I am becoming a regular visitor to the ‘Good Twin’ blog where Josh writes some very funny posts. One of his most recent was about the Tooth Fairy and how disappointed his son had been when the said magical creature had failed to leave any money under his pillow. Thinking of the Tooth Fairy reminded me of all the falsehoods I had told my two boys as they were growing up and what damage it might have done them. I quickly came to the conclusion that it is more likely the parents who are the ones who have been damaged. The children very quickly work out fact from fiction but, so as not to hurt our feelings, go along with the charade for many years.
I’m sure that my lads worked out fairly early on that there was no such thing as the ‘Tooth Fairy’ – but they were not going to say anything and risk a lucrative funding stream dry up. With hindsight I reckon I could have dismissed the idea of the Tooth Fairy early on and negotiated a better tooth/money rate of exchange based on things like size and condition of tooth. Instead they played the system and played me, telling me that the Tooth Fairy always left their friends a £1 coin and sometimes more (Irrespective of the size or condition of the tooth!)
Continuing the tooth theme – I remember telling them, as we prepared to go to the dentist for their first filling or extraction, that it wasn’t going to hurt. Yet I knew, from my own experiences, the chances were that it was going to hurt like hell. To compensate for this I would tell them that if they were really brave and didn’t cry I would treat them afterwards. Looking back I realise that the money I spent on those treats was as much to make me feel better about the lies I was telling my children as it was for any act of bravery on their part. What always amazed me was how the professionals also lied but seemed to have no qualms about it. I would listen as the dentist would say,”Don’t worry young man,” as the child settled nervously into the chair, “this is not going to hurt at all and if you are very brave I will give you a sticker. (I often wondered why, if it’s not going to hurt, do you need to be so brave?) When the boys finally emerged from the room, they would grin and proudly show me their “I Was Brave’ sticker. They would then ask if we were going straight to the toy shop to buy the expensive toy I had promised them. How come I could never get away with just a sticker?
Finally and, I suppose, inevitably we come to the biggest lie of all. The lie that is told every year to thousands of gullible people all over the world. I am of course referring to the one that says that Father Christmas is not real! Imagine my dismay last Christmas when my two boys, now 30 and 28 succumbed and sheepishly tried to tell me that Father Christmas was just a story, that he didn’t exist. I can’t imagine who has been feeding them this tale, I suppose it’s a sign of the age that we live in. It just shows that when your children finally fly the nest, you lose those final threads of control and they will be tempted to believe any rubbish anyone tells them!