Saturday, March 15, 2008


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. 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.


Kristabel said...

Damn! But you know..Spence was right...he already knew. Logic begins to creep in somewhere along the way at his age, although those kids didn't help.

Those kids were the ones that gave me some chewing tobacco when I was 10 - and I swallowed it. (It was Fortuna after all.)

This was a funny post, but my heart tugs for you. Those days of unquestioned magic are certainly the sweetest.

Anonymous said...

I lived on a ranch when I was a kid, and all of my aunts and uncles and all of their kids lived within 200 yards of each other. With all the kids playing and living that close, we all discovered at a tender young age that Santa wasn’t really real. We learned that the Easter Bunny that hid the Eggs was my Uncle; he still hides the Easter eggs today. We learned that the tooth fairy was Mom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we really weren’t fooled by that make-believe stuff. We weren’t fooled long enough to be disappointed by finding the truth. So, we were really quite mature as children.

But, some things that are important to know are just not discussed. So you can imagine my anguish at learning that Mickey Mouse was not real. I was totally broken hearted, it was like my best friend had just died when I found out that he wasn’t real. All the other kids knew about it but they hadn’t told me. It was terrible. I’m still scared today from the trauma of finding out about the truth. People can just be so cruel!

Anonymous said...

I don't know anyone's religious background here and I did it too, but at this point I can't help but wonder if the lies we all heard as children and tell our children are in some way responsible for adults who can suspend disbelief on issues of much greater importance. Like the building blocks of "faith." Does wanting a child to experience the thrill of the magical hamper their ability to reason as adults? Given what we know about mental development today, I suspect it does. I guess if you want your children to grow into adults who don't question authority, religious or secular, the answer won't matter to you. Just food for thought on a Sunday morning.

beachcomber said...

I believe those kids are the spawn of those parents who take the easy way out of holidays. They don't want to have to DEAL with the sneaking and hiding so just tell their kids. I think by playing the game, we allow our kids to believe in something they can't see. When my kids asked about Santa (as they inevitably do) and why there was one at the mall and one ringing a bell at Sear and another at Target....just as you did I told them that Santa can't be everywhere so has helpers and you never know which might be the real one. That allowed for the eventual explanation of Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc are "spirits" of their respective seasons and reminders to be nice and have fun.

Yeah, I know, yadda yadda yadda. Handled right, it will be a fun and positive thing that kids share with their own kids. Handled poorly, the kids will grow up to be butts like their lazy parents who broke the news too soon and spoil every else's fun.

I remember after my dad passed away, my sister snuck into my mom's house before Midnight mass and filled her stocking which was my dad's job. I think my Mom believed again just for alittle bit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Keri,

I loved your latest Blog. You know, those times were the best; when UT put footprints by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, when the Easter bunny showed up with tons of candy, and when..yes, of course, when the tooth fairy left a few coins under the pillow. It is all part of growing up and I know that K and C were the same as us. We just loved you kids so much and wanted "fun" to be a huge part of your life. Sure, you probably all knew it was us, but I thank each of you: You, and K and K and T for humoring us. Of course you all knew, but it is all part of being a kid with parents who care.

Hugs, AF

Anonymous said...

Who would have thunk it??

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy are all Karl Rove enablers..

Jane, put down the bong and step away from the keyboard until your head clears.

Keri said...

Yeah, I guess knowing the truth doesn't totally take the magic away.

I would like to see some defense attorney try to use the old "his parent's lied to him about the easter bunny" defense in a murder trial. Somehow I don't think that would work so I'm not to concerned about scarring him with disbelief.

And by the way AF, I did believe for quite a while so thanks to you and UT and mom and dad for playing along.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't referring to just secular authority or just modern times. Believing in myths isn't just for children you know. But nevermind, everyone can't grasp the same things.

Kristabel said...

I hear you Jane, and I do agree with you to a certain extent.

Speaking strictly about myself...I think the things that were drilled into my young brain at church were far more detrimental to my development than the tooth fairy, etc.

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly Kristabel. BUT.. I think it is easier to get children to believe in Santa or a toothfairy with tangible evidence (presents and money) than in a god they can't see and conditions them to believe other myths that society won't discourage. Most people would probably say that is a good thing.

Kristabel said...

I don't know...I think when I found out that santa/fairy/bunny didn't exist I knew from then on that I couldn't trust anyone - especially those in authority- to tell me the truth. :)

Anonymous said...

Jane, this iconoclast stuff is all well and good up to the point where you start picking on Santa, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy..

Anonymous said...

That is probably true of most atheists, Kristabel. However, if the polls can be believed, most of us didn't make that connection.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry 11:01. But you know how us skeptics are, no icon is safe.

robash141 said...

When I discovered around 7 years old that the tooth fairy was in fact Mom, I just played along because I wanted to keep getting the money .

Anonymous said...

Good for you, robash141!

Anonymous said...

Sista, you crack me up. :-) A just lost her first tooth and I'm thinking I may take tooth fairy notes from someone else... hee hee! :-)