My Parenting Fail
A couple of weeks ago, my youngest daughter finally lost her first tooth. After years of watching her older brother and sister lose their teeth in return for cash, it had been a long-anticipated moment in her almost 7-year-old life.
Shortly after her tooth came out, it dawned on me that I had no small change. As we were in ‘stay at home unless it’s for essentials’ lockdown, I was suddenly filled with panic. Now I’m going to fess up here and admit that in the past I’ve raided the kid’s own piggy bank to effectively self-fund the loss of a tooth, but even those means had dried up. Our collection of gold coins had been gobbled up by icy-pole day, hot dog day and any other bring a gold coin to school event you can think of.
“Have you got any money?” I asked my husband.
“No, I don’t think so, but I’ve got a $20.”
“We can’t give her a $20, that’s way too much money. I wonder if she’d accept tap and go,” I joked.
When I was a child, like in so many families, the fallen tooth was placed under a pillow, only to be magically replaced by a coin in the morning. I still remember the excitement and joy of waking up to that special coin, however when I became a parent, I wanted a semi stress-free life. I feared having to sneak in to my children’s room while they slept, I feared waking them up, I feared being caught and so I came up with the idea that the tooth would be left in a glass filled with water on the kitchen bench. In all these years, I only ever lost one tooth down the drain as I mistook the glass of water for something needing to go into the dishwasher. Luckily for us, the Tooth Fairy accepted an apology note that explained Mummy had accidentally thrown the tooth out and, in the morning, coins appeared on the bench.
I can’t remember how old my 11-year-old son was when he discovered the truth, but up until now, my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old have been in full belief.
Now let’s get back to the story.
As the day drew to a close, it became apparent that Charli was about to receive $20 for her first tooth. It was a decision I wasn’t that excited about, but what could I do? The only saving grace was knowing that because we were in lockdown, she wouldn’t be going to school to share her news with her friends, and if I’m honest, I hoped she’d forget all about it in no time at all.
Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it has gone down.
A couple of days ago I went out for a walk with the girls. Somehow the conversation got back to the Tooth Fairy with Charli bragging that she got $20 from the Tooth Fairy because she was special. I saw Lil’s face drop.
Fast forward to last night as Lil and I lay in my bed watching MasterChef.
“Lil, how did it make you feel that Charli got $20 from the Tooth Fairy?” I asked casually.
“Not good,” she replied.
“Ok Lil, I need to tell you something.”
We both sat up, with Lily looking deep into my eyes as I admitted to her that I was in fact the Tooth Fairy and that the only reason Charli had received so much money, was because we didn’t have anything smaller.
“I need you to know that you are special too. I can’t bare you thinking that Charli is more special than you are because she was given more money.”
She looked surprised but relieved, however I wasn’t prepared for what came next.
“So, what about the Easter Bunny?”
My face gave away the answer.
“So that’s why you didn’t want me to come downstairs the night before Easter! Well what about Christmas?”
My heart dropped. Here I was with the intention of making her feel better about something and in one foul swoop I’d burst every single one of her childlike magical bubbles.
“Darling,” I said, “I’m inviting you into the magic. Once you know it, you have a job to keep it alive. One day you will create this same magic for your own children.”
“I promise not to tell,” she said. “I’d actually been wondering why Santa’s handwriting had changed, but it makes sense now because it was you!”
And that my friends is how to pull the rug out from under your children in one go!
Parenting win or parenting fail? Perhaps a little bit of both!