When my son lost his first tooth at 6…
…and I was forced to sneak into his room, mess with his pillow without awaking him, slip coinage under, and then ninja it out of there, I remember thinking: “This is bullshit. I’m telling WB specifically tomorrow that this is bullshit. No. That seems harsh. I’ll go with: It’s a fucking hoax”.
It is the most hypocritical thing we do as parents, right? Pounding into their little craniums the importance of honesty and then introducing them to cultural lies on a bi-monthly basis. Tooth Fairies. Easter Bunnies. Strangers breaking into your house at night named Nick.
But as angry as I was that I was going to have to keep up the lie while my son lost…(how many teeth does the average human have?…64?)…64 teeth, I didn’t pull the chord.
In a perhaps unconscious way, we have tied the innocence of youth to those mythical creations. The second the curtain is drawn, and the bridge is crossed, you are welcoming your children to the cynicism and the crap that is adulthood. And no parent is excited to make that introduction.
So now, as WB makes a crash landing into pre-teen-dom, and logic takes over for fantasy, I still can’t seem to bring myself to have that conversation.
I have trapped him inside a car and had the forced conversation about wet dreams, but not this chat.
He has danced around the fact that he knows; the jig is up. But somewhere in my brain, and as much as I would love nothing more than to stop secretly collecting baby teeth, it feels like that conversation is a bizarre betrayal. We have been lying. We have been perpetuating that lie regularly, and with enthusiasm.
And they’re like a criminal gang: you rat one out, the whole operation crumbles.
I’m hoping one day he’ll just give us the look that says: “I know. And now you know that I know. And it’s cool that you’ve been lying for 10+ years. Now can you make me pancakes?” (the pancake look is easy to decipher).
And I will. I will make those pancakes with aplomb because I may dislike some of our cultures traditions but that doesn’t change that I’m in no rush to slow down on the mothering.