Thursday, December 1, 2011

You Can't Handle the Tooth

Welcome to part II of my deceiving our children series.

Any rookie parent can pull off the Santa thing. It’s an annual event that you spend weeks gearing up for along with everyone else. The application of carrying out such a charade is well established and you just plug yourself into one role and your children into another. “Santa won’t come until you’re asleep and he only comes to good little girls and boys.” Badda boom badda bing. Done.

Hollywood lends a hand cranking out film after film and TV special after TV special. They keep children’s heads spinning with a dizzying array of stories and different versions of how the magic happens. Really you just pick one and go with it.

If you can’t pull off Christmas you should just take your kids back and get a refund (by the way, can someone find out if that’s possible? Just curious.)

The real test of parental fortitude is the perilous and unrelenting molar parade that is the tooth fairy. Although it sounds dainty I’m here to tell you it ain’t for sissies.

Once they hit that magic age it can strike at any moment. And you’ve got to be on your toes for years. Doesn’t matter if you’re tired, sick, busy or distracted; when that tooth pops loose you’ve got to be ready for action.

Unlike Christmas you are on your own. There’s no massive worldwide effort complete with reminders in every store and on every channel. Nope it’s just you versus your own guile.

And don’t expect any help from Hollywood either. Sure the tooth fairy has a cameo now and then but there’s only one full length feature film dedicated to the topic and despite The Rock’s best efforts even he can’t save you when the day (or more appropriately night) of reckoning arrives.

Whether your sweet innocent child comes to you with tooth in hand or you pry it loose from their gaping jaws with a set of pliers; operation incisor has now been activated. Tying a string to it and slamming the door or dropping a toaster is only half the battle; and it’s the easy half.

No your task is, without outside aid or assistance, to remember.

You help your child place the tooth underneath their pillow, hopefully positioning it for easy extraction later. You kiss them goodnight and tell them to sleep tight. Then you settle into your nightly routine. Therein lies the problem. Your nightly routine does not include a stealth recon mission into enemy territory. Nope, you wind down or straighten up; you finish up work or veg out in front of the TV. Then it’s off to bed.

Then in the wee hours of the morning a tiny disappointed person approaches your bed. “The tooth fairy didn’t come last night.” Horror and shame washes over you. How could you forget? You are in it now. You have no choice but to lie (and by "lie" I mean lie more). You try to comfort the child with fabricated stories of the perilous lives of tooth fairies. Maybe there was a blizzard in tooth fairy land or maybe the tooth fairy was trapped by the neighbor’s dog and couldn’t make it. Maybe the tooth fairy called in sick.

At first the tender hearted innocent fruit of your loins accepts your canard, but then comes the questions. “What’s tooth fairy land like?” Of course you don’t have an immediate response to this out of the blue question. Seeking satisfaction your child pens a letter to the tooth fairy and places it under their pillow with the forgotten tooth.

This time, motivated by guilt, you do not forget. You replace the tooth with money and reply to the child’s note with a simple story of a magic land with tooth shaped buildings and pray they don’t recognize that the tooth fairy and Santa have identical hand writing.

Now’s where the tangled web you’ve woven becomes suffocating. Their younger sibling is delighted by this reply and decides they too will compose a letter to the tooth fairy at their next de-toothing. Only this time they go a step further and ask for a picture of you, the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy, you, replies back that you, the tooth fairy (Which is, again, you…wait I’m confused. Where were we? Oh yes, the tooth fairy), don’t have a picture but will gladly draw one. You, the tooth fairy, sketch a tinkle bell like picture and replace the note with a monetary token for the lost tooth.

Seeking to head off any further written correspondence you, the parent, explain to your children that they ought not to bother the tooth fairy, you, with letters because they are busy and might miss other girls and boys if they take time to respond to your note. Shameless

So that is settled and all is right with the world until that blurry eyed child wanders into your room again, lower lip protruding, mournfully exclaiming “The tooth fairy didn’t come last night”.

Without hesitation you reply, “Sweetie, that’s because it’s Cusp of Carabelli Day. It’s a tooth fairy holiday.”

You’re a monster

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