The End of an Era and the Tooth Fairy

I’m concerned that we’re running out of cool things that we can lie to our kids about.  There used to be all kinds of things we could lie to our kids about.

For example:

“The stork delivered you… in a sheet… that he carries in his mouth.”

“Daddy and Mommy were just wrestling… on the bed… naked.”  Just kidding, I’ve thankfully never had to pull that from the repertoire.

And of course the MOTHER OF ALL LIES…

“Santa Claus brought you all that stuff… in a giant sack… that he carries in a sleigh… with flying reindeer.”

This all came crashing down the other night when my son lost a tooth. Now, granted we had already put on the “life schedule” that this would be the year that we tell the 11 year old son that there really aren’t any fat people in red suits or giant rabbits or leprechauns or fairies or anything of the sort that break into your house and leave you stuff in the middle of the night. In fact, we wanted to be perfectly clear that any people coming into the house in the middle of the night, whether that be through a chimney or a broken window or a busted down door, were likely sordid characters that were much more apt to be taking stuff from the house rather than leaving anything of value.

So our son loses a tooth on Friday evening… and Kim and I are lying in bed and she is doing the usual routine of cutting out a tooth shape from a sheet of paper, signing it in the tooth fairy handwriting (which I have to say looks very similar to the Santa Claus handwriting) and putting it and a couple bucks into a plastic baggie.

ME: And why are we still doing this?

HER: I’ll talk to him this weekend.

I have to say, Mom’s rule the roost when it comes to stuff like this, at least in my family, although I suspect it’s that way in most families. Sometimes I wonder, if I had been a single Dad would my kids have had all the experiences with holidays and birthdays and special events that they’ve had with Mom around doing the vast majority of the work. Or would I have said “look son, I know you’re only three years old, but this whole Santa Claus thing… it’s a ruse, how about you go out and get a job to help pay for all this stuff.”  I guess I probably would have stepped up but it likely wouldn’t have been quite as magical!

Saturday morning arrives and son is a couple bucks richer. Mom pulls him aside… it went something like this.

MOM: Can I talk to you about something?

SON: (probably thinking he’s in trouble): Sure?

MOM: Do you know who the tooth fairy is?

SON: You?

MOM: Yes, do you know who else I am?

SON: Santa Claus… and the Easter Bunny… and the Leprechauns… and…

And that was it. No shock and awe. No tears. No traumatic lifelong psychiatric issues. How long had he really known? When our daughter was told a few years ago at about the same age, there was lots of crying involved… even though, you know what? At a certain age, they know. In the backs of their incredibly intelligent little minds, they know… or at least they suspect. They’re just not ready to doubt anything their parents say… and in the long run, that’s a good trait to have.

As emotional as it can be for parents to move beyond those precious years of childhood innocence, I have to say, we’re ready to take the next step. Actually we’ve already taken the next step… we’re there. Sometimes it feels like taking a step off a cliff, but that’s what a family is all about, finding our way through life’s challenges as a team. I love where my kids are right now, they’re so talented and interesting and independent and funny as they dive deep into adolescence and teenager-hood.  Our daughter will be starting High School in the Fall, our son will be starting Middle School. It’s a big transition year and I am completely confident in their continued ability to stand out and shine.

So, now we’re running out of cool things to lie to our kids about.

My daughter will be learning to drive sometime during the next year or so…

… perhaps I can lie to her about that.


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24 responses to “The End of an Era and the Tooth Fairy

  1. You can still lie about income, adoption, loving the goats more, and pick a favorite child. I have teens and still get hours of fun out of it 🙂

  2. We can send you our kids and you can lie to them… However, my five-year-old does have a pretty good gauge for lying, probably because he does it a lot himself!

    (I always kinda knew, but my sister confirmed it when I was five. We didn’t have a fireplace.)

    • Amazingly both our kids lasted until about 11 yrs old. We don’t have a fireplace either. We do have a chimney that’s connected to a woodstove. Interestingly my kids always had this belief that a guy could get down a chimney through a fireplace but not through the small pipes of a woodstove. Lots of discussion about magic, etc. made that all possible!!!

  3. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much.

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  4. Great post!
    When my daughter found out about the Easter Bunny being me she was upset at first….then asked if I was Santa, the Tooth Fairy etc…..and once I explained everything to her she came over and hugged me and said “You were the best Santa, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny ever mom! That was a LOT of work! I love you”……..awwwww……….*sniff*

  5. I loved every bit of this post. This is good info to know…my son is almost 10 and still believes in all of it. Hopefully he won’t take it so bad once he figures
    it out.

  6. You can lie about girls for a while longer. Tell him they have cooties and syphillis and that he should stay away! Wait, the goal was not therapy, right? I’m guessing big sis had a few words with her younger sib. Younger kids totally know the deal earlier.

  7. Twinkies are bad for you and goats!!! My daughter confessed that she knew about the tooth fairy because one day she’d gone through my drawers and found a box with her teeth in it! Neither of my kids were traumatized by the “truth” and still talk about getting stuff from Santa that they know we can’t/won’t get them and they’re in their 20’s! Sweet of them to be so nice to us about the “lying” stuff. You know what? They still trust us and like us and seem to feel those kinds of “lies” are just a part of childhood and growing up. I wonder if it’s us as parents that mind a bit when they lose that innocent belief because it marks a new chapter and that they are another step closer to flying away…

    • I’ll share a little secret, they don’t really eat Twinkies, that’s just a marketing gimmick. although I’m quite sure they’d eat them if offered. I was actually relieved to have all these things done with but you’re right, still a milestone towards them growing up.

  8. I’ve never actually heard of anybody having to tell their kids…interesting. I come from a fairly hardknocks background, so that may be why.

    When I was still very young (this isn’t a hardknocks story), my uncle dressed up as Santa. I remember *pretending* it was Santa to not hurt his feelings. I figured the real Santa couldn’t make it, so…Hang on…Maybe Santa’s BS? DAMN. That was how I figured it out: a well-meaning uncle screwing it up. Well, he didn’t screw it up but he was still my UNCLE wearing a suit, wig and fake mustache/ beard.

  9. You can still tell them there are such things as government efficiency, military intelligence, freedom of speech, and for your daughter… driving safely.

  10. I forgot one night to put the money under the pillow after my 7 year old daughter had had a bad tooth pulled. I pulled a fast one and got the dollar under her pillow, told her to recheck, but failed to grab the tooth. She asked why the toothfairy didn’t take the tooth. Thinking fast, I told her the toothfairy couldn’t reuse rotten teeth. That’s why she took the teeth and left money. My quick witted nephew heard about this, looks at his mom with wide eyes and says, ‘EWE! I have some old guy’s teeth in my mouth!’ Out of the mouths of babes!

  11. Richard Wiseman

    I told my kids there was a birthday camel and they had to leave malt whisky and chocolate out for her.My thirteen year old son was impressed that I’d managed to get myself some goodies from the whole made up persona thing. He says he’s going for the Friday Frog who delivers take away. I’m very proud of him. My daughter is nine and still believes in all the various event personae, so we have a two tier system which my lovely son is now in on.

  12. I discovered once your older children know something, you’re sunk. My son found out when he was 10 about Santa and the tooth fairy. My daughter, who is two years younger, also found out at the same time. They just can’t wait to spill the beans.

  13. Now you can move on to lying about reality.

  14. He’s 11. Got give him some credit. If you followed the schedule you considered – telling him at 3 – well, that could have been rough.

  15. No, you can’t lie about the driving. Mine is SUPPOSED to be learning, but so far, no luck!

    True enough about whole tooth fairy thing….. so we lie to our kids for years, then expect them to believe us about serious things! 😆

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