Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Preserving The Magic When You've Been Caught Red-Handed

Around Christmastime I wrote about what to do if your Elf-On-A-Shelf “forgets” to move around and how to cover yourself when you screw up.  

Since that time, I've had two experiences which caused my daughter to question her belief in the magical. 

Ah, the magic of childhood!

On Christmas Day, she swore that she'd seen my son's Christmas gift stored in my closet. When I asked why she had been in my closet, she claimed she'd been reading a lot of mystery books and was compelled to snoop. Yeah, right. As for the gift, my son, in an effort to help me, said it must have been another model because the one Santa got him wasn't the one he'd asked for. 

Still, Lily, on her own, concluded that Santa had “stored” Junior's gift in my closet because the sleigh just had too much to hold. I'm saving that one for future reference. 

Then, the other day when Lily lost a tooth, she found a bunch of her baby teeth in one of my drawers while she was “looking” for a hairbrush. I have no doubt she was looking for the brush, but she was also snooping amongst my things. She told her father about the teeth and asked if either him or I was the tooth fairy. He said it wasn't him and she should ask me. She never did.  That night, after Lily put her tooth under her pillow,

the fairy covered her enormous magical butt by leaving a note explaining that teeth get heavy and she's hidden them in Lily's mom's drawer because she couldn't carry them.

 She also said she'd elicited the help of another fairy to finally get them out of the drawer. Since I “didn't know” they were there in the first place, the explanation sufficed. 
The magic of the tooth fairy.

Clearly, there are three issues here: 1) Why my daughter is snooping in my things. She's curious, but this has got to stop. 2) Knowing that I have a Nancy Drew on my hands, I've got to get more creative and smarter than the 9-year old. 3) Whether Lily is too old for magical thinking. 

I've heard from many parents who believe that magical thinking is deceiving your kid. 

They think that “tradition be damned, I'm not gonna do it.” Obviously that's their choice. But in listening to Lily and her friends in the nightly carpool to gymnastics, I was intoxicated to hear how happy the Tooth Fairy and Santa make the girls. They shared stories and compared notes, especially when it came to the fairy (what she looks like, when she comes, when she leaves notes, and, most importantly, how much each child got for a tooth!). The anticipation of a visit made each child ecstatic and I relished the stories and their exquisite innocence. 

I don't remember feeling betrayed when I left that way of thinking behind, but still, I wanted to double-check and hear it from someone I knew would tell me the truth: my teen. So I asked He-Who-Doesn't-Hold-Back-Anymore how he felt when that bubble was burst. He stroked his new mustache for a second and replied:

“Mom, it's a really nice feeling believing that there are friendly, unknown beings out there. I never held it against you and, in fact, I think it's cool how much work you put into me feeling special. It's the love and intentions that count.” 

Why shouldn't there be magic in childhood?

So I will continue to help with the magic, no matter what it takes. Fortunately, when I screwed up, Lily came to her own conclusions. Why can't these beings get a little help from parents? Why should they do it on their own? Sure, they can store stuff in the house, write notes to kids, and share in the milestones of these incredible changelings. I'm going to preserve the magic for as long as I can.

As always, thank you for being here and reading this blog!  

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