Maybe there is a Santa Claus

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Chris and I screwed up big time the other day.

One of Liam's front teeth fell out, leaving him with a gap-toothed smile that melts my heart and that much more room in his mouth for backsass. The tooth was loose for forever and Liam refused to let us pull it out lest we take his head off in the process. One morning while getting out of the shower I heard Liam yelling from downstairs, something about oh gawd help him, Daddy is trying to rip his tooth out of his head. Liam has mastered the thespian discipline of drama at the tender age of eight years, so I wasn't concerned.

I love his toothless grin

"If you'd just stand still it'll be out in a second!" Chris hollered back.

Later Liam showed me his tooth and we stored it carefully in a snack-sized Ziploc bag and wondered aloud about how much money the tooth fairy would bring him.

A couple of days later while on the phone with his grandmother, Liam said that the tooth fairy was a bunch of crap because she didn't leave him anything and his tooth was still under his pillow.

Parents = FAIL.

"I thought you got it," Chris whispered.

"No, I thought you did."

While Liam was on the phone I darted into the boys' room and shoved a dollar underneath his pillow and snatched his tooth. Which reminds me: I will never forget the day I found a bagful of my baby teeth while searching for a belt to borrow in my mom's dresser. I thought that she maybe had taken up voodoo before I realized what it was. It simeltaneously touched me that she saved them and bummed me out because I had always wondered what exactly happened to my baby teeth and seeing them there in a bag in her dresser drawer caused any remaining fairy dust to dissipate. I was like, 14, too, which makes it even more pathetic.

Liam caught on to us and told Chris that he knows he just shoved a dollar underneath his pillow. The tone in which he said it, the sigh he gave at the end, really struck me. I've written before how I detest the Easter Bunny, Santa, all of that make-believe junk because it seems like such a distraction from the real reasons they exist, but when I heard the snideness in Liam's voice I realized right then that I don't want to raise a cynic like myself. If I can give him even a temporary suspense of reality, a tiny big of magic in his youth, then perhaps that's something.

So I swooped in and told one of the biggest lies in my life about how oh yes, the tooth fairy is real, and how much money did you get? A dollar? I was ripped off; the most I ever got was maybe fifty cents. Chris chimed in and agreed without missing a beat while throwing me an sideways incredulous glance. And Liam's eyes grew wider and he began to brag slightly about how his tooth brought in more than either of his parents had ever received. He folded the dollar into his bulldog wallet and wiggled another loose tooth in his mouth.

"Can't wait to see how much I get for this one," he exclaimed. "It's a big one!"

His wide-eyed wonder was restored and I have to admit, it's kind of catching.

21 Comments

Dana, couldn't agree with you more.
it's amazing to see children's eyes just light up when they hear about something magical. it's fun for us too. we told our kids about the tooth fairy and it was cute to see my husband waking up bright and early in the morning and putting coins under the pillow before work. he was trying to be quick and quiet and not late for work. (yeah, we dont believe in preplanning, ha) my son's description of the beautiful tooth fairy he got a glimpse of was also fun. i mean why shouldn't life be magical. sometimes when i do magic tricks, i know they are smart enough to figure out, but it's the look of wonder in their eyes that makes it all worth it. i didn' grow up with these things at all, other than ghosts in the house, but that's another story, but not fun fascinating things. Although Christmas is not part of our religious holiday, it is still fun, when asked, to let my kids know that Santa lives at the north pole. It's cute. Anyone who is too strict about these things, doesn't have kids yet or hasn't faced such a situation yet and seen it in their own child's eyes. embrace the magic in life.

I will only admit this because I like you. As my girls got older (but not too old), we forgot on several occasions and had to tell them the tooth fairy must have been VERY busy that night. Then we could buy one more night. Sad from the parenting perspective, however they bought it and that is all I cared about at that time. I love the magic and mystery of childhood and I would never change that for my kids. I have always just stressed both: the religion of why we celebrate, and the fun of the myths. I guess it worked out ok in my house-they are almost done cooking and so far-no mass murderers.

