My husband warned me not to let my boys watch a particular episode of Modern Family. It was about the Tooth Fairy and how Lily, Mitch and Cam’s 5-year-old, was accidentally given a $100 bill by the Tooth Fairy. $100 that Mitch and Cam wanted to take back, but at the same time not ruin Lily’s childhood by giving away the real story about the Tooth Fairy.
I was pretty confident that my 7 and 9-year-old boys didn’t believe anyway. When I asked them my older son his eyes got big and he motioned to my 7-year-old and mouthed, “Nooooo.” My younger son caught on and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You and dad are the Tooth Fairy. Who would believe in the Tooth Fairy?”
This went on to quite an excellent conversation. He said that the story of the Tooth Fairy is ridiculous. Where is she getting all of that money? Why do some kids get a quarter per tooth and others $5 (these parents are ruining it for everyone!)? And how does she get from place to place? It’s not like she has reindeer.
So reindeer makes perfect sense? Both boys said yes because flying reindeer can easily get all the way around the world. How is she going to fly with those wings?
I think they were trying to be as convincing as possible about believing in Santa. Santa provides big bank, unlike the Tooth Fairy’s dollar here and there that they can earn in a week by doing their chores. Santa is awesome and brings Legos. Santa is the motherlode of childhood fantasy. The Tooth Fairy is a bit character that they can easily grow out of and move past.
Months later after we agreed that the Tooth Fairy was a parent-made aberration, we went to the dentist. The dentist told my younger son he had to eat a lot of carrots and apples to get two of his front teeth out or else she would have to pull them. The adult teeth were growing in behind and had nowhere to go.
After weighing his options, he ate his carrots at dinner and the next day pulled one of his loose teeth out himself. The other took a little more work, but he was able to get that out, too.
“I’m going to put them under my pillow so the Tooth Fairy comes and gives me money.” Whoa, I said, “You don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy.” I tried to jog his memory with the part about the Tooth Fairy being a ridiculous story.
No, not ridiculous. She’s so real and “she owes me $4” for the two teeth. Of course I knew that he didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy and that he wanted me to give him $4. I thought about how my boys are growing up and it was time to let go of childhood fantasies that result in me giving them money. Then I remembered that by pulling out his own teeth he saved us hundreds of dollars.
In the end, I put the money under his pillow. That morning he said, “Look at what the Tooth Fairy brought me.”
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