My respect for the tooth fairy

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I’ve shot myself in the foot.

I’ve hoodwinked my own childrearing capabilities, bamboozled the magic I wish to instill in this generation I’m raising under my roof.

The hands of time have been crippled and can no longer be reversed, but they just may be able to be mended – if I play my cards right. Sounds pitiful, doesn’t it?

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Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin and any kind of fairy, gnome, or leprechaun have it out for me. As well they should.

My son is nearly past the stage of believing in tales tradition has created. Society has sure come up with some doozies to support holidays and other beliefs (for marketable purposes of course). I grounded my beloved son in reality at a young age.

“Don’t believe the hype, son,” I said. “There is no Easter Bunny or Santa. In fact, you’re looking at him right now, and the lady standing over there cooking your dinner, that’s my sidekick, so ho ho ho, buddy boy!”

Ok, it didn’t quite go like that, but we weren’t shy in revealing the truth.

Our son was our experiment, our daughter has been our second try at this thing. Round three is yet to be determined – that may just be the knock out round. We began to tell her the same things – telling her the earthy truth little by little. If she asked us, we would tell her outright. We now straddle the fence of make believe.

I realize believing in some magic and the realm of possibility can’t be all that bad, as long as we keep the meaning in the sacred we wish to keep. So, we have slowly recreated ourselves, and recanted slightly what we taught in the past to our little ones, in hope of the flame of expectation remaining in them for a little while longer.

It really hit home when my daughter, after losing her first tooth, stood in the kitchen and said to me, “Daddy, I wish you never told me Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy were not real. It’s so much more fun to believe they are.”

My heart sank down into my pinky toe at that moment. All is not lost, however she still has a deep desire to cling to those beliefs. She hasn’t completely been led to the dark side – yet. There is always a chance for redemption from our blunders.

Somewhere between Myrtle Beach and Columbus, my daughter lost her second tooth.

Totally oblivious as to how, we think it may have been in a cheeseburger, but we’ll never really know. Nevertheless, it was time to exercise redemption for our errors against the Tooth Fairy.

My daughter wrote the sweetest letter ever written in history to the tooth fairy and placed it under her pillow. It was more or less a plea for a gift in the absence of a tooth lost in another sandwich; definitely worth something under that pillow in the morning.

Not with Homer and Marge Simpson at the helm.

Mommy and Daddy slept in and forgot the note was under the pillow – we did absolutely nothing.

Upon waking, she looks to see if a gift was left for her, that whole heart-sinking-to-my-pinky-toe thing happened again. My wife experienced the same thing, I know because I witnessed the “deer in the headlights” look all too clearly.

Despite our major foppery, we managed to squeak out a good explanation. To make a long story short, my daughter ended up with a trip to Petsmart and her very own fish and fish tank – due to the tooth fairy having a busy night.

She may be playing along, but she was giddy over a new fish and the fact that the tooth fairy wrote her back the next night to apologize. The magic still remains. Mrs. Fairy was officially let off the hook, as well as Mommy and Daddy.

Until Christmas gets here, of course.

Chris Jakubowicz lives in Columbus with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by e-mail at