Flights of Fancy

I was followed home from San Diego by red, flashing lights.

It was embarrassing. I hope it never happens again.

The lights said, “Mommy Fail!”

Uno lost her fourth front tooth while we were away this weekend. She crept up to my bed at about 1 am and said, “Mommy, I lost my tooth! What do I do?”

Since she startled me to awake by whispering this about 3 centimeters from my face I had a few immediate recommendations of what she could do that wouldn’t be fit to say out loud, much less put in print.

But I woke up, congratulated her for getting out the nasty little tooth that had hung by a sinew for a few days, cockeyed and graying, and got out of bed to take the tooth to the bathroom. I put it by the faucet handle and assured her we would put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy when we got home, because that’s where the Tooth Fairy would be looking for her tooth (not in a hotel room in another state!).

(It might be fair to mention the stockpile of gold dollar coins are at home and most stores where you can get a gold coin are closed at oh my goodness in the morning.)

So we put the tooth by the sink and went back to bed.

The next morning we woke up, got packed and went to the beach. It was awesome, we watched some fighter jets take off and land and generally had an excellent time.

About 45 minutes after checking out of the hotel Uno said, “Mommy! Did you get my tooth?!”

And the blood began to pound in my ears, my stomach sank, and my legs went rubbery. Because, NO, I LEFT THE TOOTH ON THE SINK. AT THE HOTEL. IN ANOTHER STATE.

Epic Mommy Fail.

Lizard recovered. “It’s ok, we can leave a note for the Tooth Fairy under your pillow with the address for the hotel. She’s fast and can fly to San Diego to get your tooth, then fly back home to give you your coin!”

Uno was satisfied. Later a friend called and she talked to him on the phone:

“Guess what! I lost my tooth! But we left it in the hotel by the sink. But Daddy told me the Tooth Fairy can fly to get it and that will be fine and Daddy’s an honest man so I know that’s how it will be.”

and i died a little inside as my moral compass began to spin uncontrollably.

Since then things have only gotten worse.

Uno wants to make sure we use a small piece of paper for the note because the Tooth Fairy is so small. I only had 8.5×11 paper available so I told her the Tooth Fairy could open any size piece of paper because she used her wand to open it.

Uno wants to be sure she can read the note. I told her the Tooth Fairy was fluent in all languages and able to read letters of any size.

Uno asked how all of this can be possible. “Where does the magic come from?” she asked.

And the lies, the lies! They just kept dripping from my lips!

I committed sacrilege.

“God gives the Tooth Fairy magic. It’s special, just for her.” I’m lying to my child about the Tooth Fairy and now I’m bringing God into the equation.

“Oh, just like Santa Claus? ‘Cause God gives Santa Claus magic powers for his bag and his reindeer.”

“Uh huh.” I’m remembering all the times I said, We Don’t Lie. We Aren’t a Family That Lies. We Tell The Truth Even When It’s Hard.

“Yeah, I figured. God, Jesus, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, they’re all related and have magic power. But God is best,” Uno continued, completely oblivious to my internal distress.

“Um, sure. God’s the strongest.”

I was not intending to have a crisis of faith about the Tooth Fairy, but there you have it. What do YOU tell your kids about the Tooth Fairy?! (Or what were you told by your parents and how old were you when you figured it out?)

Facebook Comments

6 thoughts on “Flights of Fancy

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Been there done that. Let me just say that our oldest daughter was heartbroken when she found out we lied to her and there was no Santa Claus. We came clean about the other make-believe beings and asked her forgiveness for misleading her and promised that we would never do it again. That, I think is the problem with perpetuating these lies, they damage trust. Our subsequent 2 children we told the truth from the get go. No Easter bunny, no tooth fairy and no Santa. Why should imaginary beings get the credit for the gifts we give our children? To God be all the glory, he deserves it anyway. We find plenty of supernatural and astounding things that happen right here and now and study the miraculous aspects of Christmas and Resurrection Sunday. (Not giving Ishtar any glory either:)

    • September 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      I’m thinking very seriously about changing things up. I’m a stickler when it comes to not lying… and then I’m role modeling something else??? For the Tooth Fairy??? That doesn’t make sense!

