Friday, March 16, 2012

Announcement: I am the Tooth Fairy

Jack is eight and has only lost two baby teeth. He lost the two bottom front teeth but in both cases the permanent tooth grew in behind the baby tooth and we had to take him in to the dentist to get the baby removed. They were not even loose and then he didn't look any different when they were gone because their replacement was already there. All of the other kids his age have lost lots of teeth so I'm surprised he still has his baby faced smile. I am in favor of keeping those suckers deep in his gums for as long as possible because even though he has never had a cavity, there is definitely a bigger responsibility to take care of permanent teeth. John and I both have straight teeth naturally but there is a rampant buck tooth gene running rampant in the Haws gene pool and I'm hoping we can avoid braces.

So finally Jack has a truly loose tooth. His first official one. He is very financially motivated and he knows that the tooth fairy pays kids who have never had a cavity a big "copay bonus" so as soon as he discovered the wobbly front tooth he has been trying to get it out. It has gotten to the point that you can see it swinging around in his mouth when he talks but I can't for the life of me get the stupid thing out.

Jack was talking about the Tooth Fairy and wondering how much she'd pay for this tooth and I was trying to dodge the subject because I have been feeling guilty about how hard we sell the mythical characters (Easter Bunny, Santa, etc.) and now that he is 8 I just think we ned to set him straight. He is getting baptized next week and I feel like he needs to know that what we have taught him about Christ and God is the only thing that is real. Kids nowadays end up with more tangible evidence of Santa Clause than they do about the Atonement and while I think the traditions are fun and I don't want to be a grinch, The age of accountability is a good time to cut the crap.

Then the next day Jack was going through my jewelry box and came across his first two baby teeth. He was totally confused as to why I would have these in my possession when he had definitely sold them to the Tooth Fairy long ago. He is a sensitive kid and I didn't want to to bum him out. Then I realized that like everything in life it is all about how you sell it, I realized I am the queen of spin and I can make this a positive thing. Sales is a skill that is valuable in every industry and mothering is no exception. So I said, "Jack I need to meet you in my closet in five minutes for a top-secret kid/mom meeting and I am going to tell you a spectacular secret that is so exciting. I have been wanting to tell you this secret for a long time but now you are ready. See you in five minutes. Don't tell anyone. We can't be followed or overheard. Make sure the coast is clear, okay?"

Five minutes later in the clandestine closet meeting I gave him my biggest smile and told him that "I AM THE TOOTH FAIRY! Isn't that Great!?" He wanted to know if I was the Tooth Fairy for everyone but I told him nope, I am his and Abe's private Tooth Fairy and every mom gets that job when they have kids and it is one of the most fun things about being a parent.

"So when I have kids will I be the Tooth Fairy for them?"

" Yes. And you get to be more than just that. You get to be Santa and the Easter Bunny and even the Halloween Candy Fairy (who in our home takes all of the candy on Halloween and leaves cash. Yes I am a genius)." I explained that now that he is in on the secret he gets to be my helper and he has to keep my secret until Abe is old enough to be invited to a mature secret closet meeting like us. I told him about how much fun I have had bringing him presents and explained that there is nothing to any of it beyond parent's pretending. I also let him know that he will still make money on his teeth and Christmas and Easter will proceed as they always have, he is just on the inside of the secret now.

The strategy worked. He likes being given responsibilities that he sees as grown up and I sensed a bit of relief as he thought about it and it all made sense. "I might still want to pretend to believe in that stuff just for fun even though I know the truth about it. Is that okay?"

"Absolutely. I still do that myself. Don't ruin the secret for anyone else."

So the whole thing was far easier than I expected and Jack took the news like a champ. I am a little relieved to drop the charade and he was pretty excited to know that his teeth were still available for inspection and would be kept safe in my jewelry box. The Halloween Candy is long gone but feel free to visit the cavity free teeth any time.

1 comment:

Sinéad & Guillaume said...

I worry about the secrets too. I kind of hate them. My nephew David found his old teeth too but he thought he'd milk the system. His parents got suspicious and realised that the tooth fairy'd been paying on the double when he started loosing teeth every few days. They want to see the gaping bloody hole in his gum now when ever he clams to have lost another one.

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