Recently, my oldest (6 years old) took an important step toward adulthood and lost his first tooth. It had been extremly loose for a couple of days and after one misguided attempt to pull the tooth which resulted in tears a few days earlier, it came out without much fanfare while he was brushing his teeth before bed.
I was very proud of him and more importantly, he was very proud of himself. He smiled and showed his gap to his little brother (3 years old) and we called for my wife who greeted him with a hug and an “ice popsicle” (literally just frozen water with a stick that my kids view as a treat – LIFE HACK!)
Now came the discussion of whether or not the Tooth Fairy would visit. We’d been discussing this since a few of his teeth started to wiggle. He understands the concept. You place your tooth under your pillow and a strange woman enters your room while you are sleeping and puts her hand under your pillow to take a tooth and leave money…not creepy at all…
Ultimatley he decided he didn’t want a visit from the Tooth Fairy. We offerred him other alternatives like writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy and leaving the tooth out like Santa with milk and cookies but the whole idea is clearly unsettling to him so we let it go. We’ve saved the tooth and told him whenever he’s ready to make a decision we’ll work with him and the Tooth Fairy to ensure he is rewarded for his bravery in loosing a tooth. It’s been over a week and I think he’s forgot about the whole thing to be honest.
The odd thing is you’d think it’s because of scary movies or nightmares that causes his aversion to creepy mystical beings entering the house. But it’s not, he’s always been like this. He’s just an extremly practical little person. In fact, he does not like the idea of Santa being in our house unattended at night while we all sleep so my wife and I have agreed to stay up late and help Santa put out the presents and stockings.
Same goes for Easter where he likes to know that we’ve worked with the bunny in hiding the eggs.
When discussing the Tooth Fairy he asked “Where does the Tooth Fairy get the money for the teeth?” My wife and I fell back on “We don’t know” and he hypothesized “Maybe the government gives her money to give to the children.” Which shows how logically his brain works and just how often my wife and I talk about politics in front of him.
Does it make me sad that he can’t turn off his little adult-like mind to embrace fantasy and enjoy the idea of magic? Sure, a bit. Part of me feels like maybe I dropped the ball on encouraging his imagination but then I see my 3yo who embraces all of this stuff with wonder and amazment and I realize it’s just how he’s coded. It’s in his DNA. It’s who he is and I wouldn’t want him any other way.
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