Parents, such hypocrites we are. We dole out punishment all the time for the fibs kids feed us (really Junior? The entire roll of toilet paper unfurled and landed in the tree outside accidentally?). But we lie to our kids on many occasions. Death. Sex. And the existence of mythical creatures like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and jolly ol’ Saint Nick.
Honestly, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves for tellin’ these kids boldfaced lies. But there’s something so adorable about egging on the innocence of a child who believes that a rabbit is capable of 1) putting items in a basket, 2) carrying it to their home, and 3) knowing all about their love for Justin Bieber, purple jelly beans, and Hello Kitty coloring books.
I’m so glad my daughter is old enough to know that Mommy may have bent the truth just a smidge for pure entertainment reasons. But I gotta tell ya: should I have any more babies, I’m not so sure I’d be as gung ho about frolicking in the land of make believe. That Bunny/Santa/Fairy thing is hard work.
I was at my worst when she lost teeth. First of all, I’m surprised the child still has a tooth left in her mouth because it seemed like every time I looked up, she was shoving a little plastic baggie in my face with pride and pointing to a spot where another molar or bicuspid had gone down in the line of duty. Which meant that I had to have dollars to put under her pillow. And since I almost never carry cash, I’d be scrambling and — sign me up for the Bad Mom of the Decade Award — I’d often forget to run to the ATM to get dough.
After putting her umpteenth tooth under her pillow and discovering the next morning that there was nothing but cold, hard air there instead of cash, The Girl huffed out in her PJs and made a declaration: “The tooth fairy is a fraud!,” she snorted. I launched into a campaign to clean up Miss Fairy’s reputation, pointing out a technicality that the tooth had actually fallen on the floor during the course of the night and that actually made it ineligible for a cash payout. Try again tonight, I soothed.
Dang It if I didn’t forget again. And that there kind of did it in for the faith in the Tooth Fairy. Poor kid.
Despite the hassles and challenges that go hand in hand with playing along, kids’ belief in imaginary characters is actually healthy for them. Or at least that’s what psychologists say. It aids their cognitive development, so all of that extra work isn’t just for your own personal warm and fuzzy feelings or the makings of good home video. Besides, in a generation bombarded with pressures to think and dress and behave and talk way older than their actual years, it’s nice to keep them innocent and none the wiser for as long as we can. So ho ho ho and hippity hop to it, moms. There are few reasons to lie, but this might just be one of them.