Friday, February 18, 2005

A VERY Close Call...

My daughter, Thing One, recently turned seven. Thanks to my careful planning and seeming evidences of "proof" she still believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and lastly, The Tooth Fairy.
We had an extremely close call with the latter this morning. Thing One lost a tooth last night (my hubby usually does the pulling, but he's out of town so I got the honor) and my daughter excitedly put her tooth in the pocket of her "Tooth Pillow" and hung it by the door for easy access.
Now before you roll your eyes and fault me for letting her still believe, I assure you I have every intention of telling her the truth eventually. I figured once she lost all her teeth, we'd break the tragic news. Because once we do that, then the existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny will definitely come into question, and that thought terrifies me. I am like a She Bear, fiercely protecting the innocence of my little ones.
That said, I have to admit I BIG TIME screwed up last night. I worked on my novel into the wee hours of the morning, and collapsed into bed exhausted.
My daughter came into my room at 6:30 this morning, and sat on my bed, dumbstruck.
"Mom, the Tooth Fairy didn't come," she said dejectedly, and I instantly went into Panic Mode.

I had forgotten to do my Tooth Fairy Duties.

This never happens to me. I always remember. I didn't know what to say, so I said "she didn't?" and we went and inspected and of course the tooth was still there. I felt like absolute crap. In fact, looking at her sad eyes, I was actually thisclose to telling her that it was all a sham. But then I remember how my own mother broke it to me, so rudely and finally, by bringing out a small box and making me open it, and I stared, shell-shocked into the contents of the box. All the teeth I'd ever lost were in there, and I looked at Mom, and looked at the teeth, and I asked the question, and her answer was "no." Then I knew. I knew that the magic wasn't real and I was growing up. It was a traumatic moment, and one I'll never forget. Sort of like how people never forget what they were doing and where they were when Kennedy got shot.

I don't think I"m ready for my little girl to experience a letdown like that yet, so I asked her to go down and take the dog potty, and while she was outside I ran like the wind and stuck a few dollars in the pocket and took the tooth, and timed it so that I was still toasting bagels when she walked in, just like I'd been doing when she walked out. Then I told her to go get dressed before breakfast. She found the money, then she rationalized that she might have woken up a couple of times during the night and scared the Tooth Fairy off (since she can't be seen) and I had to laugh at the image of a puffy-eyed, sluggish Tooth Fairy, waiting patiently in a closet for the child to leave so she could do her last deed for the night, and retire to her little house somewhere in the stars.
The Magic is safe for now, but I know the time will be soon.
I'm really, really dreading that day.


Devon Ellington said...

Whenever one of my numerous godchildren came crying to me that they found out there was no Santa Claus, my explanation was this:

"Of course Santa Claus exists. That's how we personify the spirit of giving. We are ALL Santa Claus. It's just easier to think of him as being someone separate who rushes around on a very busy night."

That usually works.

The joy of being a Godmother -- I get to handle all the Magic talks and all the Sex talks -- my friends always blush and hand their kids to me when something like that comes up!

Michelle Miles said...

It's hard to let our kids grow up, isn't it? Good for you for keeping the magic safe. They will always remember that about their mom. :)