Monday, November 2, 2009

Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy

I found myself saying to my kids the other day, "I have Santa's cell number and I WILL call him and tell him to skip our house this year if you don't behave". Am I a horrible mother? I use lies as threats to get my kids to behave. I've resorted to making up a story about calling a made up person. But since I've been feeding them this story about a fat guy in a red suit bringing them presents every year, is it really so bad that I just added to the story? They never questioned the validity. Of course I would have Santa's number; why wouldn't I?

But I feel bad. I feel bad about all of it; all the lies. I know they are the same tales that were told to me as a child and I never harbored any resentment against my parents when I learned the truth, but still, I hate lying to my kids. Especially when I have a hard time keeping all the made up stories straight. Like, for instance, how does the Easter Bunny get into our house again? I think the first Easter my oldest son asked I told him the mail slot. But then when he asked me again another year, I forgot what I had said before. We settled on that rabbits are just "tricky" and probably use some sort of magic.

We're going on the assumption that Santa uses some magic too. We have documented proof in all of our bedtime Christmas stories that he comes down the chimney, and so that bypasses any question about our alarm system. But he makes it down both of our chimneys to deliver presents to both Christmas trees we set up; and one of those chimneys was sealed shut when we had a gas log installed. Don't think my kids haven't looked up there wondering how Santa could get past a steel plate. Magic. And when "magic" doesn't stop the questions, I resort to bringing up the real meaning of Christmas. Throwing around phrases like "Christmas spirit" makes that magic seem more believable. And, talking about baby Jesus gets them off the subject of Santa, at least temporarily.

But I have to just stick with plain "magic" for the creepy Tooth Fairy. What else does she have? I don't even know where this crazy woman who collects kids' teeth came from. If you look her up, she's actually a mouse which is even creepier. But regardless, she is the talk of the Kindergarten class and they expect her to show up. I didn't have her back story prepared when my son lost his first tooth. And when he lost his first tooth, he lost it, as in no tooth to put under the pillow. I didn't have the Tooth Fairy's procedural guide to help me in this situation. All I had was her first name. Apparently Tooth Fairies service generations of families because we have inherited my husband's Tooth Fairy "Blanche". So, I found myself not only telling my son a story about a fairy lady named Blanche, but at midnight that night I was writing a letter from her in the best frilly script I could produce that would look like a fairy. It all seemed ridiculous to me. But the next morning, it seemed perfectly logical to him that Blanche would have looked for his tooth on his school bus that night and found it. He never questioned how she got into our house to leave him money and a note under his pillow.

So, I guess as long as my kids keep buying all of these tall tales, I'll keep selling. But at the first sign of doubt on their part, I might cave and come clean. I don't want to spoil the wonders of childhood, but I just don't know how many more excuses I can come up with for these make believe people. Last year when Santa delivered a broken toy, I had some explaining to do. I had to explain why the Elves would not have tested it first. And why were we able to exchange it at Target? I could see my son's thought process in motion and I think I heard him mumble, "Why couldn't Santa just buy it at Target? Why does Santa need Elves?". I was waiting for "Why do we even need Santa?" But that question didn't come. Not yet.

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