Last night as Brendan climbed into bed, I transferred his tooth from the bag the dentist gave us to his Tooth Fairy pillow. As I did so Brendan started asking me questions about the Tooth Fairy. It was just like the great Santa debate all over again. He asked me why people were all telling him that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. My first question was who told him. When he confirmed it was his two best friends at school I knew we were in trouble, he takes everything they say as gospel.
Once I heard that I asked him what he thought. He looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t think she exists. I think its just you guys.” Well, Matt and I had decided long ago that we wouldn’t lie to Brendan when he came right out and said he didn’t believe. But at the same time I wasn’t prepared to have the conversation with him like that. Cameron was in the bottom bunk, supposedly sleeping, and I didn’t want to risk him hearing the truth. So I stalled for time and told Brendan we’d talk about it later.
He accepted that, and snuggled down to go to sleep. Stalling also gave me time to talk to Matt so we could make a game plan on exactly what we wanted to tell him and how. We decided to tell him everything. Because in our discussion about the Tooth Fairy, Brendan said that his best friend had also told him the Easter Bunny wasn’t real either. And with him already questioning Santa last Christmas we figured it was time to just come clean on all of the fictional characters. We also decided to tell him tonight no matter if he brought up the subject again or not.
Things didn’t go quite according to plan however. Brendan got up this morning and was excited to see that the Tooth Fairy had indeed brought him extra money for having that tooth pulled. He was going to go to school and tell all his friends what the Tooth Fairy had brought him. It was at that moment that I decided waiting until tonight would be doing him a disservice. The only thing it would do is open him up to potential riddicule from his friends and embarrasment as he’d have to go back to school tomorrow nad explain that he now knew the truth.
So I skipped giving Cameron and Kaylee baths, figuring I could always bathe them after I dropped off Brendan at school. I called Brendan into my room and told him all about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa. The funny thing is, when I sat him down and reminded him about our conversation from the night before and asked if he believed more now that he had his money from the Tooth Fairy he said, “Well, yes. But the look on your face tells me I shouldn’t.”
WHAT??!?!???! When did my 9 year old grow up and become so darn perceptive? And since when do I broadcast my emotions on my face so completely?
He took the news about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy rather well, though the brief look of shock on his face about Santa tells me we did a good job this winter deflecting his questions about the big man. We went on to discuss that Cameron and Kaylee still believed in all these characters and Brendan was now a part of keeping the secret. I told him that whenever possible he could help me plan the activities, or wrap the presents, and keep the dream alive for the kids. He seemed really excited about that part.
I also emphasized that we were never to talk about this. If he had questions he should wait until there were only adults in the room since he never knew which kids believed and which kids didn’t. He had a few questions for me at that point, mainly about the gifts he’d just received at Easter. But one question was specifically about the tooth fairy. He wanted to know where we got the money.
The reason he was asking me this is because we’ve always given him golden dollars as Tooth Fairy money. Now a dollar is considerably more than I ever got for my teeth as a kid, but the idea was that golden money was more “magical” than regular silver change. And since every change machine at my work gave out golden dollars we stocked up on them before I left my job. I explained this all to Brendan and told him that we keep a stash of golden dollars just for kids losing teeth, and that every time we emptied his piggy bank because he spent his money we’d filter them back into our stash.
I knew this day was coming, and despite trying to mentally prepare myself for it I was still sad to finally reveal the truth to Brendan. It’s not losing the secret itself that upsets me, I know from experience there’s still plenty of ways to have fun with Brendan on holidays even though he doesn’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny (my parents gave us Santa presents until we got out of highschool–mainly to keep some hidden until the last second, and did Easter egg hunts until around the same time–because they’re fun whether you believe in the bunny or not).
No, what makes me sad is that my little boy is growing up. I know it’s inevitable, but every reminder breaks my heart just a little bit more.