I thought I had a problem explaining what a tampon was to my girls, but as it turns out, I have a hard time explaining anything in a way that makes any sense.
Maybe it’s my 4-year-old’s year-long streak of three questions per second that’s worn my brain down to rice pudding. Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people who can’t give you the definition of a word without using the word in my definition.
Maybe it’s because I’m making up a ridiculous lie most of the time and I’m a bad liar.
All of the above, really.
I’m not one of those people who thinks telling kids about Santa or the Tooth Fairy is some lie that’s going to ruin them forever. I grew up believing, and I recall nothing but joyful memories filled of fanciful imaginings. I haven’t grown up hating my mom because she’s some pathological Santa liar — so we’re good.
But some people just aren’t comfortable telling their kids these little white lies, and let me just say that if you’re one of them — I get you.
Lucy has a very loose tooth. I didn’t think it was possible at her age, but I Googled it and we’re fine.
I remember at the slightest wiggle begging my dad to just rip my tooth out with brute force so I could get in on the Tooth Fairy’s fat cash. Lucy’s tooth, however, is dangling on a pathetic last thread and she won’t let me even breathe near it. It’s just swaying there, mocking me. And I’ve tried to entice her with the delights of the Tooth Fairy, but there’s one little problem.
She’s too little to have a freaking clue what I’m talking about.
Turns out, I don’t either.
“Lucy darling, your new tooth is nearly halfway up! Let mama get the loose one for you. I’ll be very fast.”
“Have you lost your mind, woman?!” (OK, that wasn’t her actual response, but that was its meaning in a nutshell.)
“But when you lose a tooth, you know what happens? If you leave it under your pillow, a Tooth Fairy comes into your room, takes the tooth and leaves money! Isn’t that fun?”
“Uh ... Wut.”
“Yes, and the next time we go to Target, you can pick out something very special.”
“But, what’s mumey?”
“Oh, um. Have we not talked about that? Money is what you use to buy things. When I buy you a toy, I use money to buy it,” I explained, ever so slightly inching my fingers near the dangly tooth.
She just stared at me, blankly. Literally nothing I said was computing.
“It’s um, currency, sweetheart,” I said rambling on. “You use it to get things you want, like an exchange for goods and services.” I was starting to get agitated and nervous, knowing full well I was losing the crowd. I took a dry sip of water.
“No mumey, no thank you.”
“You don’t want any money? But wouldn’t it be fun for the Tooth Fairy to visit you, at least?”
“How will she get in da house?” Fear began to rise behind her eyes. Surely I was explaining this poorly.
“Oh, um. Good question. You asked this about the Easter Bunny and I wasn’t quite sure about that either. Through the chimney like Santa, I guess. Then she sneaks into your room.”
Her eyes grew wide, her dangly tooth retracted. “No! No! That scare me! No, Tooth Fairy, no tank you. No! No! No!”
Then she slapped her hand over her mouth.
This wasn’t really going the way I intended, and surely isn’t how I remembered the Tooth Fairy. She was like my own personal Snoop Dogg with wings, making it rain every time I prematurely yanked a tooth out.
“She’s not scary, but OK, I’ll tell her not to come. What if mama just lets her in for some tea and we’ll see how it goes?”
“No! No! No!” she slapped her hand back over her mouth.
“OK, fine! No Tooth Fairy, geesh. So, um, why don’t you take a big bite of this apple?”
She passed on that, too. The tooth is still dangling. So are my nerves.
This too shall pass. ...
Anna Lind Thomas is a humor writer and mom to daughters Lucy and Poppy and English bulldog Bruno, wife to Rob Thomas and founder of HaHas for HooHas. She writes for momaha.com.