The Tooth Fairy was the latest casualty in our household.
Now, I have a love-hate relationship with the Tooth Fairy. There was the time the Tooth Fairy fell asleep, and the time the Tooth Fairy got played. I have long felt as if the Tooth Fairy was the least believable of the Childhood Magic Crew (CMC). I mean, why would she want a tooth in the first place? And why are teeth so valuable? Is she recycling them somehow, and giving them to other children in need? Planting them in the backyard and growing humanoid creatures to do her bidding? It’s best not to think on her motives too deeply.
I was tired of the charade. My kids are getting a little old. I don’t want them to actually believe in the CMC anymore—I feel as if they’ve outgrown the concept—but I don’t mind them playing along with a wink. But that’s not exactly how it went this week.
The 11-year-old lost a tooth. For those unfamiliar with the tooth losing patterns of childhood, they lose a bunch, then go for long spans without losing another. When 11 got a wiggly tooth, he found it annoying. I couldn’t tell if he was also a little excited about it in that Christmas is Coming sort of way. (Not that the Tooth Fairy gives much in the way of cash in our house, but still.) Mostly he just wanted it out so he could move on with eating crunchy things.
Unfortunately, dodge ball didn’t do the trick. Neither did baseball, basketball, or any of the –ball words. Biting into a slab of chocolate in the car worked nicely, but when he got out of the car, he instantly dropped the tooth in the driveway, and although we half-heartedly looked for a while, it was never found again. (There are apparently a lot of tooth-sized whitish pebbles in our driveway.)
That night he went to his father’s, so the Tooth Fairy or No Tooth Fairy debate was out of my hands. Mostly.
His father chose not to do any sort of Tooth Fairying. No judgement—the kid is on the cusp between big and little—but it put it back in my lap.
Me: So Daddy didn’t do any Tooth Fairy thing?
11: He just handed me cash.
Me: Do you still believe in the Tooth Fairy?
11: I don’t know. I haven’t lost a tooth in a couple of years. I haven’t thought about it.
I retreated. Did I let him grow up, or did I encourage the charade? Did we need to continue the magic for his nine-year-old brother? I love magic. I am tired of playing Tooth Fairy.
I went outside and discussed it with my SigO. We hemmed and hawed. Surely, he must know the Tooth Fairy isn’t real. Certainly, he wants cash, which his father already provided. We looked for the tooth again slightly more than half-heartedly, but not full-heartedly because it was raining after all. Once again, we couldn’t find it.
I went back inside and dragged 11’s attention away from his Chromebook for another discussion.
Me: I looked for the tooth again, and couldn’t find it. We could draw a picture of the tooth if you want.
11: It’s okay, Dad gave me money.
I didn’t pursue it further.
This morning I woke up and wondered if I should have preserved the magic with a wink “for his little brother” who is not actually so little anymore, either.
But I didn’t want to start a Tooth Fairy multiple household tradition for the rest of the baby teeth in the household.
But I want to let him grow up.
But I rarely have small bills in my wallet.
But my house is slightly less magical than it was last week.
I guess I wasn’t quite as ready to give up on it as he was.