Why am I still lying to my kids?
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Warning!!! If you believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy, stop reading right now. Seriously, stop . . . they’d be very disappointed in you, and I'm sure you don’t want to get put on the ‘Naughty List.’
Now that that’s out of the way, I'm going to explain to you all my battle with all of what I've come to consider nonsense. Santa, I can tolerate; the Easter bunny, I absolutely can get down with; my Achilles heel is this darn Tooth Fairy. For the past nine years I have struggled playing the role of the Tooth Fairy. If I'm being honest, ‘struggled’ is an understatement. My difficulty ranges from not being able to find a dollar (who keeps cash anymore?) at midnight and having to look under pillow cushions for enough change to make up a dollar to forgetting all together.
My nine-year old gave me a few saving graces in the past, and for that I will forever be grateful. She has rarely lost a tooth in the conventional way—she’s had teeth accidentally elbowed or popped out of her mouth from playing too rough at school, and she's eaten a few teeth. Now, every time one of those events happened, she wasn’t able to find the tooth. And the Tooth Fairy’s rule in our house is: if there’s no physical tooth to put under your pillow, there’s no physical dollar. So with her, I've only had to play Tooth Fairy about three or four times out of the eight teeth that she’s lost.
I can say with complete certainty that I've played the part right once out of those three times. Every other time I've forgotten to remove that flipping tooth and replace it with a dollar! The very first time it happened and she came to me with tears in her eyes, I panicked. I didn’t want her to think it was the Tooth Fairy’s fault and lose that childhood innocence of believing in these ridiculous characters. So I asked her if she’d unlocked her window.
Understandably, she looked at me with a very confused look on her face. I explained to her that it was impossible for the Tooth Fairy to get in their room if the window was locked; she wanted to collect the tooth, but she couldn’t get in.
Do you know her tears dried right up, and were replaced with concern because she thought that the Tooth Fairy had been waiting outside her window all night. But I fixed that too, and told her that the Tooth Fairy could sense when windows were locked and just passed our house completely—problem evaded! So the next night, she unlocked the window, I locked it back, and put the dollar under her pillow.
By the time my youngest started losing teeth, I thought I was on the ball—the first two teeth went perfectly! But the drama behind that third tooth . . .my gosh it was a mess. We were in the middle of cheer competition when she lost that tooth—like literally lost it a couple hours before they ran on the mat—and it completely slipped my mind that night that she’d lost a tooth. Added to that, she didn’t do her job in telling me that she put it under the pillow.
So she too came into my room the next morning with a face of devastation and tears in her eyes to inform me that the Tooth Fairy didn’t come. I asked her if she unlocked the window, and she said her older sister told her that she opened it for her. I asked her older sister, and she shook her head sadly . . . I was saved! Well that is until she told her grandparents what happened. She snitched on me! After my parents ever so subtly gave me the side eye, they told her to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy telling her that she would open the window this time, and put it with her tooth.
The next morning came around, and she walked in with her head hung low . . . I forgot again! But thinking quick on my toes, I asked if she wrote that letter, and she gasped, saying that she forgot. Well there you go—I was saved again! But at this point I felt really bad, so I told her that I’d help the Tooth Fairy out until she got to her. I ended up giving her two dollars, and I thought all was forgiven. Until, again, she told my parents at lunch.
That time my mom made her write a letter right there at the table, and the letter my six-year old wrote was hilarious! Anyway, that night, the Tooth Fairy finally came and left her a dollar along with an apology note. All was forgiven . . . until I forgot about the next tooth.
My youngest has lost three teeth in a matter of a couple months, and I'm at the point where I'm just like ENOUGH! She's losing them too fast; it’s too much! On top of that, my girls are smart . . . very smart. I can’t help but think that they are scamming me. I feel like they know it’s me, and they are keeping up with this charade for the money. They are laughing at me behind my back while counting their money!
Can you imagine how stupid I’d feel for tip-toeing through their room and holding my breath while slowly searching for those teeth—which of course are always directly under their heads—to make sure I didn’t wake them and crush their dreams, all the while they KNEW it was me?
And let’s get into these characters for a second. As a parent, I'm sick of them taking all the credit. I'm tired of Santa taking responsibility for the hundreds of dollars I spend on my girls every year. (I promise if I hear one more ‘Thank you Santa’ I'm going to lose it!) You know all the hardships I endure with that stinking Tooth Fairy . . . sick of it. And the Easter Bunny is loved for laying all the eggs for the kids to find; meanwhile I'm the one stuffing those eggs with my money and candy, and I'm the one spending an hour finding the perfect hiding spots for them. Do you know the last time I hid eggs I forgot to count them, and I forgot all the places where I hid them? It was a disaster . . . we were still finding eggs a year later.
Now I ask again: why do I bother still lying to my kids? Society tries to guilt trip me into thinking that I'm a bad parent if I spoil it for them because it stunts their creativity. But my oldest writes her own little short stories, draws, and has really gotten into creating comic book stories. And my youngest never stops singing or dancing, and she’s started doing this thing where she’ll learn some of the lines of whatever show she watches and act it out—the girl loves being the center of attention and wants to be a star. They also both love reading. So I'm pretty sure they have the creativity thing in the bag.
Really, I feel more guilty about deceiving them than anything else, and the longer I keep this up, the harder it will be to tell the truth, right? They’ll just be mad at me for lying to them for so long. If not, what’s an appropriate age to break it to them? Tell me what you think.