I’ve done something a bit stupid. Truth is, I’m guilty of a parenting fail. We’re not talking anything dangerous or life threatening, simply something a bit daft that has backfired. My crime; to leave Helen, my six year old, a note from the Tooth Fairy.
That may seem very innocuous. Only thing is my little message has gone and strengthened her belief in this mythical creature, something I was not keen on doing.
You’re probably wondering what the big problem is. Well, I’m not huge fan of the Tooth Fairy or Father Christmas, as he is celebrated in the UK. Far from being harmless fun, I think both send out the message to kids that it’s okay to be dishonest.
Yes yes, that comment will probably get me in huge trouble. I’m afraid that’s just the way I feel. In my ideal world, the kids would wake up on Christmas day with presents at the end of the bed, but they’d be told exactly who had put them there. In the face of strong opposition from Mrs Adams, however, I tolerate an annual visit from the guy with the sleigh and reindeer. But I digress, back to the Tooth Fairy and my parenting fail.
A few weeks ago Helen asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real. I told her the truth, but said she would still receive money when her milk teeth fell out. Unfortunately, it didn’t sink in.
Yesterday she lost her first tooth. This was a cause of great excitement and she went to bed with the tooth under her pillow expecting the “Tooth Fairy” (note the speech marks) to leave her some money.
My wife went to bed at about 10pm last night. I said I’d take care of leaving some money under Helen’s pillow.
At the last minute I decided to write a note to Helen, from the Tooth Fairy. It seemed like a good opportunity to write a little something about the importance of brushing your teeth for a full two minutes, visiting the dentist and avoiding sugary snacks. For the amusement value, I also added a line suggesting she “speak to mummy and daddy about investing your £1 in your Junior ISA”.
As I wrote the note, I questioned my wisdom. Was I not simply building the Tooth Fairy up into something it isn’t and giving her cause to believe it? “Nah, she’ll know it’s not real,” I thought. It was, after all, written on the computer, albeit in a fancy font in bright coloured ink.
Of course this approach has backfired. Massively. She came into our bedroom at 4am brandishing the note. Naturally I had to read it to her. It’s simply convinced her more than ever the Tooth Fairy is real. Oh, and she wants to spend her pound on roller skates.
I’m now lumbered with a problem. Do I tell her the truth or not? I’m tempted to do so as I think this could get out of hand.
There was one good thing to come out of all this. When she brushed her teeth this morning, she was in the bathroom for an incredibly long time. It turns out she was counting to 120 in a bid to make sure she did it for the full two minutes. Every cloud and all that.
Pic credit; Hobvias Sudonelghm, reproduced under Creative Commons agreement.