True Confessions: My Biggest Parenting Fail

I have no doubt that if you know me in real life, you’re scratching your head and saying “Yeah, are you sure this is your biggest parenting fail?” To which I say, “Go do the dishes.” Because if we know each other in real life and you’re reading my blog, I probably married you or gave birth to you, and I’m sure you have a list of the wrong turns I’ve made along the way.

I was a kid once, and as a former child I am a big fan of the various mythical creatures that populate most childhoods. I enjoy passing down those traditions to my own children. Not to toot my own horn, but I rock the Santa gig. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not Mom #4. (Click the link, thank me later. That blog’s hilarious.) I don’t go nuts, but I am really good at choosing a cool gift for each of my kids. We do Easter baskets and all, but we don’t do the Easter bunny bit, mostly because the Girl-child was totally creeped out by the whole bunny idea by the time she was in preschool. I get a pass on that one. But one creature is my magical Achilles heel. I suck at tooth-fairying.

My tooth fairy with his little bag of teeth. He disappointed me.

I didn’t have the best example to follow. When I lost my first tooth, I put it under my pillow. The next morning, there was no money, only a note. It read “I’m sorry. I had too many teeth to carry, and I’ll come back for yours tonight. Love, Timothy.” The note rocked my world, and I wept as only a heartbroken child can weep. I don’t know which was more upsetting – that I had no quarter, or that my Tinkerbell tooth-fairy friend was a dude.

When Girl-child was little, I was all over the tooth-fairy gig. She was our first baby, and such rites of passage as cash from a fairy were like crack to me. For about two years. By the time she was seven, the shine had rubbed off that particular coin, and I had lost interest. More often than not, the kid woke up the morning after losing a tooth, shoved her hand under her pillow, then wandered into the kitchen to inform us that while she appreciated that the tooth-fairy had let her keep the tooth, she couldn’t find any money.

In my defense, some of the time we hadn’t forgotten; our wallets were just empty. Something told me a second grader would not be satisfied with a ticket stub for “Fellowship of the Rings” and a car wash coupon. It wasn’t my fault Tinkerbell doesn’t accept debit cards. The rest of the time, the blame was all on us, and we’d shoot each other a look of sheer panic, whispering “It was your turn this time!” Then one of us would secretly unearth a dollar from her piggy bank and insist she hadn’t looked for her money properly, and we’d help her find her pay out. Which she would promptly put in her piggy bank for next time. We’re awesome parents.

Um, what do you mean that dollar looks familiar? Don’t be silly. All money looks alike. It has the same red smiley face on the back? What a coincidence.

The Padawan began losing his teeth right about the time Girl-child stopped believing in the tooth fairy. I’d like to say I got better at tooth-fairying, but that would be lying. I got worse. How much worse? The Padawan doesn’t even bother with the pillow ritual anymore; he just leaves the teeth where we can find them. At the moment, we have two molars sitting on the coffee maker.

When we planned our kids, we did so with the intention that we not have two in college at the same time. It sounds good on paper until you look at the fine print. It means fifteen straight years of deciduous teeth. Fifteen straight years of crushing childhood dreams, one premolar at a time.What were we thinking?

I may be off the hook with Squish. He lost his first tooth on Friday, and he insists that the tooth-fairy does not exist. I’m torn; On the one hand, I want the kid to experience the same magic of childhood that I did. On the other hand, no tooth-fairy.

I don’t think I have to tell you which way I am leaning.  If it’s childhood magic I want, I can always read him Harry Potter.

Am I alone here? Do you have a least favorite magical being?


23 thoughts on “True Confessions: My Biggest Parenting Fail

  1. I think it’s ok if Squish doesn’t believe, as long as he knows not to ruin it for other kids in his class that DO believe. And it gets you off the hook. (Well, you’ll probably have to pay him a buck per tooth. It’s only fair, I suppose.)

    I don’t know that I had a favorite imaginary creature. I think I just thought it was weird that all these imaginary people were sneaking around in my house. I don’t love surprises and/or monsters.

  2. My least favorite has to be the elf on the shelf, or Elfonzo as he is called at our house. Our elf is a particularly lazy elf who makes no effort whatsoever to spread joy and wonder by changing his position each night. Rather he just sits there judging my children in sullen silence. We are all thrilled when he returns to the North Pole, an event that typically takes place some random weekend in January.

  3. The way I remember it, I learn about the tooth fairy when a younger cousin lost a tooth at my grandparents house. Since I already had lost several teeth by that time with no payment or even mention of a tooth fairy (fairly certain it was a money issue) it became really weird when they suddenly started doing it after that.

  4. I was the same way with the toothfairy. First child–I was on it! Second child—less so. Third child—poor creature NEVER got money on the first night the tooth was under the pillow. I was just too danged tired to remember after he went to sleep. I finally started putting a dollar bill next to my toothbrush when he announced he’d lost a tooth. That way I’d remember in my sleepy stupor to wander back upstairs and slip it under his pillow.
    As far as magical creature creepiness–the darned Elf on a Shelf. Luckily, my kids were too old for the ugly little stalker to be a part of our household at Christmas time.

  5. Heather, this was hysterical! I get it–I’m on the same page. My kids decided there was no Santa Claus and dared me to lay that BS on them. So, of course, they put it upon themselves to set those in their little world straight! I was hated by many a mother for many years. Sigh!

  6. Oh my gosh. Can’t stop laughing. I think I got a nickle a tooth, (might even have been a penny as there were still penny candy stores back then). Not much inflation in teeth I guess if the going rate now is only a dollar.

  7. Let him watch Terry Pratchett’s The Hogfather, proof the tooth fairy exists but not as a fluffy little fairy failing that keep the cash, the tooth fairy struggled with my daughter when she was little as even opening her bedroom door a fraction would have her sitting up in bed she needed a tooth ninja

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

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