If there is one thing about motherhood that I enjoy very much, it's being a part of the stories that take my children on imaginative journeys through childhood. Childhood is such a special, sacred time of ones life...a time to learn, explore, discover and dream. There is a part of me that has never quite grown up, my 'Peter Pan' corner of never ending flights of fancy! And when Christmas comes, the little girl inside me gets giddy with excitement, just waiting to see the utter joy and amazement on my little ones' faces on Christmas morning. The thought of St. Nick delivering beautifully wrapped parcels from his sleigh, with flying reindeer at the helm, chomping at the bit to zoom through a cold, clear, winter sky, touching the tips of the stars, always fill me with dreamy anticipation. And just as the role of Father Christmas requires quite a bit of participation on my side, so does the very important task of being the Tooth fairy.
When I first started out, I pulled out all the stops. The Tooth fairy would leave a beautifully polished gold coin (seems the going rate in the UK is a pound coin!), neatly wrapped in tissue paper, and placed in a special little box by my kidlet's bedside. A letter from the Tooth fairy would also accompany the Coke-a-Cola bleached coin, to praise and show approval for such good oral hygiene and tooth upkeep! I thought long and hard before signing the little notes, in order to come up with a suitable and convincing name for our fairy...signed at the bottom of the note: With big, warm hugs from Tooth Kingdom, Lillypop. Yes, I christened myself 'Lillypop'! And so I took my job very seriously, acting as the world's ultimate, first class Tooth fairy!
And then I fell off my wagon...
By the time the fourth tooth fell out, the novelty of being a fairy must have worn off a bit. I would tuck little miss up in bed with her tooth under her pillow, and send her off to the land of Nod with a bedtime story. Later on when it was mummy's turn to go to bed, the plan would be to sneak into her bedroom and to do my Tooth fairy duty! The problem was that on the fourth occasion, I forgot! I woke up the next morning with a very disappointed little girl, thinking that her pearly white had been rejected by Lillypop. I had a lot of explaining to do! It turned out that 'it was high season for tooth collecting, and Lillypop was probably run off her feet!' I told her she would still come! So, the next night, Lillypop had to write a grovelling letter of apology, and do the switch. Phew...it worked, and happiness was restored! For now...
Yip, this Tooth fairy failed miserably...again! I woke early one morning to run a bath. I was just about to jump in when hubby knocked on the door quietly, and asked if I'd remembered to retrieve the tooth and pay the bill. Nooooooo!!!!! I quickly scrambled downstairs to get a £1 coin from my purse, yes, naked...I zoomed back upstairs, and on my hands and knees I crawled into my little darling's bedroom as not to wake her...Oops...She sat up in bed and stared at me as I quietly tried to crawl out of her room. Very puzzled to see her unclad mummy on the floor, I explained that I was so excited to see if Lillypop had visited in the night, that I had to come and take a quick peak before I jumped in the bath! She bought it! Wowzer, that was too close!
Now, service did improve after THAT little episode, and the Tooth fairy shone once again! But, of course it was short lived. The first time that I forgot to be Tiddlewiddle (the name of our little man's tooth fairy...yip, they each had a different tooth fairy assigned to them!), it went horribly wrong! I woke up with a jolt one morning, thinking 'oh man...I've done it again!' I jumped out of bed, pounded down the stairs to the purse, grabbed a coin from it, and after regaining my composure, I snuck into his room. Quietly I pinched the tooth, but as I placed the coin in the little box, two big eyes shot open and looked at me in a very accusatory manner. And then the words I dreaded: 'I saw you...I know it was you!' I fumbled and grappled for words to talk myself out of this one, and the best I could come up with was: 'What are you on about? I've just come to check if the Tooth fairy's remembered to visit! It wasn't me! Look, here is your coin, and your tooth is gone!' Well, he picked up the little box to peer inside, and for a brief moment I caught my breath and thought disaster had been averted. Then, a look of horror on his little face...'Two pence! Is that it? Tiddlewiddle has taken my tooth, and has only left me two pence!' Oh...no...I must have made a mistake. In my 'half-a-sleep, only-just-woken' state of mind, I thought I'd grabbed a pound coin, but it was only 2p! .....what to do?
Well, I explained it like this: 'Darling, I think I've made a big mistake. I came to check if Tiddlewiddle had been to visit while you were asleep, and I saw that he had taken your tooth, but hadn't left a coin. I didn't want you to be upset, so I took the only money I had, a two pence coin, and put it in your little box! I'm sure it's just a little mistake on his part. Maybe he forgot, or dropped it. Maybe he was disturbed by something whilst doing the swap and had to leave in a hurry. Don't be too upset, I'm sure it will all be fine!' And so, my darling little man was calmed a little...Later, whilst making his bed, and having fished £1 from my purse, I let out a squeal of delight, exclaiming that I had found a pound coin in his bed, tucked away under his pillow! We forgot to look there! Phew...he was so happy, and once again the Tooth fairy survived to live another day!
Now, since this last incident, I have had to retrieve two more teeth. One from little miss, and one from little man. And guess what...little miss left me this note in her little tooth box. A note to the Tooth fairy...
I could cry. I've been rumbled. She knows. This fairy's lost it's wings. But, it's bittersweet, because even as my Tooth fairy adventures as Lillypop come to and end, I know that my now ten year old enjoyed this journey, and for the most part of her childhood, she enjoyed the innocence of a fairy tale, and the joy it brought her. For that, I am grateful. And for the fact that I can still be Tiddlewiddle for a little longer, as my little girl whispered in my ear that she would 'play along for the sake of the boys!' And of course our little Roo is still a long way off from losing his first tooth. So, plenty of time to invent yet another Tooth fairy, and hopefully this time it will be one with 'the super powers of remembering!'
Have you had to play Tooth fairy for your little ones? I know that in some homes the Tooth fairy and Father Christmas do not exist, and some parents decide not to indulge in these far fetched un-truths out of a belief that we should not tell lies to our children. I respect this. For some time I too was given the reality as a youngster instead of the fairytale. But, if there is one thing I have learnt from the experience of motherhood and childhood, having been both a child and a mum, it's that there is enough 'real life' stresses and pressure to face in adulthood, and that childhood with all it's innocence and imaginative play is precious, priceless, and very short! I look back with a deep fondness to a time where I believed that the Tooth mouse was real (in South Africa we had a tooth mouse, not a fairy!), and that Father Christmas climbed down the chimney with a sack full of surprises! But, I'll say this...it hasn't changed my believe as an adult in the reality of my Saviour's love for me, and knowing that throughout childhood and adulthood, He is the One constant anchor that holds me to this life!
I'd love to hear about your experiences! Pop in and let me know!
Blessings, Tania ♥