The tooth fairy has been working overtime at our house lately. Between Miss 6 losing two teeth in two days and Miss nine losing her 10th tooth, the tooth fairy might need to get a second job. I mean since when did it become common practice for the tooth fairy to leave 20 dollars? That said this particular tooth fairy has had a few near misses. Take the time; my eldest lost her tooth around three weeks after her baby brother was born. I went to bed telling myself, “Don’t forget the tooth, the tooth, THE TOOTH!” Only to be awoken from a tearful seven year old wondering why the tooth fairy hadn’t taken her precious tooth all nicely wrapped in tissues and placed in the special box. Fortunately through my extremely sleep deprived haze I was able to diffuse the situation due to “the tooth fairy not working on public holidays”: I mean I am forever in debt to the queen for allowing us to have a public holiday for her birthday.
There was also the time when not long after, yet another visit from the tooth fairy was required. This time I did remember at 5.00am when the baby woke screaming for a feed and was relieved and somewhat chuffed that I was going to be able to get through this tooth fairy visit with ease. Well, yep disposing of the tooth and depositing of the money was easy enough, the four page double sided questionnaire left out for the tooth fairy to complete, not so much! I mean,” I’m sorry darling but the tooth fairy really doesn’t know what happens to all your teeth when she flies back to her castle!”
With Miss six, I was pretty sure I had this tooth fairy thing covered. She’s pretty chill, leave tooth in box and you will receive dollars!!! (Fairly money oriented that one!) That was until Miss 9 got in her ear. You have to ask lots of questions. The tooth fairy loves that! Bugger!!! Another sleepy completion of questions designed just for the tooth fairy. Now, I’ve always been pretty good at disguising my handwriting, but this particular morning Miss 9 looked at the questionnaire, looked at me and the jig was up. “Mum that looks a lot like your writing.” “What, no darling of course not, can’t you see this has been completed by Bertie the tooth fairy (names don’t come easy to me early in the morning). “Mum that is definitely your writing”. Again Bugger. And so the conversation began. “Yes, mummy is the tooth fairy, but you must keep this a secret from your brother and sister as they are littler than you…Blah, Blah, Blah. You know how it goes.
Now Miss nine took this pretty well. She informed me for awhile she had thought that the tooth fairy wasn’t real because how can she possibly fly around all night leaving money especially because she is so small and all that money must be so heavy. She has a fair point. But then she looked me square in the eyes with a thoughtful expression on her face and said “but Mum, Santa is real isn’t he?” And here I was faced with that question that I so did not want to EVER answer so what did I do? Well like all good parents I lied. “Yes sweetheart of course Santa is real.” You see, this close to the end of the year I really wanted my little girl to have one last Christmas full of magic. I wanted one last Christmas for her to experience the excitement, joy, innocence and happiness that come with being a child. The problem was she wasn’t buying anything that I was selling. And so over multiple weeks I dodged and weaved around the question brushing it off every time she asked me, until she looked at me with her beautiful big blue eyes and said “Mum, I really want to know the truth.” And so the conversation I had been dreading (even more than the birds and the bees talk I tell you) took place. I’m not going to lie. It was hard. She cried, I cried and to be honest I don’t think I handled it that well. You see, I could vividly recall my parents sitting me down to have the Santa talk and how devastated I felt afterwards and how much I felt Christmas had changed for me and I really didn’t want that for my little girl. So I stumbled my way through it, did the best job I could and hoped for the best. Not long after we went out for breakfast and she raised the conversation again with me. This time I think I handled it much better. We spoke openly about how Christmas and Santa is about believing in things we cannot necessarily see or touch; about how she could now be my special helper to help continue the magic for her brother and sister; and about how no matter what, that when she was a mummy herself she would really truly understand that amazing joyful feeling you get when you see your little girl or boy light up when they see that Santa has visited them. She thought carefully about this and again looked at me with that beautiful face and whispered “Do you know what I think mum? I think no one really even knows if there is a real Santa and maybe one day we will find out that he really is for real!.” And I looked at her and I thought that statement right there is why I love the innocence and magic of childhood. Where children do have that belief in things they can’t necessarily see or touch, where joy is all about jumping in puddles and seeing a “real life train” (my 2 year old boy) and where maybe just maybe a jolly man in a red suit will fill your stocking with your favourite toys and games. We can learn a lot from our kids and enjoy the magic and excitement that is Christmas and Santa if you are reading this “I have been really good this year an I-Phone5 wouldn’t go astray!”
Kath Keiper is the co-creator of three beautiful children who while driving her crazy, make her laugh everyday. Having been a paediatric speech pathologist for over 15 years, Kath has also spent her life dedicated to helping children and families. Through her career Kath has been fortunate to speak at varying events such as the World Autism Congress and Speech Pathology Australia. Being able to make a positive difference in many children and families lives has always been Kath’s highlight. Her love of helping children, making a difference and performing, have also been the driving force behind the creation of her first DVD for children “Can you sound like me?”