Your an awesome mom and clearly love your kids. Don't sweat it!

I remember searching the Hall Closet for a matching Set of Salad bowls when I came upon a Baggie full of my Teeth. But, there were some missing. As it turns out, my Mum sent some to my Tia Ethel in Puerto Rico. I'm going to see my Tia in February and I'm excited to see whether or not she kept my Teeth. =)

A dollar? A cheesy dollar? What would a kidney bring? $2.50? wow. that's borderline child abuse... (jk)

Good for you! Time enough in their older years to become cynical and lose the "magic of youth". My daughter, 10, still believes in Santa. I think. Either she does, or I should be saying " and for best performance by an actress, the Oscar goes to.." Part of me wishes she knew (would make my Christmas Eve life ever so much easier), but I cannot bring myself to be the one to destroy that magic. Every year I think it's her last and we try to make the most if it to enjoy before it is gone. BTW - the tooth fairy in our neck of the woods bring MUCH more than that. Not necessarily in our house, but most of our kid's friends get $3 and up. $5 for molars. Geez, inflation! I got 25 or 50 cents max. Guess the economy hasn't hit the tooth fair yet. She also will NOT let us pull any teeth - she'll wiggle them forever until they fall out, because as you said, if we did it, we would certainly yank off her head. Which for me is a good thing, becuase I just can't bring myself to reach into a mouth and pull out a tooth. GROSS!

My kids know Mom is the tooth fairy, Daddy & Mommy are Santa too. We don't do the Easter Bunny at all.

Originally, we told them the true story of Christmas, and Santa. One year, my oldest (7 yr old GeekBoy) declared he wanted to believe in Santa. So when he lost a tooth later, we told him about the tooth fairy. He knew right away, but enjoys playing along.

That's a cute story. It's funny how moments like these make you suddenly rethink/understand why we "lie" to the children about all of those characters. I constantly think about this as I'm relaying the details of these traditions to my daughter. I'll think "oh, she has to know, kids aren't as gullible as they were back in myyyyy day". Then, I'll think back to the magic feelings of Christmas and all of those other imaginary creatures and realize I wouldn't want to deprive my child of that magical time in life.

I also wouldn't want to deprive myself of the wine & cheesecake that we leave Santa, not to mention the chocolate covered strawberries that we leave the Easter bunny, while putting out all the goodies.

They grow up way too fast, let them believe there is still fantasy in the world. Too soon we find out there isn't.

Comrade Dana, this was a great story. I hope Liam doesn't do to you what I did to my mother. One time, when I was about 6 years old I realized that I was completely strapped for cash. The entrepreneurial spirit within me was clamoring for a quick buck so I decided to take this plastic stick that made weird noises when you turn it upside down and bang it against my teeth. Several screams of agony and 2 pints of blood later, I successfully knocked one of my teeth out and proceeded to place under my pillow. I think I only got 50 cents for my efforts, (I guess the tooth fairly was well aware of my scam). I miss those days, when I could get away with junk like that. As far as Santa goes, I'm no fan of the guy. What a creep. Will I allow an old fat guy in a red suit to let my future kids to sit on his lap? Excuse me? I don't think so : ) Also, I don't like the message Santa endorses. Telling kids that if they're a good boy or lass, they'll get a present. What ever happened to telling kids to be good for the sake of being good? Why should kids be rewarded for behaving like they should in the first place? I think kids should be rewarded sometimes, but it seems to me that Santa Claus teaches kids how to be more of a greedy brat than a model citizen. Sorry for my semi-rant, Dana. Anyways, God bless you and your kin.

Lord, if I had a dollar for every night the tooth fairy forgot over here...

Our tooth fairy leaves Sacajawea dollars.

Get him to work on the other front tooth before Christmas!

