The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?
This is a great question, one I have been pondering for quite some time actually. I will be the first to admit that the single, childless me may have frowned upon setting the wee ones up for a disappointment. However, the married mother of a 3-year-old me found herself asking “Why can’t Santa make an appearance during all 4 seasons?” Santa threats are what mothers consider…. Leverage.
Oh, put your judgments away folks. I don’t care what anyone says, there is NO and I repeat NO negotiating with a 3-year-old who made the executive decision to let you know in a big way, that they no longer want to be shopping with you and NOTHING gets them out of their human plank position in the middle of the Mall faster than those 2 glorious words…Santa’s Watching.
Personally, I was never a fan of the Easter Bunny. The thought of a giant rodent coming into our house really didn’t bring on the warm & fuzzies, it sort of just scared the crap out of me. I never elaborated on his existence, probably due to my own phobias about that big ugly impersonator they have at the mall. If you ever need a good photo of a frightened child, just spend a few minutes at that display. I don’t find this one fun, harmless or a useful parenting tool…it’s just weird & scary.
Ah, my girl the Tooth Fairy, now this little lady rocks. I love the concept of a little fairy bringing cash in the middle of the night. Sadly she only works for teeth. I know when I was a kid I couldn’t wait to wake up to a nice shiny quarter or dime under my pillow. However, just this week I heard she is handing out an average of $2.50 per tooth. Makes one want to consider some extractions now doesn’t it? It’s 80.00 for a set of chops in case you were digging out the calculator.
My FAVORITE Tooth Fairy story is when I broke the news to my son. He was sitting in the back of the car, drilling me as if I were on trial, about the whereabouts of the Tooth Fairy. My daughter, who is just about 2 years older, let out a “Mom, just tell him!” Lord knows that’s all curious George had to hear before the “Tell me mom” chant entered the vehicle. This kid is notorious for wearing down the strongest pillars of parental strength with his piercing repetitive chanting. So, I broke the news that I was in fact the Tooth Fairy. Immediate silence came over the car.
Ugh, I felt so bad looking at his little face in the rearview mirror. He was so cute with his little glasses and toothless grin that my heart was just melting. Finally I asked “Are you ok Zac you’re awfully quiet back there?” I NEVER saw this coming …”I’m ok mom, I can’t wait to tell my friends that you work, you make the best cookies in the whole world and YOU’RE THE TOOTH FAIRY!” Needless to say we had to take our conversation a tad further until it all sunk into that cute little head. He was actually relieved I wasn’t going into strange homes.
Now back to the question on hand. The only real problem I have with this “lying” is it doesn’t last too long today. Parents don’t get nearly as much mileage out of the farce as their parents did. Kids today are hip. I was so gullible believing well into 7th grade, so breaking the grim “There is no Santa, Giant Rodent or Fairy” news to a 13 year-old really wasn’t a big deal. Parents today are discussing drugs, alcohol & sex to their 13 year olds. Which to me is a much bigger deal!
Lying about fun and harmless fiction is not an issue, however lying about your child’s age to open a Facebook account is. The legal age is 13! Children today are already lacking a childhood, or my definition of one anyway, so lets hang on to what we can these days. We already have technology & academic pressure pushing the fantasy of childhood right out the door as it is, so if telling a few tales to ignite some good old imagination, I say bring it on. There’s plenty of time to be grown-up…let kids be kids and Enjoy the Ride! (In the slow lane)