  • September 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I completely understand what you’re saying. For reasons of honesty (which has the beneficial effect of building trust) my parents never lied to us about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc. I thought they had a good point so we’re continuing that with our children. I’ve explained to our oldest (the only one who understands) that some people believe in Santa, but that he is just pretend… we talked about the real meaning of Christmas and generally steer clear of Santa. I think the potentially devastating effect of telling our children about imaginary powerful beings such as Santa or the Tooth Fairy, then confessing they are not real, is that the children may begin to doubt what we tell them about God. Not to mention, as you pointed out, if we insist on honesty in our lives, we really can’t lie to our kids. Not even “for fun”. I admire your honesty in discussing all this publicly… I think it’s overlooked by most parents and it’s a great thing to examine.

  • September 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    When my oldest starting losing teeth, there was one morning (okay, more than one) when she came out and said, “I think the tooth fairy forgot.” “OH NO!” I exclaimed. “Well… sometimes she runs a little behind…. so let’s check again after breakfast.” That pretty much ended the mystery. It wasn’t long until it was pretty clear to her that mom was the forgetful tooth fairy.

  • September 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    My mom had an old lady from the church over when I was about eight – this lady mentioned ‘playing tooth fairy’ me and mom just exchanged a look, and it was never brought up again. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but it never was extravagant, and I kinda figured anyway since the first time I got Canadian money right after we got back from Canada.

    My parents didn’t tell me Santa came down the chimney and all that – they let me come up with what I wanted to think. When the whole thing came up with me realizing Santa was not a jolly old man – my parents told me about Saint Nicholas. It was actually and still is a tradition to read about Saint Nicholas before opening stockings, like we read the Christmas story before opening gifts. Me and my sister still received a Santa gift because Santa (as my parents still say!) is someone who wants to give a gift anonymously. I never felt lied to at all – and still enjoy that magical part of Christmas.

  • September 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I was about 8 or 9 years old when I realized that the S’s on the From: Santa labels were exactly the same S’s that my mother writes. My mother has very distinct S’s. I soon began to question the reality of Santa Claus (and other seasonal characters), though I also considered the fact that I had never really understood Santa and had always had a difficult time believing in him. I knew that we only got one or two presents from Santa, and the rest were from my parents/grandparents. And did Santa ever give presents to mothers and fathers? And how did he get into houses/apartments without chimneys? I have always been very literal and rational (in most cases), so even though my parents told me about Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy, I never quite accepted the stories as absolute truth. This made it easy for me to simply dismiss their unreality as fun stories to tell children. However, these same literal and rational observations/understandings of what I am taught have made it difficult to learn about and trust in God many times. I wouldn’t say that I struggle with trusting God because of the stories my parents about Santa Claus, etc. My parents were very honest with me when I asked them about the reality of Santa. Also, they never made a big deal of them. As kids, we knew about Santa, and we set out cookies for him on Christmas Eve, but my parents were very careful not to put him at the forefront of Christmas. And I never got golden dollars from the tooth fairy. I only got a dime until I started losing my molars. Then I got 50 cents. All my friends got at least $5.

    When I have children, I think I want to carry on the traditions, but tone down the fairy tales. I would like to teach about Saint Nicholas and the legend of Santa Claus, but focus more on Christ’s birth and the gifts of the Magi. Also, I think it would simply be fun to give my children money (not $5 – I like your gold dollars, though) in exchange for their teeth when they don’t see – and just wait to see how their imagination determines where the money comes from. Easter egg hunts, too. I really think the Easter Bunny is the silliest of all, but I love egg hunts. So, we’ll do away with the bunny, but keep the eggs, certainly making Christ’s resurrection the most important part. Honestly, I like the stories, but I agree that children do not deserve lies. Holidays can be just as fun if we tell kids the stories and tell them as stories and always/always/always emphasize what really matters about each event.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: