Thursday, December 1, 2011

Un-Merry Mythbusting

a.k.a. Talking about the Tooth Fairy and her Friends
[*This post is not intended for child readers. Please don't read within their sight range.]

When people learn my husband and I are the parents of twins, invariably the conversation proceeds down the path to assumed doubled challenges. Their suppositions are frequently spot-on:

“Oh absolutely, those first few weeks made it abundantly clear why sleep deprivation is used as a torture method!”

“Yes, as you can imagine, potty training two was uber-messy!”

“Of course we heard it very early, and immediately had to nip the ‘that’s not fair’ argument in the bud!”

With equal accuracy, as seasoned twin parents reassured us in shopping malls years ago, as our near-simultanaeously born siblings have grown older, it frequently has “gotten easier.”

Well, until that one night earlier this year.

Theretofore, the Easter Bunny annually left muddy footprints on our dining room table. Reindeer grazed upon glitter-sprinkled oats and baby carrots in our front yard. Leprechauns scattered throw pillows about the house and left their elfin green pee in our toilets---they never, ever, flushed.

Then last spring, She-Twin lost not one, but three baby teeth in a single week. Please note, She-Twin was on a first name basis with her personal tooth fairy, her name was---and if you ask me, still is---Tulip. Not only did money change hands between the two, Tulip and She-Twin communicated via under-the-pillow notes. She-Twin was beyond understanding when Tulip refused to bestow the requested ability to fly, and she forgave the incident wherein Tulip didn’t wish to risk wing singe on the 4th of July.

On that pivotal morning before summer break, having shared her 3rd grade delight upon the receipt of ten super shiny dimes from Tulip with a classmate, she was met with ridicule. “You still believe in the Tooth Fairy?” she was asked. She defended her wee winged pal, and then prepared for the parental inquisition.

Both our babes had questioned in the past, but in attempts to prolong and preserve innocence (and admittedly, a good portion of parental joy) we typically responded with, “All I know is if you don’t believe, _____________ (insert the present-giver of choice here) doesn’t come.”

This time, after dinner, with He-Twin upstairs, She-Twin told us of her humiliating episode. She asked me point-blank, “Are you the Tooth Fairy? Have you been lying to me?”

“Honey, we have been the tooth fairy. We certainly didn’t mean it as lying to you at all,” I explained as my tears started flowing alongside hers.

“Why would you do that?” she pressed on, as the sobbing continued.

Then Double Daddy, ever calm, lovingly began, “Sweetie, you know all those scary fairy tales about the bad things that can happen if you walk off in the woods, or tell lies, or open the door when you don’t who’s there? Those stories are meant to teach children in a child-like way the terrible things that can happen in life if you aren’t careful. Stories like that of the Tooth Fairy are meant to illustrate in a child-like way how incredibly wonderful life can be. We receive gifts and generosity and kindness and laughter and mischief and the promise of growth---all by simply asking, trusting, behaving, wishing and believing. The Tooth Fairy and the others are simply a loving way for parents to share that glimpse of life’s goodness with their children.”

As my sobbing continued—intensified by my man’s uncanny insight and wisdom---crying She-Twin then continued, “So wait, the Easter Bunny and…?”

Well…” Double Daddy hesitated.

She-Twin let out a full-revelation acknowledgment wail. We all hugged and reinforced the spirit of those generous joy-bringers is very, very real. Naturally, any conversation of this ilk concludes with the lecture imperative on the need to keep this “truth” in house…letting other families address their conversations when it was their time…reminding her of how sad it was to hear from “someone else.”

After gathering our wits and regaining a semblance of composure, I went on upstairs to check on He-Twin, who surely had been listening.

“Hey Pumpkin, I guess you heard what all was going on downstairs.”

“About Santa?” he offered knowingly, with his typical I’m-seven-minutes-older maturity.

“Yes, she was pretty upset.”

“Wait, you mean Santa isn’t real?” he replied with perceptible lip tremble.

The whole heart-wrenching discourse was then replayed a second time for He-Twin’s benefit.

In many ways, parenting older twins is indeed, “easier.”

On that emotional evening of sequential Santa-squashing, not so much.

But this week, months later, with decorations all around, an envelope found its way to our hands---addressed to the North Pole.

Afterward, in true Tulip fashion, we found this slipped this under our pillow…

Think this will find a home in my jewelry box...right alongside my stash of sweet little baby teeth.
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You can find this post and oodles of other fun holiday-centric reads at RichmondMom !


Goddess in Progress said...

Oh my goodness. We don't do Santa or the Easter Bunny (obviously, with the whole Jewish thing), and haven't even yet gone down the trail of the Tooth Fairy. But this made me tear up, too! Oh, growing up is hard work.

Brad Jenkins said...

More things I haven't even thought about yet. I guess we know have a few years to prepare for the inevitable discussions.

Thanks for sharing and for the heads up.

Jane said...

Oh, heartbreaking! But I think you and the mister handled it beautifully. (And your kids did too, all things considered.)

It's so true -- as soon as one thing gets easier, something else gets harder.

Amy said...

This totally made me tear up! I am certainly seeing that things are a little easier now that Michael is almost 4 and the twins are almost 3, but there are still some trying times as I'm sure there will always be. BTW-Double Daddy is awesome! What a wonderful way of explaining things! I so don't want to deal with this when the time comes. I still remember finding out about Santa and I'm getting close to 40!

Terra said...

I LOVE that note, best I have read in a long time! Really, it deserves a little frame!

Barbara Manatee said...

I read this with a tear, too! Ironically, I was just talking about this with a coworker today - her oldest is 8 and is questioning Santa. She's debating whether to try to keep him holding on to the magic or tell him the truth...

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Dear Cheryl, thanks for making my cry at 6:38 AM. My eyes will now be puffy for my very long day, but my heart will be full of fear for the day that I'll have to do this with the Crazies. I do not ever want to let the magic go, but I guess you have to, huh? Love, Rebecca ;)

Nancy said...

Oh MAN!! Totally teared up for you, your kids, and what I have coming!! So not ready for that. You all handled it beautifully - I just hope when the time comes that we're half as eloquent as you.

Christy said...

Cheryl, I had read this last week and was hanging onto it because I really liked Double Daddy's perspective. And then, today, I happened on this letter... Thought I'd share!

And Happy Birthday, too! :)

cat said...

AG no! I fear that day.The end of an era. We so try to keep the magic alive. Don't know if you ever saw this post:

Formerly known as Frau said...

Such a great post!! I'm coming over from Mrs. 4444's ! My now 17year old talks about finding out the truth like it was yesterday! I never remember making my parents feel the guilt like this one has for all the lies! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Mrs4444 said...

What a beautiful post. I'm very glad that Rebecca ( shared it with me. My blog post today is a flash-forward (6 years) from yours. :)

Loved the voice in your writing, btw. It's nice to meet you :)