Geek Dad Report: Losing Teeth and the Lies We Tell
If you are old enough to read the words on this website you hopefully don’t believe in fairy tales, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, The Boogyman or the worse of all of them. The Tooth Fairy.
Having to be deceptive enough to my kids about all the magical beings that come once a year to make your bank account hurt just a little more is enough. Now, when their teeth start falling out we have to find ways to celebrate that even. I try to play a straight shooter when it comes to facts with my kids, I put up with all the other celestial people because, well, it’s fun when they are this age.
My son lost his first tooth a little while ago. His front bottom tooth started getting loose and he couldn’t stop playing with it out of curiosity. Eventually the little nub of calcium and enamel succumbed to his excessive wiggles, at 1 in the morning. He shook me awake and in the pure darkness poked me in the face with his tooth saying it came out! Now, let me remind you that I have hearing aids and I’m going blind. I take all my hearing and visual aids off and place them on my black nightstand with my unread copy of A Dance With Dragons hardcover I’ve had since the day it came out. So I was actually woken from my sleep, poked in the face by a blurry dark shadow with a hard, small object and could hear a “AH LAH MA TUF” is a barely audible voice.
Needless to say, I was confused. So confused at first.
Once I got my glasses and hearing aids in, the situation was remedied. We walked to the kitchen to inspect the tooth and put it in a plastic bag. When he asked if the Tooth Fairy was coming right now, I told him that she doesn’t work on short notice. The next night, my wife and I were fully prepared. My son was ecstatic to put his first tooth under his pillow and receive a bounty for his hard work of having his body reject an unneeded object. But, before the bounty could be placed, I had to ask how much we were paying for this tooth, it’s not like you can look up the commodities market and see what the going rate is. I vaguely remembered getting either Quarter(s), a Dollar, or a dollar in quarters. I think my cousins once got five or 10 dollars, their tooth market must have had a low supply when Tooth Fairies were gauging the prices. Regardless, we settled on a crisp dollar bill, giggled as we extracted the tooth and slid the money under his pillow. Put the tooth in a bag, labeled it with a sharpie and put it away in storage. Resulting in a happy kid, and a discussion about how saving your money can compound the interest the more you save. He bought a pack of football cards, so well spent, son.
THEN, his second tooth fell out not too long after, right next to the first one. He’s got two big ol chompers in the front bottom now. Thing is, when this whole tirade came about for the second time? We forgot to switch out the tooth for money.
What did I do the next morning as he came down the stairs, head hanging with a look of deep sadness? Well, it was the first day of the Government Shutdown, and I blamed it on the federal government telling all tooth fairies they couldn’t go to work. Not taking the bait, he accept that the Tooth Fairy sometimes gets busy, or that I had to sleep in his bed with him because he was having bad dreams. The tooth fairy couldn’t come, because I was laying my head on the pillow and it weighs too much. Daddy ruined his earnings because tooth fairies are afraid of adults. Somehow, I had to shoulder all the blame for the tooth fairy not showing up, I was ok with accepting that. It was a lie I was willing to take on. It reminds me of a Penny Arcade comic and now, more than ever, I find it so damn true. We lie, because, it brings them happiness. Or, it just brings an end to whatever needles tirade they are going through.
At least, until their old enough to damn well know better.