen. My youngest, at age 11, intellectually knows that it is all a hoax. I think he fears admitting it because somehow it would end the flow of presents, cash and candy. I was two days late on his most recent tooth. It is only September. Let's hope I can keep this going for a few more months.


  1. In my house, it seems the toothfairy often "dropped" the money, and it fell behind the bed, or under covers. The kids could never find it, but luckily I had the magic touch (and pocket) to retrieve it.

  2. Thankfully, you have little time left to fail. Jack ought to be done losing teeth soon.

  3. You could have always gone the Gary Larson route. We love the Far Side where the Kid reads the Tooth Fairy's note, "Next Billy, I'll be back with the pliers! Ha Ha Ha..".

    Of course, you might have years of therapy on your hands then.

    Congratulations Ellen. Hope this gives you an avenue for your prodigious energies and skills. Best of luck.

    Bill D. (Palo Alto)