The Tooth Fairy, And Other “White” Lies

This post was written on September 20, 2015. Gee, whiz. Why am I publishing it here instead of charging money for it? Because I love you guys, that’s why.

Let’s put it this way: I don’t believe in lying to kids. Except in very rare instances, I think it does incredible harm.

Harm to your relationship with the kid.

Harm to your authority.

Harm to every stupid moral lesson you’ll ever try to teach your kid.

So I never quite understood why it’s okay to lie to your kids – about the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or any other character.

Sure, I understand that there are “white lies,” but I never quite understood why they’re different from black lies, red lies, green lies, or purple lies.

When I was about six or seven, a friend told me that the Tooth Fairy is really our parents. My mother insisted – insisted, promised, whatever – that that wasn’t true. She denied that the Tooth Fairy was really her. And I just kind of looked at her, thinking to myself, “Do you think I’m stupid enough to believe you?”

But hey, I got money. So why not continue pretending?

Well, at some point, I felt like it was just too dumb. So when my last few teeth fell out (or rather, I pulled them out) at around the age of thirteen, I refused to play Tooth Fairy.

I mean, give me a break. This is garbage, and we both know it. My tooth can go in the trash, and you can stop insisting that fairies exist. Give. Me. A. Break.

But no. My mother really wanted those last baby teeth, and I get why. I’m her eldest, and they were my last baby teeth. It’s okay to be sentimental sometimes. As long as you admit to it, that is.

And she did. She came out and said, “I know you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, and I know you think I’m being stupid. But i really want to save those baby teeth.”

I told her I’d give them to her in her hand, if she wanted. Nothing doing. She wanted to take them from under my pillow. “Please?” she asked. “Just do me a favor. I’ll give you $5.”

Well, $5 is a pretty good sum for doing absolutely nothing except putting a tooth under your pillow, instead of throwing it out.

I did it. Of course I did. Wouldn’t you?

And that’s how it happened that I got $5 for each of my last few baby teeth.

Yitzchak’s parents took a different approach. Or rather, his Dad did. My dad kind of left Tooth Fairy to my mom.

Yitzchak’s dad, in many ways, was more involved than mine (and that’s saying something).

Yitzchak and his brothers gave their teeth straight to their father, who was “the Tooth Fairy’s agent.” He took the tooth and gave them the money. It wasn’t a lot – maybe $1.

There wasn’t any promise of communication with the Tooth Fairy – just a statement that the “agent’s” job was to exchange teeth for money. Apparently, the tooth fairy was very busy, and didn’t have time to take teeth from under every kid’s pillow.

The Tooth Fairy’s agent explained to them that teeth that are put under a pillow don’t always get found. Sometimes, they may even get swallowed. Yitzchak says that he tried putting his tooth under his pillow once – and found, in the morning, that his tooth was still there (or maybe, had fallen on the floor. It was a long time ago).

When the kids started to ask if the Tooth Fairy existed, Dad said something like, “No, she doesn’t really exist. But I’ll give you $1 for your tooth, anyways.”

And us?

Well, Tooth Fairy doesn’t live in Israel, as far as I know. Maybe she’s like Google, the EU, and the PA – and doesn’t want to acknowledge that Israel even exists.

Either way, I think we’ll skip this part. Maybe we’ll do what Yitzchak’s Dad did. But probably, if I want to save the teeth, I will just save them. And if they want to know why, I’ll tell them: It’s important to me to save your baby teeth. It may sound dumb, but sometimes parents like to do dumb things. And when you’re a parent, you will probably do dumb things, too.

Yitzchak thinks that maybe the local witch takes teeth and uses them for spellcasting. Does that mean that the Tooth Fairy is really a witch? Or that the Witch and the Fairy fight over every tooth?

I’ll leave you with that question, and you’ll let me know what you think.

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