How NOT To Tell Your Kid About Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny
DON’T Tell Your Kid When You’re Angry
I can’t tell you how tempted I was to tell my daughter the whole, unvarnished truth about Santa this past Christmas season. I had absolutely zero patience with her mal-, mis-, poor, bad, and generally disrespectful treatment of me. Not that it happens a lot. I am blessed with a good girl who is very kind, generous, and empathetic, even to her mother. But, well…she was 10-going-on-15, going through the beginnings of puberty. But, yes, she still categorically believed in Santa Claus. In fact, even when she was 5, she spared me the trouble and, especially, the expense, of things she wanted and went straight to Santa, that magical childhood source of all things desired. When she was 5, she wanted a Nintendo DS, and she knew things were tough for us, financially. Luckily for me, she always started her Christmas list just after celebrating her Springtime birthday. I saved scrupulously for six months and Santa did, indeed, bring her a Nintendo DS that year.
And, no, I did NOT tell her about Santa right before (or right after) Christmas, even in my angriest, least patient moments. I couldn’t be that mean. Plus, how was I going to explain that I had lied to her? I’ve never lied to her. Well, except for the time I may have told her that the fried zucchini were actually green potatoes.
DON’T Tell Your Kid the Day After S/He Loses a Tooth
Just because your kid is 11 (or, heaven forfend, older), don’t be tempted to text or tell your child about the Tooth Fairy when s/he gets home from school on the day right after the Tooth Fairy has made her appearance (and, worse, left a note); your kid might just come home from baseball practice having lost another tooth. And he’ll still want the money.
I told mine about the Tooth Fairy three days after TF made what I’d decided was her last appearance, and after I’d written a note hinting that pretty soon her Tooth Fairy, Arlette, would become “one of your childhood myths.” Nice touch, don’t you think?
Of course, as soon as I’d told my darling daughter, she inspected all of Arlette’s notes from over the years (who knew DD had saved them all?!) and immediately wanted to know why Arlette’s handwriting didn’t seem to match mine. I couldn’t very well tell her that I’d become an expert forge in 7th grade, thanks to all my brother’s friends who needed notes “signed” by their parents, to excuse absences from school that their parents didn’t actually know about. So, I went to the sink, ran the water, started scrubbing pans…and pretended I hadn’t heard the question.
Do NOT Name the Tooth Fairy! We Can't Keep Her/Him.
After I'd told her that yes, I was her Tooth Fairy, she grilled me about her Tooth Fairy’s name. “How did you come up with Arlette?” asked Darling Daughter. I grinned sheepishly and told her that Arlette was a real person, a friend of a friend I’d met when I lived in France. It just seemed like such a great Tooth Fairy name. So, of course, logically, DD’s next question was, “You lived in France?! AND YOU NEVER TOLD ME?!”
Sigh. I can’t win.
DON’T Tell Your Kid Three Days Before Easter
So, now here it was Holy Thursday and my darling daughter knew The Truth about Santa and her Tooth Fairy. I should have expected her to grill me about the Easter Bunny. Only I didn’t. Expect it, that is.
In my defense, I didn’t expect her to ask about the Easter Bunny because I thought she already knew he was fake. She had told me just the week before that her grandmother had told her, years ago, that the Easter Bunny at Lord & Taylor was really just a person in a bunny costume. Naturally, I assumed my darling daughter had put two and two together.
And she wailed, “Couldn’t you have waited till after Easter to tell me all these things?!”
So, that saying? “There’s no time like the present…?” Well, it isn’t true. There’s nevera good time to tell these truths to your child, no matter how old. Except maybe in summer. But I didn’t think of that. Oops. (Then, again, I don't want DD to stop believing in Mickey Mouse yet, do I?)