My girls are 11 and 13 and by now, they both know there is no Tooth Fairy. But they still believe. They also believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny.
I'm 42 and I still believe in all of the above. No, I don't knock my husbands teeth out in the middle of the night and shove 'em under my pillow hoping to wake up to a hundred bucks (though there are some nights I've thought about it).
It's just that certain truths come with responsibilities, and in our house we decided that believing was way more fun than not. I say we made the right decision.
I have a friend who has a 9-year-old and she thought her child realized that all these imaginary friends were just that — imaginary. But when he lost a tooth two weeks ago, he couldn't wait for the Tooth Fairy to come! He excitedly got a Ziploc baggie from the kitchen, dropped in his tooth and happily put it under his pillow.
At first she was mortified that he still believed. "Now that he's older, I just don't have the heart to tell him… Good thing I'm saving up because therapy is going to be expensive!"
But after she talked it over with friends, she was reassured that most grammar school-aged kids still believe. She was also reminded that make-believe is one of the beauties of being young and it is sad when it is taken away too early. Because once that innocence is lost, it's gone forever.
The beauty of Tooth Fairies is that families can interpret them however they want. When my sister and I lost a tooth, the Tooth Fairy would leave a note behind. This note would be written backwards and we would have to read it in the mirror.
I always thought that was great fun, so when the Tooth Fairy would visit my children, she did the same thing. My kids, however, took to writing her a letter first, and then enclosing it with the tooth. This is something my sister and I never did.
On one such occasion, my oldest asked way too many questions. What was the tooth fairy planning on doing with her tooth? Is the Tooth Fairy magic? Does she grant wishes? If so, could she grant one for her? And on and on.
To say the least, the Tooth Fairy was not prepared for an inquisition! Her response was short and sweet and went something like this: "Good morning! Thank you for your tooth. I will take good care of it. I am sorry to say that I am only a tooth fairy and do not grant wishes. Only genies or leprechauns can do that — if you can catch one! I love you, The Tooth Fairy."
A few days ago I read this funny story from a friend posted on Facebook. It's reminiscent of a Mafia shakedown:
"My son who is wise to the Tooth Fairy just lost one of his baby teeth. He looked at me, bagged it up and informed me that if I wanted (his little sister) to keep believing, I'd better come tonight. Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about this."
That story reminded me of this one. My favorite tooth story ever:
"(Big sister) needed a loose tooth yanked before her dentist appointment or else it would be $100 for a professional extraction. So, we laid $15 on the sink and said, 'You let us take the tooth out and the money is yours.' We tried getting that sucker for an hour, through all kinds of tears, to no avail. So (little brother) pulled one of his teeth out by himself and asked for the cash. Enterprising, opportunistic son of a biscuit."
In my opinion with a situation such as this, both kids deserve a visit from the Tooth Fairy. And since the Tooth Fairy is up to interpretation, if this happened in my house, the parents would surely receive a visit from a fairy as well. One that brought them a tall, stiff drink before bed.