I’ve been lying to my children for years.
It’s a tradition passed down for generations in my family and I’m happy to report that I’m doing my part to keep that tradition alive and well. But is it good for me to continue to deceive them? I find that the stories I’ve had to spin are growing into this monstrous web that will eventually trap me along with my little “flies”.
And to think it all began with a lost tooth.
Lie No. 1: The existence of the Tooth Fairy
When E lost his first tooth, I paid a visit to the bank. It wasn’t enough that the Tooth Fairy leave him cash, oh no, I had to get creative. I bought $20 worth of gold Sacagawea dollar coins because the Tooth Fairy should leave something special.
Lie No. 2: Tooth Fairy leaves gold coins.
I didn’t consider that E would share notes with the little toothless girl next door and figure out that compared to the $5 she was hauling in per tooth, he got gypped. Gold coin or not, it was only worth a dollar. What was this Tooth Fairy trying to pull anyway?
Lie No. 3: The Tooth Fairy will short you if she runs out of cash.
I tried to explain that sometimes, the Tooth Fairy runs out of paper money and has to revert back to the gold coins from the olden days. E looked a little skeptical, but I’m Mom, and therefore the authority on all that is unknown.
Lie No. 4: Mom knows everything.
After being burned by my burst of creativity, you would think I would have learned my lesson. But no—I had to start writing notes.
E “helped” C lose his last tooth a few months ago. It was barely hanging on by a thread, but C wouldn’t allow anyone to touch it. E cleverly asked if he would like to play dentist. When he convinced C to open his mouth, he reached in and plucked it out.
MJ and I decided that since E was instrumental in C’s tooth extraction, the Tooth Fairy should leave a little something for his efforts. The next morning, C awoke to a $5 bill under his pillow, and E had $1. E also had a note that read:
“Dear E, Thank you for helping me out with your brother’s tooth! It really didn’t want to come out of there! You are a life-saver, or should I say, tooth-saver! Thanks, the Tooth Fairy”
Lie No. 5: The Tooth Fairy likes it when you pull out other people’s teeth.
E was all set to help everyone with their loose teeth—and those with no loose teeth at all. He even asked if I needed any teeth pulled. We had to sit him down and discuss that it is not okay to try to pull out his friend’s teeth.
I want my kids to stay innocent and believe in a little magic. My parents did the same for me and my brothers—hiding Easter eggs, leaving presents from Santa, visits from the Tooth Fairy—and it didn’t scar me for life when I figured out they were behind it all. If anything, I look back on those times with appreciation for the lengths they went through to make our childhood special. But I’ve become quite the pathological liar. I find myself making up excuses for imaginary people and wondering if I should just come clean and confess the truth.
The other day at school, E fell and chipped his two front teeth. I told him he should put the broken pieces under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. That night, I fell asleep on the couch and completely forgot about his teeth. E was so upset that the Tooth Fairy didn’t visit. MJ suggested that since I had checked on him several times that night, maybe I had scared her off and we could try again tonight.
“Well,” E said, “Mommy can be pretty scary.”
Lie No. 6: Mommy scares everyone—even mythical creatures.
I have to believe when the boys want to know the truth, they will ask and I’ll tell them. But for now, if you’ll excuse me, this note of apology from the Tooth Fairy isn’t going to write itself.