I am not one to advocate lying to my children. In fact, I teach them quite the opposite every chance I get. Though, there are special circumstances for not telling the truth, like tonight where I was faced with just such a decision.
My 11 year old had 2 teeth, which had been bugging him for quite a while now. When I took him to the dentist the other day, hoping they would just extract the teeth, he was told to pry them loose himself with his tongue. I found this very strange but left it at that, especially since I didn’t like the thought of having my son experience a tooth extraction, much less two nor was I prepared to stand by and watch him go through it. Before we left the dentist though, he was given a plastic little treasure chest to put his teeth into for the “Tooth fairy”. I thought to myself, surely these people don’t think he still believes in the “Tooth fairy”. Nevertheless, we went home and life carried on as per normal.
Within a day or two, he had managed to wriggle loose one of his teeth and proudly came to show it off. I had forgotten all about the tooth after an hour or so and in fact for a few days after this too.
Earlier today, I went to the shop and as soon as I walked into the house, he came to me, proudly holding up the other tooth.
“Well, you better put those under your pillow tonight and maybe that mouse that’s been running around the house, will bring you some money”
He just looked at me and smiled. As luck would have it, we do coincidentally have a mouse running around the house and no cat to catch him. So when I said it, I saw his little brain working overtime analysing what I had said, and for a split second, he looked like he actually believed it.
Just before bedtime, I reminded myself not to forget about the money and was thankful that I had at least 2 $2 coins in my wallet. It would have to do as I’m sure I couldn’t get away with EFTPOS payment in the morning.
When he came downstairs to his sister’s bedroom to say goodnight to me, I knew it would have to be now or never. I quickly took the coins off the dresser and looked for a diversion. Seeing the popcorn his sister had messed on the floor earlier, I asked him to pick it all up as I quickly went to his bedroom upstairs. Lifting the pillow quickly, and with one quick swoop, I felt the two teeth, picked it up and dropped the coins in it’s place. Turning around quickly before he caught me red-handed and I was out the door quicker than you can say “Gotcha”. The teeth were quickly deposited into his Dad’s jacket pocket (my unsuspecting accomplice) to hide the evidence, I spoke to him briefly in the kitchen before saying goodnight.
Passing my son’s bedroom, I stopped to switch off the light and saw him smiling in bed. I made some small talk with him and said:
“Are you ok? Did you put the teeth under the pillow?” pretending I didn’t know about a thing. He nodded his head and searched my face for a clue but I wasn’t going to give him anything.
“I found the money under my pillow” he said, again looking for a reaction from me.
I just acted all confused and asked “What money?”
“The money under my pillow” and he lifted it up for me to see.
“Oh, where did that come from and where’s the teeth?”
“I don’t know, I just found the money here”
“Oh well, lucky you. You better put that in your wallet then. Maybe keep it under your pillow for tonight and you can dream about more money”
He just looked at me and smiled, happy with his $4’s. I walked out of the room and switched off the light, pleased that I had convincingly pulled it off.
Children are innocent and I think it is very important to teach them good qualities like always telling the truth and being honest. However, in cases such as these, regardless of how old they are, I would say it is good to not tell the truth. Innocence in a child is sometimes too quickly lost. Life itself is harsh sometimes and can bring with it some unwanted challenges, pressures and stresses. If a simple little thing like the “Tooth Fairy” (or mouse in this case) brings a moment of joy to a child, then I am all for that.
So until he tells me otherwise, I will keep the “Tooth Fairy” alive…