The boy lost his second tooth in two weeks this evening. Just fell on out. Unlike the previous one he started yanking on whilst waiting for his little sister's pre-K Thanksgiving play to begin...blood everywhere and all I had was a snot filled tissue I had just used. Great moments in Motherhood right there!
The "tooth fairy" kinda sorta fell asleep on the job for the last one. The lad met me at my bedroom door the next morning holding the tooth container still containing the tooth...doing his very best to keep the tears out of his voice as he pointed out that usually the tooth is replaced with something else.
I consoled him with hot chocolate...explained that Tooth Fairy was probably pretty tired from the day before and was just running late. And then went in search of money. My wallet contained a $5 bill. Tooth fairy wasn't feeling that guilty. His dad's wallet yielded a $1 bill. I took it, folded it in half and made a little paper airplane. Reaching around the corner I tossed onto the boy's lap. I came back around the other way with my coffee and his school bag and sat down, completely ignoring him. I glanced at him as he was unfolding the dollar.
"Whatcha got there, son?
"I think it's a whole dollar!"
"Where did that come from?!"
"I don't know! It just flew out of nowhere. I think you're right...the Tooth Fairy was just running late!"
Yeah, I know. Best Save Ever.
On the drive home tonight he made the statement that he hoped the Tooth Fairy wasn't late again. His little sister piped up...
"Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy real?"
We've never even attempted to make believe Santa was real. They've been raised to know that the idea of Santa Claus is based on a true story about a man who lived a very long time ago...but no one is watching them while they sleep, keeping tabs on them or breaking into our house via the chimney.
So why play the Tooth Fairy? Because they've heard about it from their friends, they've read about it in books and it has zero to do with behavior control. It's fun, it takes their mind off from the trauma of losing the tooth in the first place, and completely non-controversial (at least I don't think it is...feel free to enlighten me if I've missed out on the Great Tooth Fairy controversy).
Meanwhile my 5-year-old daughter was waiting for an answer...
"Do you want the Tooth Fairy to be real?"
"Well...then...there's your answer."
I think Neil Gaiman explained it best when he was asked whether or not fairies were Real. He answered that if they are Real he'd rather not annoy them by claiming they weren't.
**So...after writing down all the above and assuring my son the Tooth Fairy would be on time? Um...yeah, well...she forgot. However, she happens to have a most excellent and equally crafty Partner in Crime who hid a dollar bill in his cub scout book. Way to go, Daddy-o!