My Eldest, now a teenager, is a sensitive and dreamy kid, always with his nose in a book, and generally more interested in the imaginary than the real world. In contrast, my Middle Boy (MB) has his feet firmly on the ground and his head very much out of the clouds. He’s very curious, adventurous, and, at the ripe old age of 7, first and foremost a little realist. He has propensity for science, forming hypotheses, discovering, pulling apart, digging through all the stuff. He’s impossible to hide anything from (especially candy) and he’s absolutely relentless when he has his mind set on something.
That’s why it’s so endearing to see how passionately he has been holding on to the myths of Santa and (especially) the Tooth Fairy. While neither DH nor I are particularly gifted in the stealth department, we are trying our best not to burst his bubble entirely until he’s ready. Over the past couple of years, MB would look at us suspiciously on Christmas morning and ask if Santa was real. We would respond with “What do you think?” and he would say he thought Santa was real, to which we’d say “Well, there you go,” and we’d all happily leave it at that.
MB has lost several of his baby teeth, and each tooth loss is a major event, accompanied by excitement and anticipation of the Tooth Fairy visit. He gets very upset whenever one of his friends tells him the Tooth Fairy isn’t real. I am usually successful at playing the Tooth Fairy; I sneak in after he’s asleep, take the tooth and leave a bit of money and a small toy or some candy. Still, I almost had my cover blown not once but twice, but my inquisitive little boy, who misses nothing, was beyond forgiving in the face of ample evidence of parental involvement. He really, really wants to keep on believing that the Tooth Fairy is real.
A few teeth ago, I simply forgot my TF duties. I usually put the goodies under his pillow when I am on my way to bed, this one time I just forgot, I am not sure why, I might have been really tired or just distracted. The following morning, MB was up earlier than usual, absolutely devastated that the Tooth Fairy hadn’t come. In what I like to think of as a brilliant display of natural improv ability, I matter-of-factly picked up the phone and called the Tooth Fairy Headquarters to ask what had happened, and that there had been a tooth there all night but it hadn’t been picked up, and that I now had a very disappointed little boy on my hands. The HQ told me that the Tooth Fairy had an unusually busy night and was running late, but that she would be there shortly and that he should just stay put and check back around his usual wake-up time. My little boy’s eyes were wide with awe and anticipation, while the Eldest, whose school starts early and who was finishing breakfast during my call to Tooth Fairy HQ, was in real danger of choking on his food while semi-successfully muffling the laughter. Needless to say, the Tooth Fairy was eventually able to retrieve the tooth and leave some goodies in the time that elapsed between the HQ call and MB making his way back to the room after having visiting the bathroom. Us Tooth Fairies sometimes have very tiny windows of opportunity to do our jobs.
A more recent adventure started with MB waking me up at 2:30 am to ask me to help him pull his tooth. I sleepily yanked it a little, proclaimed it wasn’t ready yet, and hoped we would all go back to sleep. But, 5 min later, MB came back excitedly to show me that he had indeed managed to pull it out, so I had to get up to help him rinse it and prep it for the Tooth Fairy. As you can see, my normal Tooth Fairy routine was disturbed, as I had no intention of waiting another half hour in the middle of the night until he fell asleep, and was planning on just doing my job in the morning, in the hour between my and his wake-up times. Alas, it’s summer so it’s really bright in his room at 6:30; he was thus sleeping even lighter than usual and woke up as soon as I tried to peak into his room, looked under his pillow, and was again disappointed. This time I told him to just go back to bed, that the TF definitely didn’t have enough time to do her job since he’d only pulled the tooth out in the middle of the night. About 10 minutes later, I came back; I put the goodies under his pillow, quickly took out his tooth, the hardwood floor creaked, and I tossed the baggie with his tooth out of the room and into the hallway just in time for him to turn around and see me supposedly trying to turn on the fan in his room. He asked if I was the TF and I said “Oh, I am just here to turn on the fan, it’s really hot in here,” and he took it! He found the baggie with a dollar bill, a marker (one of the felt-tips that I use for grading), and a couple of Skittles (don’t judge, the TF had to scramble), and he happily hopped downstairs to show the loot to his big brother.
Later in the day, I found that he had used the marker to write on the bill “To: MB; From: Tooth Fairy”. The Tooth Fairy’s heart melted a little.