I hadn’t planned to tell my son the truth about the Tooth Fairy when I did. I knew the question of whether or not the tooth fairy is real would come up soon – he was almost 9 years old and there had been some mumblings between his friends at school – but I decided to wait until he asked and then confirm his suspicions and tell the truth.
We were in the car at the time. He had another wobbly tooth that was proving to be very resistant to wiggling, apples, and more wiggling. He had a new tooth growing behind it so I reassured him that it wouldn’t be long before he could put this baby tooth under his pillow.
And then the question came and, I thought, this is my chance; I can either lie to him and tell him that of course the tooth fairy is real and wait until the next wobbly tooth to come clean, or I could just tell him the truth now.
“Mum, just tell me the truth” he pleaded.
So, I told him, and he was silent for what seemed like an age.
He’s handling it so well, I thought. Just absorbing the news like the grown boy that he now is. I was right to tell him, it’s not fair for me to let him continue to think that his non-believer friends are fibbing. Now he knows he can trust me to always tell him the truth. He will give me a big hug, say thank you, and we’ll move into this next stage of his childhood together.
It was a beautiful moment, until he let out a huge, loud, sob.
“WHY DID YOU TELL ME?!” he cried.
I didn’t want to lie to you, I explained.
“I WISH YOU HAD LIED TO ME!”
His little face crumpled and I felt like the most awful person in the world. I killed the tooth fairy! I had crushed his childhood innocence! I had taken every sweet memory he had of mythical creatures collecting teeth in the night… and shredded them to pieces.
I didn’t want to backtrack, but I was desperate to fix my enormous #parentingfail.
I’ll still give you the pound, I said. I’ll even leave it under your pillow with a note, if you want?
“It’s not that” he said shaking his head “Now, I’m really worried about Santa!”