Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jewish Tooth Fairy

I can't believe that I'm writing this, I can't believe that I have a need to figure this out right now.  But I do...

This past weekend while EG was in the loving care of my happy sister-in-law she had an incident.  She jumped off the slide and, in doing so, hit her chin with her knee.  Out popped one of her front teeth.  Thank goodness my SIL & BIL are kind and patient people, who took good care of EG.  She got ice cream, tylenol and a good old fashioned helping of Elsa and Anna. The girl couldn't have been happier.  Mommy however, absolutely devastated.

It's so so so so so hard to have something bad happen to your child.  Add to that the angst of not being there to do something about it. Nothing could be worse for a mother.

And so, here I find myself, debating the merits of the Tooth Fairy.  I took the time to poll just about everyone at Comic-Con what to say.  A few of my favorite responses:

"We got letters telling us our teeth were going to needy babies.  If we didn't brush well enough then she couldn't use our teeth.  I remember once giving a tooth, but not getting any money because she told me my teeth weren't clean enough"

"We had a tooth fairy, but I'm pretty sure I knew a day after she was introduced that she wasn't real."

Of course there were lots of people who didn't have that many memories, or really just didn't care one way or the other.

In my family we each had a different tooth fairy.  While there weren't any letters, etc, my Dad did spin great stories about our tooth fairies.  They were real people, and I honestly don't ever remember being upset about knowing they were fictional.  I don't remember that moment when I found out it was all a lie.

Since EG is so young, it's not like she's inundated at school with inquiries about the tooth fairy. Unlike Santa it's not like there is an army of Tooth Fairies coming out at the same time each year.  I asked my SIL if her kiddos mentioned it, just so I could see if the die had been cast.  She said her kids did mention it, but there has been no mention of it from EG at all.

I'm not sure about having a ceremony for the whole thing, but I did want to mark the occasion somehow.  EG, she wanted me to throw the tooth in the trash.  I wonder if she will remember that thought when I show her the album that has the tooth in later years..?

Turns out that Jewish kids are a step ahead in not believing the fantasies of childhood.  (I didn't access the whole article) Or maybe a step behind if you think about it that way.  There is something magical about having these characters as part of childhood- the idea behind them.  But there is also something sad about telling our children such lies.

I think I like this take on it best, which shows that sometimes even when you've answered your child directly, they don't really take these thoughts to heart as much as we think they do.  How often does EG forget what she's had for dinner, let alone the million of things I say in a day.

I did really like the idea of having a tooth fairy to help teach and learn about flossing, brushing, etc.  The girl at the Convention (yes you phone stealer and photo snapper!) whos parents told her the teeth are used for babies certainly had good motivation for keeping her teeth clean.  And for EG getting her to brush was a nightmare.   If I can have years of good teeth maintenance for the price of $.25 a tooth then I think I'm totally up for that....

This Rabbi is convinced that it doesn't really matter, and I think I agree with him.  He's kind in saying that it's not a lie, really, it's the same thing as running away from the dinosaur under the bed.  But his insistence on not paying kids for doing nothing...?  That one dosen't sit well with me.  As a commenter points out, there is a lot of work towards keeping your teeth healthy.

I think the ending news is that we've done nothing.  She didn't see the dentist until today, and for some reason I wanted to show her the tooth.  And EG isn't interested in putting it under her pillow- as I mentioned, she wants it in the trash.

We did say the Shehecyanu prayer, which we've been saying a lot lately.  I thought it was a good way to mark the occasion.  And it was so funny when we were going to my Dad's house (Grambe) that she told us that no one was supposed to tell him.  "No one.  Shhh"

For now I'll just have my holey grin cutie.  We'll really worry about the Tooth Fairy if/when she looses another tooth and asks about it.

Do you have the tooth fairy?  Any advice?

1 comment:

  1. I think the Tooth Fairy is non-denominational, not Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. This keeps her separated from the names which a child might learn about as they lbegin living their own religion: Jesus, Moses, Ganesh, Mohammed, etc. Religious principles and our religious leaders are for life; the Tooth Fairy is just for a fun season of that life.

    The Tooth Fairy is right there in the temporary fantasy world of fairies, trolls, elves, talking animals, and imaginary friends, and that's normal and fun for a child. A smart tooth fairy settles on one tangible thing which is left after each lost tooth, say, a big silver dollar. When EG is about 5 1/2, she will have lots of friends who start having loose teeth and talking about the tooth fairy. They will educate her about tooth fairy lore, and she will look forward to having a loose tooth and having the Tooth Fairy as a visitor. This lost tooth was a little different, since it was so sudden, and she wasn't preparing for it by the constant wiggling of the loose tooth which will precede the loss of each baby tooth. Nor did she know about the Tooth Fairy beforehand. Next time will be different! That delightful little season of her life will last for a few years, and then it will be over. Enjoy it.


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