This is a post from the archives. It’s funny. I thought everybody could use a little change of pace


I think it is a safe thing to suggest that we as humans are well served to consider the impact of our communications carefully. Sometimes in our haste to secure a particular outcome, we fail to consider the possible ramifications of our words. I know this happens to me constantly and it is a lifelong lesson for most people.

Apparently not for my eight-year-old.

Because she, she is canny in the extreme. She knows, for example, a staggering variety of curses and epithets, yet you will almost never hear one slip. She pretends to be oblivious to their existence, let alone willing to sink to their use. I know she knows them because I curse like a sailor. Just ask her, she’ll tell you. And though she is ready to turn state’s evidence on her loving mother in a heartbeat when it comes to the use of profanity, she continues to use the language of the sweet little child I want her to be. She does this because I will bust her ASS if she does not.

But this morning, I was treated to an entirely new level of tactical planning on the part of my child. It is one thing to operate under the halo of obedience, but this, this transcended mere self-preservation and displayed something more.

You see, she is too old to believe in the cultural mythologies I have gone to such pains to instill in her wee little head. My own mother, a powerfully crusty cynic of the most virulent stripe, was adamant in her unwillingness to entertain such notions as Santa, the Easter Bunny, or most pertinently in this case, the tooth fairy. Of course, she does believe in SASQUATCH, but that is neither here nor there.

When I became an adult and had a child of my own, I decided that the whole idea of a pantheon of benign gift-givers was a relatively desirable thing to have in your life as a little person. I knew that my own inexperience with this arena might have made me more eager to participate, but what are children for if not to compensate for one’s own misspent childhood?

So I set about assuring her about Santa et al. and all was going well. The first rumblings of confusion on her part came when she was about 3 and she asked rather pointedly, why the tooth fairy wanted all these old used teeth, and why did she get different amounts of money from the tooth fairy when she was at home vs. at her father’s house. I quickly explained to her that the tooth fairy was using the teeth to make crafts. And that market forces determined the value of the teeth at any given time as supply and demand were bound to fluctuate, so you could never tell just how much the tooth would be worth to the fairy on a given occasion. Way to use a childhood mythos to slip in an economics lecture.

She seemed to accept this explanation readily (which might also have been the result of the following internal dialogue: I have no idea what this crazy person is babbling about… ohh candy!)

At any rate, we haven’t had any further conversations about the role or motivation of the pantheon in a while, apart from the “Sarah says Santa isnt real” to which I reply; “Sarah doesn’t know everything.”

Fast forward to present day. I know she knows these people do not exist. I think she KNOWS I know she knows. But we play along together because we both get something out of it: in my case it is a minor bolstering to the ever-more-quickly fading belief that my child is still innocent and fully able to enter into an alternate reality without question as to its validity aka- belief in magic. For her, well, she gets stuff. So.

So she lost a tooth last week. Wednesday to be precise. I wasn’t home when this happened, and her Grandmother (the other non-crusty one) failed to mention it to me so I could act accordingly. When Aria woke up in the morning she mentioned to me that A) She had lost the tooth and B) Demand for crafts must be waaaay up so as to keep the tooth fairy from making to our house to collect her tooth.


So I assured her the tooth fairy would surely be around soon to get her tooth. We put the tooth in an envelope and I tried to make a mental note to take care of it that night. And then, she left for her dad’s and I completely forgot.

And then this morning I rose to find this note sitting on my vanity:



Because you see, she realized that someone needed to be reminded that the tooth was languishing under her pillow, yet she also knew that she couldn’t come out and say “Mom, hurry the hell up.” or in any way imply that she KNOWS there is no tooth fairy, because she realizes if she does that, the end of the tooth fairy payments will have arrived. She instead opted for her only viable course of action which was to prod me to remind the tooth fairy about her wayward tooth. And it worked. I slipped into her room and slid the envelope from its place beneath her sleeping head and left 4 shiny quarters in its place.

Communication, so subtly crafted. That’s my girl.