Operation Crappy Parents

The newest Kindergartner recently lost a second tooth. She'd lost her first one several months ago. The tooth fairy carted it off leaving a handful of coins in its place. A handful of coins might have been complicated if our house employed the "leave it under the pillow" strategy. Let me just share with you: We don't.

Teeth are small. Baby teeth are even smaller. I never realized how small until my kid placed her first tooth in my hand and I realized there was no way in hell the tooth fairy was going to be able to find it under a pillow in the dark without waking up the aforementioned kid. And our kid's bed was inside a pop up castle thing at the time, too. Many is the stuffed animal that slid down between that castle and the bed. What if the tooth fell between them? Imagine two grown adults pulling a bed out from the wall, pulling the pop up castle off and getting on their hands and knees with flashlights. Right. Suddenly, I understood why people buy those cutesy tooth fairy pillows.

So I convinced the newest Kindergartner that a bowl on the dresser next to her bed might work better. It really wasn't that hard. I mostly just suggested the tooth fairy wouldn't leave anything if she couldn't find the tooth. To thank her for making it easy to locate, the tooth fairy left 52 assorted coins in its place. Because the tooth fairy understands the importance of quantity over quality when distributing coins to a five year old even if the quantity consists primarily of pennies.

The newest Kindergartner delighted in announcing her windfall to her classmates the next day. And she's been waiting to lose another tooth ever since. Last week her mouth finally cooperated. And lo it was a great day in our house.

Too bad some evil troll in her class took it upon herself to tell my daughter that the tooth fairy is really your parents. The newest Kindergartner mentioned it to me over dinner wanting to know if that was true. I think the exact quote was, "Are you and Daddy the tooth fairy?" Well played.

I led off with, Huh? but quickly moved on to deflecting by asking who told her that. I figured it must have been some older kid shattering dreams in passing on the playground. Sadly, this revelation came courtesy of her best friend. So much for calling the kid a lying whore.

So then I hoped maybe I could undermine the credibility of the BFF's info by asking who told the BFF that. Except, apparently BFF got her info from her parents. So much for calling the kid's information source a lying whore. Very well played.

So, yeah. Fess up or lie. Tough call.

Except, confessing to the tooth fairy didn't seem like the only thing on the line there at the dinner table. Because this kid's bright. No tooth fairy is like three degrees of separation from no Santa. No way this kid won't connect the dots. No way her faith in Santa won't be undermined. But looking your kid in the eye and lying is hard core guilt inducing. Not that we've never lied before. Because let's be honest, sometimes claiming there's no more candy in the house is just plain easier. And my husband may or may not have claimed to have Santa's phone number last year when certain people were not successfully sharing with their brother.

But she's never asked us if he was real. So we've kind of lucked out not having to look her in the face and lie. But how do you give up on Santa? She's only five. Last Christmas she wrote her first real letter to Santa. It was so desperately cute I'm not sure I can live without at least one more. And she has a little brother to think about, people. Of course, Santa must live on. So I sucked it up and lied.

Having restored her faith in the tooth fairy, the newest Kindergartner was already mentally in the toy aisle spending her next windfall. She practically skipped to bed that night.

And that's when Operation Crappy Parents went into effect. That would be the operation that involved all of the grown adults in the house falling asleep while watching American Gangster. One second I'm trying to figure how much longer that movie can possibly drag on and the next I'm being woken up by a disappointed kid a foot from my face repeatedly asking why the tooth fairy didn't come. The 6 am on a Saturday early morning haze quickly cleared as the reality of our error hit home. My husband and I both sat up and said, "Oh."

It was early and I wasn't on my game so I tried suggesting the tooth fairy forgot. I know. Lame. And believe you me, it sounded lame at the time. Pretty much as soon as it came out of my mouth. But no need to worry. No one crafts a lie better than the guy with Santa's phone number. Big fat liar to the rescue. What's that you ask? What was the fix all sentence our kid hopefully never attempts to verify by comparing notes with her friends at school? Duh.

Everyone knows the tooth fairy only comes on Saturdays.

Another problem solved. Another proud parenting moment.


carosgram said...

I am in awe of your creativity. I think every parent has forgotten the tooth fairy at one time or another and disappointed a child yet you are so clever you had the answer right at the tip of your tongue. I am going to borrow this one. Thanks!

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katherine. said...

hi... i found your blog through stephanie's blog and though i don't have kids, i found myself reading your entries and cracking up. i love the way you write and even though you don't know me, i just had to leave a comment and say i love your stories and the way you tell them!!

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