Last night I enjoyed one of those moments of fatherhood I never thought about before we had kids: pulling teeth. Twice now I’ve gotten some dental floss from the cabinet, tied a knot around a loose tooth, and pulled, to reveal a bloodless tiny kernel of dentition in a tangle of nylon twine. AJ has now lost his front two lower teeth, and he’s already got the tips of the new one poking through the gum-line. (Those were the easy teeth. I worry about the others now.)
Before Jennifer and I married, we discussed what we would do about Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and other childhood stories. I was adamant: no myths. No lies. No Santa.
No. Tooth. Fairy.
I would not lie to my children for the sake of entertainment or shielding them from the uncomfortable truths of life. There is no grab-bag toting, velour-sporting grandpa dumping presents under the tree. These gifts come out of the hard-earned cash in my wallet! There is no winged woman with a wand trading hapless teeth for cash. What would I say when they ask me what she does with the teeth anyhow? What is the Tooth Fairy, some benign sort of Hannibal Lecter collecting discarded body parts for fun and profit?
No. No way am I layering my children’s minds with fanciful lies and fables.
Then we had AJ. And now Elisabeth.
:: sigh ::
Now nearly every night I lay down by my son’s side and what do I do? I spin a yarn. I tell a tale. I fabricate entertaining lies that quiet my child, make his eyes widen, and maybe teach him some truths. I’m a fairy taler. I’ve told stories about flying magical beds, runaway cars with a mind of their own, boys that engineer trains, children who save the space stations from evil pirates. I’ve described little men in UFOs that talk to boys in their bedrooms, children who escape slavering Tyannosarus Rexs, children with special powers, children with handicaps, fears, and phobias.
And yes, we’ve included Santa Claus in our repertoire of fables. And now, the Tooth Fairy.
I’m a great big, fat liar.
Nevertheless, knowing my formerly trenchant opinion on the matter, my bride asked what I thought about a service a friend of hers now offers. She proposed, “How would you feel about spending $8 so a friend of mine could send AJ a customized letter from the Tooth Fairy.” What, you say? Eight bucks for a letter I could very well write myself and send on my way to work? Eight bucks to send my son a letter from a magical being that does not exist (as far as I know) and who, presumably, would not need to use US Postal Service if she did? I’m already out $0.71 for my theft of his tooth from under his pillow last night, and now I’m supposed to seal the deal with another eight Washingtons?
“It’s a new business my friend started up. Give her eight bucks and she’ll write a custom letter to AJ about losing his latest tooth and he’ll love it. She also does Santa Claus, and other characters.”
To send a letter I could send myself?
That got me The Look. You know, the one that says, “Right, like you’re going to stoop to actually writing letters from fairies and sending it in the mail when you haven’t written a letter or licked a stamp in ten years.”
Without a word, she had me there.
So, there you have it. Letters from Fairyland. AJ’s head is going to be so messed up. What’s next? Instant Messages from the Easter Bunny?
By the way, if you’re interested in sending your kid (or some other impressionable minor) a similar character letter, head on over to Donna Rushing’s new enterprise: Duckels Designs Kid’s Mail. You can order custom letters to suit every theological and mythological persuasion including Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, Cupid, the Easter Bunny, a “friendly” Ghost (no poltergeists were harmed in the making of these letters, though, I’m sure), the Tooth Fairy, and a “Friendship Letter.”
Stick around for another 10 years or so and I’ll tell you what effect this has on AJ.
[tags]BlogRodent, kids, bedtime-stories, stories, tooth-fairy[/tags]