Friday, May 7, 2010

Keep the tooth fairy and easter bunny in check!

Madeline recently lost her first tooth. We placed it in her special tooth fairy pillow and anxiously awaited the first arrival of the tooth fairy. Sure enough the faithful little fairy made her debut in our home. She was very nervous, having no idea how stressful it would be trying to pry that little pillow out from under a sleeping child’s head, knowing said child was determined to wake up and finally catch a fairy in action. Those fairies are always messing with her and she has yet to catch one red handed. This was her chance. But somehow, a very jittery and sweaty palmed tooth fairy managed to pull it off undetected.

The next morning, Madeline came running out of her room holding her gift from the tooth fairy, with a big missing tooth grin on her face. “MOMMY THE TOOTH FAIRY CAME AND LEFT ME ONE DOLLAR!” She was thrilled.

The next day, I overheard her telling a friend about her tooth fairy experience. “You only got a dollar? The tooth fairy leaves me $15 dollars.” Madeline looked at me in horror. I was tempted to knock out a few of her friend’s new big girl teeth, just to see how much those would be worth. But instead, I looked at her and said “your tooth fairy (a child psychologist, no less) must have trouble seeing in your room at night because she clearly screwed up.” And that was the end of that. No guilt on my end, just utter disgust towards the parent who’s fucked up values just cast a shadow on my daughter’s first tooth fairy glow.

It used to really annoy me that I would have to justify this stuff to my child, like why her friends got video games or a new bike from the Easter Bunny when she only got candy and bubbles. Now I welcome the opportunity to teach her a little lesson on values:

Madeline, in this family, we earn those special things. Remember last month when you worked so long and hard planning your little brother’s birthday party and I was so proud of you for doing something so kind for someone else that I took you out and got you a new webkinz, or when we got you that new DS game a few months ago because you brought home a perfect report card, or when I finally took you to the toy store to get that special fairy box that you had been working so hard for because, despite telling me over and over again how very nervous you were to get up and perform at your first piano recital, you raised you hand and volunteered to go second and got up there and played beautifully? You earned those things, and you should be very proud. I sure am!

We hear a lot about children today having a false sense of entitlement. Our society is doing a terrible job setting an example for them. We want them to be successful in a cut throat, do or die, eat or be eaten business world where they’ll have to work their life away and strive for upper class or else struggle to have food on the table and a roof over their head, yet we have created a world in which we raise them to think that fairies and bunnies are going to bring them whatever their hearts desire.

I told my daughter that if these (spoiled-I struggled to omit this word for her sake) kids are getting $15 for a tooth, or getting toys for easter that could never fit in an easter basket, then their parents are the ones getting these gifts for them. Yes, she may blow their cover, and I’m not sorry.

Save the overindulgence for Santa Claus. He has that big sleigh to haul gifts and a whole tree bottom to fill up. And even he has a naughty list!