Dude. Good save. Our Tooth Fairy misses rather regularly here (with 2 tooth-losers these days). We actually told out daughter, the last time a whole kindergarten class in ????, NY all lost teeth, so the TF had a lot of tending to do and couldn't make it right away. I felt like Satan telling such a lie... all to preserve a remnant of childhood fantasy!

Wow... I haven't been here in a while. Good to know Dana is as funny as ever.

Yeah, we did the Tooth Fairy thing. My kids got $1 per tooth. And my youngest, who is high-functioning Autistic, believed in Santa until he was about 13. That was a hard one to work through, since he doesn't always see the world the way the rest of us do. He's good with it now, but there were times when he'd be trying to rationalize the existence of Santa..

Yes, let your children hang on to the magic and innocense as long as possible. There will be plenty of time for cynicism later..

This definitely reminds me of something that would be on Everybody Loves Raymond. lol

Yeah, our tooth fairy has forgotten once or twice as well. We have had to make excuses for her - too many kids to visit that night, couldn't find the house, etc. I am all for making the magic last as long as possible. It's all so much fun!

My daughter just freaked me out & it made me think of this entry...

I grew up Catholic, so we celebrate St. Nicholas' Day. (I think there's a cool story behind it & it's fun to have suprises throughout the month, religion aside...) This morning, we were sitting here playing with her St. Nick toys & she said I'm so glad you got these toys for me, I loooove them. I blinked, then said Isn't it fun to get stuff from St. Nick? She just stopped and looked at me with this look that was kind of amused/disgusted, then looked away. Then minutes later, she began covering me with kisses saying thaaaank you for the toys...crap! Darn smart 3 year olds! I even read a book to her about it & did a craft. Grrrr.

Its really fun, Its fairy story surrounding around the tooth. There is a possibility that kids think this may be really true, they will be getting money..

Its the parents responsibility to teach this in a funny way and avoid fantasies

Thanks.
Lucy

I forgot to be tooth fairy once when my son was 5. I forgot for a whole week because he lost the tooth on a weekend and I thought he had taken it to his Dad's house (we were separated). When he finally said something to me I told him that the tooth fairy is only one person and has to collect teeth from kids all over the world and sometime he is very busy. I convinced my son to "sell" his tooth to me for a dollar and I would leave it for the tooth fairy. That worked so well that he has "sold" me every tooth since then.

Yeah, the toothfairy at our house has had to keep banker's hours on occaision. If you lose a tooth after 5 pm or so, the tooth fairy is already beginning her route for the night and can't get to you until the next day. Kind of like making your bank deposit after 2 pm. Oh, the little "mommy lies" we tell...

We used to give silver dollars for lost teeth. I forgot a couple of times, and had to run out looking for them at gas stations closest to the house. Amazingly, I always managed to find one when I needed it! Eventually I wised up and bought a handful at the bank so they'd be there when we needed them.

A couple of months ago when Son #3 moved out I had to look for something in his room. I opened a dresser drawer, and saw about six of the silver dollars he'd received. It made me feel good that they meant something to him.

Kids around here were getting 10 and 20 bucks for one tooth and I was like oh hells no that's not happening at my house. So, I bought some fingernail polish that was just plain glitter. We've used a dollar once and 4 quarters another but we paint them with that plain glitter nail polish and although his buddies get $20, he gets a dollar with fairy dust on it...he is good to go....for how long? I don't know, but for now, he doesn't seem to mind.

Dana,

When my wife and I realized it was time to tell our oldest about Santa, we created a very special method to tell her.

Just last year I published an illustrated poem that's based on the same way we told our children, empowering them in their faith and making a strong connection with the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus.

May I send you a free copy for your review? My hope is that you will like it and will then write about it so others can purchase a copy.

Please send me your U.S. mailing address to chrisfig58@gmail.com.

You can read more about the book at www.kristinandthesantasecret.com. We even have a Facebook page dedicated to the book.

Peace and blessings,

Christopher Fenoglio
Nashville, TN

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