Boys: Demented & Dangerous,  Deep Thoughts

In Which Bill Is Right

Our children are big believers in any fantastical creatures that can visit your house throughout the year and leave gifts. I had a bit of a problem preventing elf-mania from taking over our household last Christmas, but I lucked out. And don’t think I miss the irony in having a child who knows all about sex yet still professes to believe in Santa.

Additionally, the boys like to write notes for Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, quizzing them about their diet, their habitat and other random facts. In my view, a smart parent will take those notes, carefully date them on the back, and file them away for safekeeping so you can pull them out in twenty years and remember how precious it was when Sammy asked for a machete for Christmas.

Bill believes that these notes should be answered, despite the many dangerous issues raised by the practice. What if the child wakes while the note is gone? What if the child recognizes handwriting or a turn of phrase? What if the answers given to one child are inconsistent with those given to another? I have voiced each of these concerns in the past and have succeeded in convincing Bill to take the notes and run.

However, the boys are getting older. Last week Finn confided to Bill that he had detected several black hairs in his armpit, and maybe one near his willie. The next day Finn lost a molar and left it, along with a lengthy questionnaire, under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

In light of the possible pubic hair sighting, Bill grew misty-eyed over the thought that his days as the Fairy were coming to an end. He delivered a dollar, returned with Finn’s note, and demanded that I respond to it.

“What the hell?” I asked. “You know my position on this. It’s foolhardy. Plus, the kid already knows about sex. You don’t really think he still believes in the Tooth Fairy, do you?”

“What does the Tooth Fairy have to do with making sweet love, honey?” Bill asked. “Not a damn thing. Our kids are getting older and we won’t have these years forever. We’ll be in our rocking chairs at the old folks’ home drinking iced tea and you’re going to wish we’d answered these letters when our boys were little.”

“Okay Mr. Old Folks,” I conceded. “You can answer it.”

“But you’re the writer,” Bill begged. “You’re so great at this stuff. I can’t think of anything to say.” He looked at me pleadingly.

“I won’t do it,” I said.

“You will,” Bill said, “because I’m such a talented Fairy that I took all your New Yorkers and I’m holding them hostage until you answer Finn’s note.”

I glanced by my bed and swore. All that was there were the remnants of the Sunday Times and a tattered Us Weekly.

“Hand it over,” I said darkly. I looked at the note.

Finn had asked all kinds of questions. The damn thing looked like an employment application. I had law school exams that took less time to complete.

I grabbed a pen and in fairy-like writing, painstakingly began filling out the form. When I was done, I had created Tooth Fairy Queen Helene, female occupant of Cloud #9. Bill tried to fall asleep while I answered the questions on the Tooth Fairy’s behalf, but I stuck a washcloth under some cold water and slapped it on his belly and this kept him wide awake so he could suffer, too. Here’s the finished product:

fairy1 (click to enlarge)

This took place the same day as my day of beauty, which is why the Tooth Fairy ended up with the name Queen Helene. And as long as I was undertaking the project, I got in a few digs about Finn’s spelling and his messy room. Sighing, I handed the note back to Bill.

“This is the dumbest thing I have ever done as a parent,” I said.

Bill didn’t share my attitude. He read my answers and howled. “You’re awesome, honey!” he said. “Finn will love this! How do you think this stuff up?”

Before Bill put the note back under Finn’s pillow, I insisted that he accompany me to the basement to scan the document so we’d have a record of the Tooth Fairy’s answers. That way she could be consistent if questioned closely again. Bill thought scanning the Tooth Fairy letter was a bit much, but I wanted to be certain the Tooth Fairy had a stable identity.

Scanning the note was a brilliant idea. The next day Drew’s orthodontist recommended that he have two teeth pulled as soon as possible. Two nights later, Bill was the Fairy again, and returned to the bedroom with yet another note.

Drew’s letter was actually pretty cute, and much less like a government document. The stars and picture were endearing and made a much better impression on me.


I took the note to the basement and looked up my answers to Finn’s questionnaire, and then filled out Drew’s. I was consistent, yet I added a few interesting details about Queen Helene’s life.


The following week Porter broke his front permanent tooth in half during gym. Drew, ever resourceful, retrieved the broken piece and accompanied Porter to the health room where they called Bill after they were unable to reach me. According to Bill, Porter was upset that his tooth would be glued back together immediately, and that he would not be allowed an evening to leave the shard under his pillow, collect on it, and then submit it for reconstruction.

When they came home, Finn and Drew were equally mad, because while Porter was at the dentist, they’d assembled a paper plate full of miniature marshmallows and had a cup and tea bag ready to make tea for Queen Helene’s visit. I made Bill break the news that Porter’s tooth was whole again and that Queen Helene would not be flying over that night.

Although I thought answering the notes would surely reveal the Tooth Fairy’s true identity, so far the boys have not appeared to catch on.  Finn has lectured his brothers about the importance of never asking a lady her age, as it is impolite, so at least they learned some good manners from the whole thing.

