The Hess Report

Monday, May 12, 2003

Maddie lost her first tooth yesterday. Actually, she pulled it out once it was sufficiently wobbly, so bonus points to her for that. Later that day, she shows up at the kitchen doorway with tears in her eyes, demanding that we tell her the truth about the Tooth Fairy. She had told me in the past that she thought the Tooth Fairy was probably just us, but she wasn't sure. But now, she needed to know. Because, you see, this was her first tooth lost. And she didn't want to think that some magical creature was going to take it from her. Sentimental for lost youth at age 5. And so there she stood, red-faced, terrified, and asking for the truth.

So I told her that she was right and that the Tooth Fairy was just a story. Other adult parties in the house at the time had expressed an urge to then extend the story into grander realms of Tooth Fairy Mythology(tm) regarding the Returning of the First Tooth, etc. My reaction to this was that a) when a fantasy that's supposed to be fun ceases to be fun for the subjected parties, it's time to end that fantasy; and b) if you're kid has enough guts to both figure out something that her own logic tells her in spite of the contradicting information she hears from pretty much every authority figure she's in contact with, and to then confront the two foremost authority figures in her life and essentially call them liars, well... holy crap. A kid like that... actually, any person, adult or child, like that deserves to have their spirit and resolve vindicated. So I gave her what she both deserved and wanted, which was, in this case, the truth.

Later, she wanted to know why anyone would make up a story like that. I told her that some kids think that sort of thing is fun. I cautioned her not to ruin it for them, and had the odd feeling that I would be saying a similar thing to her for many years to come, in many situations different in the details but same in the meta. And then we proceeded into negotiations over where the tooth would reside unto perpetuity. Of course, she still wanted fairy-like rewards for the losing of the tooth, and we were more than happy to oblige. She got a dollar (from me) and a Shoe Fairy playset (from Joy), and everyone was happy.

Except, of course, the Tooth Fairy, who usually likes more than 24 hours notice for a cancellation.

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