I was putting my daughter to bed the other night, and by putting her to bed I mean going through a 99-step process that ends at least an hour after it begins, and that’s on a good night. For the last two weeks, she keeps asking me when her next tooth will come out, and can we pleaseee read the “Berenstain Bears Go To the Dentist”?
My princess has been incessantly wiggling and jiggling her second loose tooth. After losing her first tooth at camp without even noticing, and probably swallowing it, or having it vacuumed up by the synagogue custodians, she is determined to make sure she gets to put this one under her pillow for the tooth fairy.
Despite not having the first tooth, the tooth fairy came, and was not only generous, but brought a great letter too. E even wrote her own beautiful letter to the tooth fairy explaining what happened and told her she hoped she would come anyway. She was so ecstatic, she leaped into our room the next morning with a smile for days. With the most amazing enthusiasm, she screamed, “She DID come!!!!” It was so much fun for her, and might even been more fun for me.
So the other night as we were lying in her bed, talking about that second loose tooth, what the tooth fairy might bring this time, and how on earth she knew the first time that E likes “Paw Patrol,” I could see the light in her eyes. The innocence. The magic.
In a Jewish home where there is no Santa Claus and no Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy is the start and the end of magic entities that slip in and out, seemingly unnoticed except for the gifts and money. Because of this, the Tooth Fairy is even more magical to my daughter. I’m not sure what she knows about Santa or the Easter Bunny (I’m guessing not much…our group of friends isn’t exactly diverse), but because the Tooth Fairy is her one and only, she is very special to E.
She has so many questions: “What does she look like? Where does she live? Does she have a Mommy, Daddy, Bubbe, Grandpa, and a brother like I do?” And of course, again, “How did she know I like ‘Paw Patrol?’” I tried to answer ambiguously, often turning the questions back to her to see what she thought. Her answers are insightful and adorable, just like my little girl.
As a Jewish parent, there isn’t a lot of gift-giving mystery. We buy Hanukkah presents and afikomen prizes. I mostly like that; I like getting the credit for my own hard work as opposed to giving it to some “fictional” being, especially when it comes to big gifts.
I have to admit, though: Seeing my daughter’s face after the tooth fairy visits is heartwarming. She still believes in the magic of the whole idea, and feels as if she is as special to the tooth fairy as the tooth fairy is to her. This is more than worth not getting the credit.