I never thought I’d say it, but I’ve actually enjoyed the whole experience. Watching the boys set out tea and marshmallows for Queen Helene was entertaining.

Bill is right.

These days won’t last forever.


  • amy

    This is too sweet. The days of Santa and fairies won’t last forever. Enjoy it while you can 🙂 You give me hope that all the monster truck car racing construction railroads may give way for a few mystical moments in our house as well 🙂

  • MetroDad

    You rock! This is a fantastic idea and a good way to encourage kids to write. I’m totally going to use this with our kid(s). By the way, “My customers are my family” totally cracked me up. Too funny.

  • Audrey

    Our friends have convinced their kids that a leprachaun comes early on March 17th. So, they help the kids write a limmerick and leave out scotch for the visitor…and the kids are rewarded with a limmerick back and bags of gold coin candies. So cute and a lesson in writing, too!

  • Leeny

    This is so sweet! What a good sport you are! My parents didn’t do any of that with us. I didn’t do the Santa thing with my daughter because we celebrated German-style (opening gifts Christmas Eve – my mother was German) and only did the tooth fairy thing for a little while with her. I always remembered when I was a girl that another girl was very upset when she learned that Santa wasn’t real. That’s where I had gotten the idea not to go down that road so much. I never realized my daughter would grow up to tell me she feels she missed out! She has a toddler now and will do all the make-believe stuff with him. ~sigh~

  • Chrissy

    I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your Tooth fairy information for when my son gets older. I don’t think I would be able to come up with anything quite as sweet. Beautiful.

  • Christi

    That’s really cute. When I was little my Mom would leave little notes from the tooth fairy written in tiny handwriting on tiny paper since I belived she was so small. 🙂 I think I still have some of them. It made me so happy to find them under my pillow with the $$ she left.

  • liz

    Oh, this is so lovely!

    My sister was my tooth fairy (’cause of the joint custody, she was the only person who would consistantly be there), and left teeny tiny notes along with money and a hershey’s kiss.

  • pbuchanan

    Maybe I’m just having an emotional day, but this made me want to cry. My boys are teenagers now. Thanks for reminding me of all the fun we’ve had in the past! Now on to girls, sports, and heaven forbid–driving!

  • Katrina

    So very sweet and wonderful! I’m afraid my very logical seven year old has already busted us on the tooth fairy thing. She just blurted out in the car on the way to school, “Is the tooth fairy real or pretend?” Not wanting to damage my 100% truth telling record, I had to spill the beans, since she didn’t leave me much room to equivocate.

    She didn’t seem too traumatized by it, but we’ll see what she thinks when those quarters stop coming. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this!

  • clearlykels

    I LOVED that. We got notes back occasionally. The way my mom avoided telling us about Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny was turning it back around on us. I asked her about Santa Claus– she said that it was whatever I believed– however, only believers get presents. I’m the oldest and looking back on it I am very impressed with how my mom managed to keep me quiet on my own accord.

  • Joy East of the Kingdom

    When my oldest was little and the Tooth Fairy started visiting our home, she had a hard time with “the exchange.” The teeth were really small and hard to find in the dark and the money (usually quarters) would slide down the back of the bed and we’d have the whole “the toothfairy didn’t leave money” drama. So I came up with an envelope system that’s worked pretty well over the years with my 3 children. They put the tooth in an envelope marked “Tooth Fairy” and then I would put the money in an envelope with “Thank you for the beautiful tooth! Love, the Tooth Fairy” in my absolute smallest handwriting (I mean teeny tiny)It’s never failed to impress not only my children, but also their friends. I wish I’d had your answer about the different amounts of money after one grandmother left $10.00 for a tooth lost over her weekend!

    I was TF for I think the very last time night before last, as my youngest, now 11, put what we think is her very last baby tooth (including a bit of the SugarDaddy that wrenched it free that we couldnt clean off) in an envelope and I wrote my last tiny note.

  • Adrienne

    OMG i cant wait. I am looking forward to doing these kinds of things with DivaLoo. Thank you for giving me a reason to be excited about the future with my daughter. Before this I was just dreading the teenage years, because until now? I forgot about all the adorable stuff in between

  • Taylor Mae

    How funny, I wonder why they leave full forms? I never believed in any of that, none of us kids did, it must be nice to haved a bit of magic.

  • Shell

    You are quite the Mom. 🙂 For some reason I’m a little misty-eyed over this post … excuse me while I grab a tissue. As always, thanks for sharing.

  • baseballmom

    That is so cool, you guys are awesome! I am dreading the day that my oldest (10) figures out the whole tooth fairy, Santa, Easter bunny thing-he’s always been so sweet and innocent, I sometimes wonder if he “believes” just ’cause I want him to so badly! I’m sure he’ll get suspicious soon 🙁