Diary Adventures of LagosMums: The case of the tooth fairy
Where did the tooth fairy originate? Have you ever thought about it?
I suddenly realized that I did not want to encourage the idea of the tooth fairy. I had not really thought about how or what I felt about the tooth fairy till I was asked by Tam so matter of factly about it. I had to quickly think if I was happy to bring the tooth fairy to our house every time a milk tooth made its exit. Was I being too tough? Is it one of those childhood beliefs that would harm her if I didn’t follow this myth about the tooth fairy. I had thought we could simply Thank God that she is developing well and that her tooth is falling off when expected. Perhaps take pictures of before and after and wait to see when the adult tooth will grow to replace the gap. Mind you all this was going through my mind while she had an expectant look on her face waiting for my answer about when the tooth fairy was coming.
You know there are some parenting moments you just cannot plan for! Who would ever read in a “what to expect” book about what your beliefs about the tooth fairy is? Anyway facing her inquisitive face and expectant look I decided to just go for it.
I told her there is no tooth fairy coming, we should be happy her tooth has fallen off because this means that she is a big girl and that a new tooth will be coming in soon. She still did not look totally convinced and asked “so no one is coming?” I said the tooth angel who is in charge of teeth knows that her first tooth has fallen off and will let God know. She finally seemed content with that explanation and asked rhetorically whether she would see the angel when it comes. At this point I kind of muttered something and changed the topic.
After reading about the origins of the tooth fairy I am happy we got rid of the idea of the tooth fairy relatively quickly and easily. The origin of the tooth fairy started from rituals and superstition that suggested that if a witch got hold of a fallen tooth, a curse could be placed on the child. So the tooth was hidden to ensure that this would not happen, this eventually morphed into hiding teeth under pillows. Another link I read claimed that research found that belief in the tooth fairy may provide comfort to a child experiencing fear or pain resulting from the loss of a tooth. This is funny to me because I think we should just tell the child the truth. Afterall on average a child loosing his or her tooth is about 5 years old and is pretty aware enough to understand that the loss of the tooth allows adult teeth to grow. Most children are happy to understand that they are growing up and becoming big girls and boys.
As parents we really have to try and understand the root of what we are taking from the world and passing on to our children.
photo source: tumblr.com