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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, And Other Lies We Tell Our Children

Sassy Girl has been losing teeth like crazy lately. With all these teeth falling out of her head the topic of the Tooth Fairy has been fairly common in our house. In our home, when the Tooth Fairy comes, we leave a cup with the tooth in it and the Tooth Fairy magically fills the cup up with a liquid that is the same color as whatever dress she decided to wear while out "Toothing".  The incredible powers of food coloring and water.

While playing the part of the Tooth Fairy the other night I began to feel a bit conflicted. I mean, I am all for contributing to wonders and magic of childhood...but I'm starting to feel like I am going to  great lengths in order to lie to my children. Magical, wondrous, magnificent lying.

Little Dude asked me with his big innocent eyes where the Tooth Fairy lives. Caught off guard, I struggled to come up with a decent answer. Like most lies that usually develop extremities over the course of the telling, I began weaving a tale of Tooth Island in a land far far away. Now, I am an awful liar as it is. Never tell me about a surprise party because I will find some way to ruin it as a surprise. So, while I was babbling on and on about Tooth freaking Island, I looked at my child who was hanging onto my every word, and I immediately felt guilty.  Why is this okay? Because it's accepted as a norm in society? We try and teach our kids to always tell the truth and the difference between pretend and reality, but here we are completely contradicting the values we are trying to instill in our children. 

I know. I think I'm going a bit overboard over analyzing the whole situation, since people have been playing into the whole Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Santa Claus gig for many generations and I don't think any child is still holding any grudges against their parents for it. Or maybe they are. Who knows. Maybe somewhere right now there is a 45 year old man in a psychiatrist's office describing flashbacks of the day he found out the Easter Bunny wasn't real. Think about that. 

Christmas is probably the most extreme for all the families that endorse the whole Santa Claus brand. Suddenly it's like all the children are in a twisted Christmas special of "The Truman Show." We tell the stories and go out for drives to look for Rudolph's nose, (radio tower lights work great for the young ones). We bake cookies for an imaginary fellow and take bites of the cookies for "proof". We write letters and the post office gets in on the gag and writes responses. We let our kids sit on some strange dude's lap and take pictures, even if they are crying. We buy things on clearance for Christmas presents and distract our kids briefly so we can hide the present underneath a stack of coats. We hush the older children and threaten them if they even think about ruining everything for their younger siblings. I mean, holy crap people. We are kind of overdoing it when you really think about it. 

I don't know. I'll probably continue with the lie until the children really start questioning me, I guess. If I get a flat out, "Is *fill in the blank* real?" then I'm gonna have to be real with them, because I'd rather I was the one to tell them I've been lying to them all this time then someone else! I can let them down easier, and make myself look a little better in this whole mess of childhood dream tweaking.   

Anyway, I wish I could fess up about the Tooth Fairy sometime in the near future. At a buck a pop, this Fairy may be posting a foreclosure sign on the grounds of Tooth Island if any more teeth fall out my kid's mouth. 


  1. Leia my Mom is a well grounded human being and yet she loved to create a world of fantasy and imagination for her children when we were little. We believed in Santa, the tooth mouse (South African version) and fairy gardens. I in no way ever felt angry with my Mom for lying to me rather I am grateful for the wonderful world of imagination that she created. I did the same with my children and they have no resentment. The world is harsh enough a bit of fun make believe I truly believe is harmless.

  2. Oh I know, it just seems so darn contradicting that's all! Trust me. This post is all in good fun, as I have no intentions of taking Christmas away! I know I was never angry at my mom either, but I DO recall being completely crushed when I found out there was no Santa Claus. It was like a piece of my childhood was gone and I was just trying to hang onto it. Granted I was like 9 and it was time to grow up a bit, but still! :)