Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tooth fairies and the art of lying to children

Yesterday, Eve’s third tooth fell out. She dealt with it all in a particularly dramatic way, with lots of screaming.  ‘I can feel it, I can feel it!! Look it’s dangling. What am I going to do? Help! Oh no, it’s coming look. Aghghghghgh!’
‘Eve, relax. It’s a tooth, you’re not having a baby!’ I shouted, in my usual calm way. (I’ve been getting my parenting strategies really sorted recently)
The minute it was out she was all smiles of triumph as though she’d done something to be proud of.  And then asked,
‘Where shall I put it so that the tooth mouse sees it?’

TOOTH MOUSE? Unfortunately yes! In Italy they don’t have the tooth fairy who flies gently through the air collecting pearly white teeth for the fairy queen’s necklace … they have a mouse.
How gross is that?!?
Well actually it doesn’t crawl under your pillow to get the tooth but just sneaks in through the window. You leave your tooth on a little plate and hope to find money there the next morning.
Eve had a few issues with the idea and obviously wanted to get to the heart of the matter.
‘Where does the mouse live? How does he know my tooth has fallen out? Does he give all the children the same money or do the rich children get more? What is he going to do with the tooth? Has he got a little bag to put them all in and does he do them all in the same night?? How does he know how much money to take with him each night  and why does he want my teeth exactly???’

Hey, don’t look at me. I only knew the tooth fairy and even that was a bit of a tenuous relationship. Ask your dad. He’s Italian.
Marco shrugs his shoulders and gives some sort of quasi-mysticexplanation which makes the tooth mouse sound a cross between a divine being and Santa’s top elf.

Why do they have a tooth mousefor goodness sakes … but, on the other hand, how did the tooth fairy come into it??

I know we’ve all grown up with Father Christmas and tooth fairies and have survived all the various related traumas but I just can’t tell silly lies. When Eve asks me ‘Does Father Christmas really exist Mummy?’ I give her some kind of wishy-washy answer like ‘Well Eve, lots of people think he does but others don’t really believe it. There are lots of legends but nobody really knows.’
‘Yes, but what do you think?’ (And there’s me thinking I was going to get away with it)

And as for the tooth mouse questions, I really don’t know what to say at all.

‘But Mummy… do you think the tooth mouse knows the tooth fairy and that they share the teeth? Maybe the tooth mouse sells them to the tooth fairy and she makes lots of money out of it? Do you think that they both speak the same language? The mouse speaks Italian and the fairy speaks English so how do they know what to say?’

When I told Eve I didn’t know the answers to her questions she suggested looking it up on Face Book. (She hasn’t quite got the distinction between Internet and FB sorted yet)
Why not?
So, this is an appeal to the Tooth Mouse if he (or indeed she) is out there and reading my blog… can we become FB friends and then I can pass you directly onto Eve and you can sort it out between you.
The question I want to know is how much a tooth is worth these days??