It all started with the Tooth Fairy.
I am lousy at playing the part.
I forget to put the money underneath her pillow.
My latest scene involved me leaving the tooth, which was in a sandwich bag, in the laundry room!
Since when does the Tooth Fairy do laundry? A girl can wish...
This latest spectacle got me to thinking about, not only the Tooth Fairy, but the Tooth Fairy's other friends. You know them, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny.
Many consider these to be myths and lies that parents keep spreading.
Others believe in the magic, believing that they are keeping their children's childhood as, simply, a childhood.
As I picked up the bag with the tooth in it, I started to reflect on my own childhood. I've told you about my relationship with my mother. She isn't into sugar coating things, if you know what I mean. She kept the gig up for as long as I wanted, never admitting or denying that the tooth fairy and friends were real or not. I would hear other kids talk about how the tooth fairy wasn't real. This didn't affect me because each person chooses to believe what they want to believe. I don't think my life was damaged by my mom keeping up the gig.
As I thought further about this, I wondered:
My Type A personality led me into full research mode. And, of course, as parents in this day and age, how do you get the best research?
Google and Facebook!
Google led me to Aha parenting, which says to shoot straight from the hip. They recommend telling children the truth but also emphasizing with any disappointment the child may feel. Although I believe in being honest (when necessary!) with my kids, I want to leave some magical aspects of childhood.
The advice that She Knows provides most resembles the direction I want to go. Losing a tooth is a part of growing up. Even when our tweens are old enough to realize that the tooth fairy doesn't really exist, Dr. Carole Lieberman states a great point by saying, "...pretending that the tooth fairy is giving your child a gift is soothing at any age during this transition."
That's what I got from Google. Now, what did my Facebook friends have to say?
Aimme, who blogs at House of Fauci's gives 4 great reasons why she has chosen to believe in Santa Clause.
Others said it perfectly:
"It never occurred to me or my siblings that Santa was something more than a fun thing to pretend each year. It was fun, and I enjoyed every minute of it, and at no point was I shocked to find that a "real" Santa didn't exist. This is how I want it to be for my kids." (Lacy)
"They (my kids) still believe at 8 & 4, but it's challenging. I mean a lot of work, but it's worth it."(Cara)
Many children realize that the tooth fairy and friends are not real, sometimes between the ages of 8 or 9. They either hear it from their friends and start to question their parents or they just put two and two together and figure it out on their own.
When kids begin to question this, I believe that parents should explain the true meaning behind why we give money/gifts for losing a tooth or explain the history of the true Saint Nick. Knowing the truth does not have to stop the enjoyment that comes with believing in the tooth fairy and friends.
My research found that many keep the gig going because it's fun. In a world where we have to hear about disasters, crimes, terrorism, can we just simply keep the tooth fairy and friends around to help lighten our day.
Tween Girl started to question if the tooth fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny were real a few years ago. I did explain to her the history of each and that there is nothing wrong with choosing to believe.
Just last night, Tween Girl wiggled out yet another baby tooth. She slyly looked over at me and said "Guess I'll put this under my pillow."
Hmm, I got a second chance at redeeming myself, hoping I wouldn't leave it in the laundry room again.
Nope, didn't leave it in the laundry room, just forgot to put the money under her pillow...again.
Her response to that?
"Looks like the tooth fairy owes me double."
How old were you when you found out that the tooth fairy, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and Gnomes weren't real?