Mothering Monday: The Tooth Fairy

Recently, while play-wrestling on the couch, my 7-year-old’s tooth went flying out.  Despite searching through the cushions, under the couch, chair and coffee table and around the carpet, the tooth was not to be found.  Afraid that this disqualified him from a Tooth Fairy visit, he started to get upset.  We quickly comforted him, letting him know that he can leave a note under his pillow instead.  So he did.  And all was OK in his world.

This reminded me of the Tooth Fairy ordeal we had a year ago after he lost his first tooth and an article I wrote at that time for my MOPS newsletter…

“Dear Tooth Fairy, The tooth is in the mailbox.  Please don’t come in the house.  Thanks.”  A couple of weeks ago, that was posted on our front door.  My middle child lost his first tooth.  We were excited for him and brushed off his apprehensive comments throughout the day about the tooth fairy.  Then at about 8:30 the drama began.

As we were getting ready to put the tooth under the pillow, the questions began firing:  What if I’m awake when he comes (apparently our tooth fairy is a he)?  What if I have to go to the bathroom?  What if it wakes me up when he reaches under my pillow?  How big is he?  Do I have to put the tooth under my pillow…

Sensing his brother’s anxiety, my youngest joined in, “I don’t want that tooth fairy in my house!”  None of my answers appeased them.  And the questions quickly turned into full-blown tears about this strange tooth fairy.  My husband, Jeff, had run to the store and wasn’t home.  My oldest child was trying to console them with no luck.  I called my sister and their husband, who they idolize, in the hopes that encouragement from them would calm my boys down – it didn’t.

 Looking at them, I realized I needed to make a choice – find a way to make this OK for them, or tell them the truth and take away the tooth fairy for both of them with this very first tooth.  The easy way would be to just tell them the truth.  And probably a lot of psychologists, parenting experts, and friends would tell me that’s what I should have done.  But instead, I let my creative side flow…

“Well you see boys, tooth fairies are not allowed in your house unless you invite them in.  When you put your tooth under the pillow that is an invitation.  The tooth fairy is not bad and would never hurt you, but he also doesn’t want to scare you.  So let’s put your tooth in the mailbox and leave a note on the door for him.”  The crying slowed and through the remaining sniffles, he smiled at me and said, “OK.”

The boys peacefully went to bed.  I pondered the events.  Did I do the right thing?  I don’t know.  (But he did wake up awfully excited to check the mailbox.)  I have been a mom for almost 10 (since writing this 11) years now, and I know that I’m not an expert.  However, the longer I’ve been a mom the more I realize that most situations don’t have a blanket correct answer for all.  Rather you know your children and you through trial and error figure out what works best for them… and sometimes you have to be a little bit creative!

Becki , imperfect Mom



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