I would like to be able to say that I'm in control at all times as a parent. That events, situations and big lectures are all planned and well thought out in advance. I would like to think of myself as the Mrs. Huxtable or Mrs. Cleaver of our little family. I WOULD like to say that but...
Several nights ago my 10 year old lost a tooth. He had long lost the cute little box I had gotten for him to place his treasure in so we had to wing it by using an old wallet. He stuck the bloody yellow nub of a tooth in and gently tucked it under his pillow. "Mom, are you sure the tooth fairy is real?" For the first time I was beginning to see cracks in the foundation of his belief system. In a panic I quickly blurted out, "Yeah, of course. How else does the money get here?" I could tell that that was not going to satisfy him and that he had been thinking about this for a while. "Well, those kids at school say that it's your parents."
Damn "those" kids! I was very familiar with "those" kids. "Those" kids were the ones who told me that Santa was your parents at the tender age of 1st grade. "Those" kids were the ones who convinced me to go ahead and stick my tongue to the frozen swing in the dead of the Wyoming winter. "Those" kids were the ones who always made fun of my habit of biting my lower lip when I was stressed or thinking about a problem. "Those" kids sucked and needed to be whipped.
"Well honey, those kids don't know what they're talking about. Now go to sleep."
Burt had the task of waking up early in the morning and gingerly exchanging the money for the tooth. Every thing went as planned and Spencer seemed satisfied once again. Belief system in tact. Score one for the parents.
Two days later the arrival of a wiggly molar made it's appearance. The same ritual was performed, however, Burt had to leave early for a morning meeting. This left me for the steady handed exchange. No problem. I had been doing this for years. I had the timing down and besides, the boy can sleep through anything.
As I approached the bed I assessed a problem right away. His head was completely tangled in the comforter. Great...now I'll have to use my left hand to gently snake my way through the sheets and dive under the pillow. I'm a righty so the left hand thing was awkward to say the least. Then, the left hand couldn't find the wallet. Had he taken it out to try to trick the tooth fairy? Had it fallen out on it's own? What the ...? BINGO. Found it. I gave a gentle tug but realized that it was directly under his neck. I tugged a little harder. No movement. One more pull and I'll have it.
Just then, with one last grab, Spencer sprang to life. With my cat-like mom reflexes I hid on the side of the bed praying that I wouldn't be seen. Heart in my throat I heard "I KNEW IT!!!!"
" What?!?" is all I could think to say. "Let me see your hands." He replied. We both knew that the game was over. "Those kids were right." he said. ALRIGHT, that did it! Now he went too far. "Sometimes the tooth fairy needs a little help. I mean, she can't be EVERYWHERE in one night can she?"
With his eyes appearing a little older and wiser I knew it would be just a matter of time before Santa, the Easter Bunny and my beloved leprechauns would also die the quick death of childhood truths.
Maybe it was time. I felt pretty lucky that he believed for as long as he did.
But if you happen to see "those" kids. Let them know that me and a bunch of other moms are lookin' for them. Ya know, just to chat.