I was driving home the other day from my grandmother’s house with both of my children in the back seat. My daughter, who is six years old and cannot wait to lose her first baby tooth, started asking me about the Tooth Fairy. Is she real? What does she look like? Why does she take the tooth away? What gift does she bring?
All this made me think about the tales we tell our children. Would it be Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Why do we tell these made up stories and let our children believe them to be true? Is it because when we were kids our parents told these tales to us; the same way their parents told them? Is all this just part of our American Culture? I myself came from the formerSoviet Unionwhere we had Father Frost, not Santa Clause. He arrived at midnight of the New Year riding a sled full of gifts pulled by three white horses. There was no Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny when I was a young child.
I decided that when my kids ask me about these popular characters, I will do my best to answer the questions as honestly as I possibly can.
So there I was with the Tooth Fairy as the prime subject of our conversation, and no way of avoiding the questions. This is how our conversation went.
Lana: “Is the Tooth Fairy real?”
Me: “What do you think?”
Lana: “I think she is real, but what does she look like?”
Me: “I don’t know; I never saw a Tooth Fairy?”
Lana: “I think she is beautiful and sparkly with pink wings.”
Me: “She sounds lovely.”
Lana: “What will she give me for my tooth?”
Me: “Money” (which is what pretty much everyone gives)
Lana: “Why does she need to keep my tooth? I want to keep it.”
Me: “You need to give her the tooth if you want her to leave you something.” (I want to save her baby teeth)
Lana: “Oh, ok. I can’t wait to lose my tooth.”
Sooner or later the entire truth will come out, that there is no Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, but until that happens let these characters bring our children joy.