My daughter is seven, which puts her square at the age where skepticism has seeped into her brain. Or maybe it's all of the mystery books she likes to read. Either way, she took an agnostic approach to Santa this year, announcing at one moment that she knows parents put the toys into the stockings, but a moment later, sincerely asking if it's possible to see Rudolph's nose in the sky as Santa flew around. I prepared my answers for when she asked me about Santa - possible options were: only those who believe, receive or that Santa and the spirit of Christmas lives in our hearts...blah blah blah - but if asked directly, I would answer truthfully. I'd always imagined we were alone for this conversation, so when she did ask me, it was in the car with her three year old brother present. I panicked, said it was late and asked that we continue the conversation in the morning. When she never brought it up again, I thought we were okay for a little while longer. By next Christmas she will have found her truth, for sure, but what I didn't expect was for her to lose a tooth on Christmas Day, reigniting her issues of faith and belief.
"Listen," my daughter said while holding her tooth. "I want this tooth. It's my fravorite. I know you are the tooth fairy, so can I just get my dollar now and keep the tooth?" Luckily the pitch was made to me, someone who is most definitely not the tooth fairy, and not to my husband, who places an extremely high value on getting to sleep early. Also, my daughter is a hoarder, so even if I was the tooth fairy, the thought of her keeping anything else in her room - even a tiny tooth - bothered me. Soon after I said no, my husband jumped in to say that with the tooth fairy, there needs to be an exchange. It's not only about leaving money. The tooth fairy wants the tooth in exchange. She sulked off to her room to work on Plan B, which turned out to be simple - and timeless. Her plan was to stay awake all night, watching her tooth.
After a long Christmas day, my husband and I wanted to go to sleep early, but now we were forced to stay awake too. My husband proposed waking up during the middle of the night, but because we were both exhausted, that plan could too easily fail. We waited and waited until finally at midnight, when the coast was clear. Glitter dust in hand, my husband went into her room to access the situation, only to come back a minute later saying the tooth was gone. He was ready to give up, but I forced him back out with his little headlamp to find the tooth. I was worried that if my daughter woke up, not only would she never believe in the tooth fairy, but she was likely to have nightmares from the headlamp. After a few minutes, he came back to say it was really gone.
My daughter came out of her room the next morning annoyed at the tooth fairy. There was no tooth and no money, but a note explaining the exchange could not happen. The tooth is still missing, but a note left that night from my daughter may explain the situation more: "Dear tooth fariy, Can you please leave me a dollor and let me keep my tooth? It is just that this tooth is my faiveorite tooth. If you need to do the exechange, can you please leave me two or three dollors? And sense it is x-mas, can you please leave me extra presents? If you will please, Gogo's, Pokemon are awsome!"
Two shrewd negotiators went head to head, but a deal could not be struck. I don't know if I will ever know who ended up with the tooth.