Tooth Fairy, Meet Santa Claus

My little girl is growing up. She lost her first tooth yesterday!

After this picture, she promptly lost the tooth again, this time literally. Even Grammy’s thorough sweep of the kitchen floor failed to unearth it. So I gave her a pearl to substitute for the tooth under her pillow. And I suggested lamely (how could I not?) that she write a letter to the Tooth Fairy explaining the reason for the substitution. She laughed.

“Mommy, that would just be writing a letter to you!”

True. I confess that I try no harder to perpetuate belief in the Tooth Fairy than in Santa Claus. I figure it’s enough of a job to teach my children all the true things I want them to know, without adding in false ones that will be found out later.

And sometimes I don’t even succeed at getting across the true stuff. The other day at lunch, Axa said she liked the piano piece I’ve been working on lately (my Mozart sonata). For homeschooling, Tony has been reading them a book about Mozart as a child, so he remarked that the sonata was written by “Wolfie.”

“Oh,” exclaimed Raj delightedly, “that means Wolfie is real!”

Sigh. Yes, Wolfie is real. But really, when I think about it, what about him marks him as any more obviously real than Gluck or Dr. Dolittle or Sebastian and Viola? Are my children under the impression that everything I tell them is a fantasy? I flew into a mini-panic, and today at lunch I decided I needed to revisit the last several hundred years of British history with Axa. “Canute is real,” I told her, “and so so is Ethelred the Unready.”  “Yes, I know,” she responded promptly, “but Poseidon isn’t.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. Well, no, Poseidon isn’t. Even though he did feature at the beginning of her history book, gifting the island of Britannia to his favorite son. I guess I haven’t completely failed at everything. Not quite.

But yeah, I’ll just stick to the facts when it comes to my kids, even if it ends up with them never experiencing the bliss it no doubt must be to believe in Santa. In my experience, it’s at least as magical for us all to give heart-felt gifts to one another, rather than writing greedy wish-lists to an eccentric old man whose entire raison d’être is to gratify our every material desire. I guess I’m a little old-fashioned, but to me a true gift is not an expected reward for being good, but a token of love to be graciously received.

Besides, I’d hate to end up in Ben Kenobi’s shoes . . .

One thought on “Tooth Fairy, Meet Santa Claus

  • December 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Alanna just lost her first tooth last week on the 29! Hard to believe isn’t it?


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