Ethan lost his 3rd tooth this afternoon. When he came home from school, he was able to push it with his tongue so that it was almost horizontal. After gagging, I told him he should just pull it out like he did with his first two teeth using dental floss and force. But this one he said he wanted to “work on” and just let happen. Oh, joy. I mentally prepped myself for days of the gag reflex. I don’t know why he wanted a different approach. Maybe it’s because it was his first top front tooth (which he had tried telling me a few days ago that you get more money for because it’s bigger). He then told me that while eating lunch at school he accidentally pushed it looser. “There was lots of blood. I just stopped it with a napkin.” That explained the two dried blood drops on his shirt. The stained shirt was easier to take since it meant one less gag for me.
While he and Connor were sitting together playing on my iPhone before dinner, he jumped up and announced that his tooth came out after some simple twisting. Hooray. Now he can eat with ease and my earlier prepping was all for naught. I gave him a little bag to put it in and he proudly showed his Daddy that evening. He carefully placed it under his pillow and said he hoped the tooth fairy brought him something. That vocalized sentiment stoked the mom-guilt. I put a reminder on my phone: 10pm Tooth Fairy Duties. (Ironically, it just went off.)
Why the reminder? With tooth #2, I totally forgot! I woke up and then panicked. I tried to slip in the money ever so slyly while the boys were playing in their pajamas. Then I told Ethan to check his pillow for the tooth fairy. Without even looking up from his play, he flatly told me that he had already looked and there wasn’t anything there. Ouch. Big stoking. I suggested he look again. For some reason, he did and was excitedly happy with the results. I wondered if I’d have to come up with some plausible explanation for the delayed delivery, but the pleased kid was not at all concerned about the logistics now that he had four shiny quarters.
Relief coupled with wondering if he really knew the truth deep down inside. Or wanted to believe the myth so much that he couldn’t care less how many loopholes his incompetent Mommy left in the open. Every time I put presents under the Christmas tree and now money under the pillow, I wonder why do we do these things? Why do we lie to our kids? I remember the first Christmas we did the whole Santa thing, I had a major ethical dilemma about it. Is it not strange that so many parents essentially tell bold-faced lies to their kids and take efforts to support those falsehoods to build up the tales until one day their offspring are completely crushed, disillusioned and faced with the reality that none of those things were true but their trusted parents made them believe them anyways?
Bah, humbug, yes, I’m giving coal as presents this year. No, I get it. It’s fun. They love the stories and the traditions. Their imaginations are alive and active and don’t have to work as hard as mine to get there. They experience a bit of magic. It’s why people love magicians. Really, they are illusionists. We know no one is really getting sawed in half, but it sure is fascinating to think they might be. It stretches us beyond the mundane every day. It takes us to what could be even if we need help getting there. Like the Polar Express story insinuates, most of us lose this in adulthood. We learn Santa is fake, there is no tooth fairy, and the world is a cruel, hard place. That is the truth. No getting around it. But some of us still love the magic. Enjoying that is a gift.
Here in the “Land of Enchantment” there is the promise of magic. I find myself so far into Scrooge’s adulthood that it sometimes hinders my ability to believe. Mike has jumped right in with floss and force. He is loving work. He just signed up for Sandia’s softball league. Ethan is the 2nd tooth and after a little work, he is excited about school and scootering with the cactus and mountains. Connor, is, well, Connor…attached to my hip and sucking his thumb. We, he and I, will need to be “worked on.” It may be a gross and messy process, but it will happen in time. That I firmly believe without a single bah-humbug doubt. In the meantime, I’m ending this so I can put four shiny quarters under my son’s pillow.