Friday, February 15, 2013

Tooth Fairy Dilemma

I’m conflicted about the Tooth Fairy.

As the father of two elementary school aged daughters, teeth are flying left and right.

One problem is that their grandma set a precedent of $10 per tooth a while back. If you’re anywhere near my age, that’s shocking. We got dimes and nickels. Even when adjusted for inflation, ten bucks is still an outrageous rate.

And it’s not like I can always predict when the Tooth Fairy’s services will be needed.

Spoiler alert: I’m the Tooth Fairy. Well, not THE Tooth Fairy, but I am the Tooth Fairy in my household. And when not in character, I pay bills on-line and I use plastic cards for most other purchases. I don’t always have cash lying around the house every time said Tooth Fairy’s services are unexpectedly needed. I don’t need that kind of stress in my life.

But, it’s not just about the money.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to perpetuate such an outlandish ruse. While teaching my children the scientific method and to be reasonable and logical, at the same time I’m also encouraging them to believe a fairy comes down from somewhere and swaps out a bloody tooth for dough while they sleep. Really?

I lose all credibility when I then try to convince them that it’s absurd to think an ogre lives in the woods behind the house.

For some reason, I’m ok with Santa Claus.

Santa represents joy and goodness and magic and we know a lot about him from all the TV shows he’s in every year.

“He’s real if you want him to be” is what my mom told me when I asked her about jolly ol’ Saint Nick when I was a kid; that works for me still.

Plus, the old “…he knows if you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake” routine gets me at least a few months of excellent behavior.

When my girls confront me someday about all the lies, I think I’ll be able to spin Santa. But the Tooth Fairy? My 6-year-old asks what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth and I got nothing.

I can’t even conjure a consistent image in my mind of what the Tooth Fairy looks like.

But here’s the thing: I love the unadulterated joy and silliness and wild-eyed wonder of my girls at this age.  Childhood is fleeting.   The day is soon coming when they no longer jump in every mud puddle or think of me as a super hero. 

The sparkle in their eyes when they see the first star bright to wish upon at dusk or sheer delight in catching lightning bugs in the back yard is always tonic aplenty for whatever might be ailing this tired old soul. I know it won’t be long before cynicism will creep into their lives and more grown-up realities will take hold.

So, conflicted as I may be, I guess the Tooth Fairy can be real if they want her to be for a little while longer.  Good thing there’s an ATM close by.

But don’t get me started on the Easter Bunny. 

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