26 August 2010

Lie to Me

The Tooth Fairy made her first appearance at our house last night.

The Professor has been wiggling his two front bottom teeth for days now, so it wasn't a big surprise when he came running up to me last night just before bedtime with a tiny little incisor nestled in the palm of his hand.

We enthroned said dental detritus in a small jewelery box I had on hand and tucked it neatly under his pillow in anticipation of a nocturnal nod from a Toothy Tinkerbell.

Turns out, the going rate for a tooth has gone up a bit since the days when I was on the collecting end of the deal. I seem to recall being excited to find not one, but two! shiny quarters under my pillow. Apparently, the Tooth Fairy is dealing in paper money these days. Who knew?

So, this morning when The Professor came running down the hallway all of a dither, it was not his tiny tooth he was clutching, but "two whole dollars!" (Hey, I said it was paper money, I didn't say it was a lot of it.) Such a deal.

Honestly, it was just as much fun for me as for them to see the Minions so excited at the prospect of a visit from The Tooth Fairy. But, it does raise some interesting thoughts on the subject of the gentle fictions we perpetuate to our kids.

I wonder if I'm just a bit hypocritical about the subject.

See, I try pretty hard not to lie to my kids. And to be clear with them about the difference between truth and fiction.

They know, for example, that superheroes and yeti and vampires and dragons and Jedi and wizards (even Harry Potter) are - in addition to being great fun - all fiction. And that knights and samurai and cowboys and pirates were, historically, "real".

Well, The Professor knows all of that: Bam-Bam still thinks he might get to meet Scooby Doo one day. ;)

Given our religious beliefs - or, perhaps more accurately, the lack thereof - we've also had a few age-appropriate discussions about a variety of religious and historical myths, too. In fact, we're just getting started on working on our Spiral Scouts Mythology Badge. Fun! :) So, we've talked about the difference between history and myth. And I'm trying to build a foundation for the truth that one person can "know" that something is "real" that another person "knows" is "not real" - that's a tricky one. :)

Gosh, looking back on what I just wrote, it sounds like I'm a boring old soul who wants to squash the fun and magic out of everything, doesn't it? But, actually, it's just the opposite that's true: I love the magic of "pretend" - I just don't think that it's necessary to "fib" to my kids for them to experience it.

We have a great time with "pretend" play of all kinds, but I think it's good for kids to know the difference. When they ask me if something in a book or a movie or that they heard at school is "real", I try to answer truthfully and age-appropriately.

And yet ... I gleefully perpetuate the myths of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

I can't quite place my finger on what it is, but there's something about those stories that feel more like a wink-and-a-nod than a Little White Lie. Maybe because they're so strongly ingrained in our culture? Maybe, like so many things, good and bad, we really just do it to our kids because our parents did it to us?

Or maybe the bottom line is that I'm just such a sucker for those moments when the Minions' faces light up with unmitigated delight at the idea that maybe there is just a little bit of "real" magic in the world after all.


Meh, I can live with that.

Just don't tell Santa. I want him to bring me that pony this year.

How about you? Do (or did) your kids believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy or the like? Do you think it's a good thing? A bad thing? Neither? Does anyone else even think about these things? Or is it just me? ;)

And, hey, just what is the going rate for a tooth these days? I have about 39 more to go, after all! A Tooth Fairy needs to budget for these things!


13 August 2010

It isn't just one of your holiday games

Astute readers may note that my children are nameless.

Well, not really. But, like most blogging parents, I don't use my kids' real names here. Up until now, I've mostly referred to them as "The Minions" or "the 5yo" or "the 3yo" (creative, no?) or, on occasion "demons of wind and light". Oh, wait, no, that last one is just in my head. Sorry.

However, I think the time has come to give The Minions their own blog-onyms.

And so let it be known throughout the kingdom that, henceforth, Minion-The-Younger shall be known as "Bam-Bam" and The Eldest Minion shall be known as "The Professor".

Allow me to introduce you to the cast, shall I?

Bam-Bam is the youngest and I have been known to comment that if he'd been the eldest, he'd have been an only child. Mostly because I would never have had the energy to have another one. He is fierce. He does everything with enthusiasm. Why walk, when you can run? Why sit when you can dance? He has been, on occasion, compared to a hyperactive squirrel on speed. In a race car. In a hurricane. Let's just say, the boy has a lot of energy. He also has no concept of his own mortality. I do love his unfettered zest for life. But it also makes him my child most likely to end up in cast before first grade.

The Professor, on the other hand, was recently voted "Most Likely to Blow up the House (But with Good Intentions)". His favorite show is Mythbusters and his favorite pastime is "inventing stuff". He is fastidious about his person - he doesn't like being dirty or splashed, even with water. And yet he dislikes cleaning up his room. One on hand, he's very logical and even-tempered for a 5-year-old. And on the other, he can throw a screaming tantrum like nobody's business. A complex dichotomy is our little Professor.

So there you have our merry crew. And now you know, if we ever meet, why I look so darned tired. :)

Bloggers, do you have blog nicknames for your kids? How did you come up with them?


* Blog Title: The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot