Petra, ripping back the shower curtain to look in at me: “I have something very important to say…”
Me, wondering what the hell it might be: “Ahh…”
Petra: “There are no other kinds of fairies are there?”
Me, remembering yesterday’s conversation about the tooth fairy and so, luckily, being able to keep up: “No, fairies are made up.”
Petra: “But the tooth fairy is real. She collects teeth and leaves money.”
We discuss the tooth fairy’s financial obligations for a while, and then Petra asks the kicker question.
Petra: “What does the tooth fairy do with the teeth?”
Me, bereft of inspiration: “I don’t know.”
Petra: “I’ll ask dad, he might know.” Closes the shower curtain and leaves.
I feel really uncomfortable about the evading, prevaricating, and outright lying involved in Christmas and the tooth fairy. And I worry that she’ll feel betrayed when she finds out that we were making it all up. But I don’t want to spoil her sense of wonder or ruin the pleasure she gets from believing that the world around her is filled with magic. It’s an awkward situation, and not one that I’d considered at all until Petra started discussing Christmas with me. Parenting leads you to some strange and wonderful places.