Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

Rethinking the Toothfairy

Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

Tooth Milestone

Last week a major developmental milestone occurred – Dylan lost his first baby tooth. Yes, a tiny (and I am talking cucumber seed infinitesimal) tooth became very wriggly and finally came out at the end of school lunchtime on an otherwise quiet Wednesday.

On pick up, Dylan bounded up, keen to show me the rather large space left behind. Its almost a week later and I still get a little shock each time he greets me with his gappy smile. The tiny tooth was carefully wrapped in tissue and secured in his lunch box.

This is where the interesting part begins…

 

Rethink Opportunity

Dylan had informed me when his tooth started getting wriggly that he “didn’t believe in the toothfairy”. This took me by surprise, as he is still a firm defender of the jolly man in red at Christmas time. I tried to pry out of him why he thought the toothfairy wasn’t real but it wasn’t clear whether an older kid at school had spilled the beans or if he had decided on his own that believing in fairies – any kind of fairies – was a bit silly.

I took this information on board, and instead of trying to convince Dylan of the merits of believing in the toothfairy, it dawned on me that this was my opportunity to rethink the entire notion of the toothfairy.

 

Not a Toothfairy Fan

After all, there are many things I am not a fan of with the whole toothfairy concept.

Firstly, it encourages parents to lie to kids even more than we already do. I had reservations about perpetuating the myth of the jolly fellow in red, but had succumbed to the path of least resistance when Dylan was a baby. But doing it for one thing doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it.

Secondly, I was uneasy about exchanging teeth for money. What did it really teach a six-year-old? And what were we to do with this money? It was likely he would lose it, or keep it forever in his piggy bank, or – and this is the worst idea but highly probable – spend it on sweets. Oh the irony – getting money for losing teeth and then spending it on sugary snacks. No thanks.

Finally, even though the concept of a toothfairy secretly coming when the child was sleeping, taking a tooth and leaving money was a central tenet, there were many inconsistencies beyond that between families. Surveying friends showed a vast range in money left behind for a single tooth – anywhere between 20 cents and 20 dollars (!). The toothfairy could leave a note or sprinkle glitter around or not perform any added extras. And sometimes coins were found under pillows and sometimes next to the bed. There didn’t seem to be a stable societal norm I had to adhere to anyway, so why not throw away the whole concept and start over?

 

New Traditions

So after a few mature discussions with Dylan, here is where we have got to. The toothfairy may or may not exist (there seems to be some wavering on earlier conviction) but she doesn’t come to our home. Instead Mama or Daddy take Dylan’s tooth and exchange it for one Lego figure (I bought a bundle second hand, equivalent of about $2 each). This is still done when Dylan is asleep and the Lego figure is placed near his bed, not under his pillow.

Not quite a complete do-over but something a little different.

I understand that this is not for everyone and it may take some of the ‘magic’ out of it. And yes, there are still some tricky hurdles to overcome – I have already been asked whether I have kept the tooth and where it is. But Dylan is delighted with yet another Lego figure and I am happy to not perpetuate a lie and hand out money for doing nothing.

In fact, the freedom of not blindly following cultural norms is quite liberating. I am already starting to look at other areas where we can ditch convention and instead create new and more meaningful family traditions. You never know – the Lego figure idea may be something that is continued into future generations.

I would love to hear your good, bad and ugly toothfairy stories. Comment below.

Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Snail

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Snail

Birthday Central

Our beautiful tiny humans, Dylan and Eloise have just turned six and three years old, respectively. Born exactly three years and three days apart, it makes for a busy but fun time of the year.

Becoming a mama has changed the whole course of my life and has been the most challenging and magnificent thing I have ever done. I have learned a lot about myself, being a parent and balancing (juggling?) everything. I expected there to be a steep learning curve in all these areas.

What I didn’t anticipate is how having kids has helped me rediscover what is truly important in life. My children remind me on a daily basis on how to live life to the fullest. I may be the one imparting knowledge but they divulge the real wisdom.

Here are three important things my kids have taught me in the past six years:

 

1. Ask for Everything

Expect the best, ask directly for what you want and have huge goals. Dylan didn’t just want a Lego set for his birthday – he wants ALL the Lego sets. Christmas is just an invitation to a never-ending wish list.

And of course the kids don’t get everything they ask for and they deal with feeling disappointed but it doesn’t stop them asking again. And again. Imagine if everyone had huge goals and didn’t back down at the first obstacle in striving to get what they really wanted. The world would be a different place.

 

2. Be Curious

When I picked up Dylan from school today he ran off with his friends to look at a snail. Yes, a snail. When I joined him, after finishing a conversation, five minutes later, he was still poking around that poor snail, trying to cover it with a leaf and feed it some crumbs. Eloise was marveling at the creature as well.

No grown up ever does this. Although we are told to ‘stop and smell the roses’, we almost never do and so miss out on the sense of awe that being curious can invoke. Children remind us that the world around us is full of wonder and I, for one, want to make sure I remember that.

 

3. Create Just Because You Can

Kids innately love being creative and they never worry (until they are older) whether what they are creating is ‘good’ or not. The simple act of creating something is enough. In the past year, Eloise has produced dozens and dozens of paintings and we now have boxes of Eloise’s artwork stored away. I don’t think Eloise, at three, would care whether we kept any of it. She has had a good time producing the art and giving it to us to look at and now she has moved on to the next creation.

Whenever I am struggling over my writing (which is frequently) I try to take this reminder about creativity on board – it doesn’t matter whether it is good, whether it is displayed or what happens to it – the act of creating something is a gift that only us humans have been given. We should cherish any time we get to be creative.

 

Happy Birthday

It is humbling to realize that I am the student, not the teacher when it comes to my kids, but if it means my life is improved with their wisdom then keep the lessons coming, I say.

Happy birthday, Dylan and Eloise, my wise tiny humans.

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Artwork

Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - Presents

Please Don’t Give My Kids Birthday Presents

Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - Presents

Mama Plea

You – yes, you. And you. And you. Birthday party invitees, school friend’s parents, the general population. Everyone who reads this who is not a close family member or part of a very small circle of friends (you know who you are) …this is my plea to you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

There I have said it. In the most straightforward way I possibly can. Direct? Tick. Simple? Tick. Offensive? Hopefully not.

 

Assumption Free

Look, I am not making any presumptions about your taste, financial situation or quality of your present. We are very grateful for the generous gifts our kids have received in the past. I am not trying to insult anyone here. But this year, for a change, I would respectfully request:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

The Good Side of Boredom

Having too much stuff in childhood has been linked to overwhelm, a lack of curiosity and perseverance and sometimes even mental health issues.

Having less stuff as a child is correlated with improved imagination, cultivating an ability to deeply play (get in flow), deal with boredom in creative ways, and to discover and independently pursue their own interests.

Yes, boredom is not something to be avoided, but to actually ensure happens occasionally. I want my children to be bored, so I am respectfully asking you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

Toys Galore

I had one Barbie doll for my whole childhood. My daughter is not three yet and she has 14 Barbie dolls. Admittedly, these were not all gifts, some were hand-me-downs, but 14!! We had no Lego growing up. My son has four good-sized plastic boxes of Lego and he is not even six years old.

Between the two of them, they have dozens of toy cars, sackfuls of soft toys, hundreds of books, plus puzzles, plastic animals, blocks and enough train track to cover the lounge and right up the hallway into the bedrooms. They also have a lot of outside toys like balls and bikes.

Despite this, for a considerable period of time over the past weekend they took turns hiding in a large cardboard box. So…

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

No Downsides

Once we all get over a little social awkwardness at my incredible appeal, we can probably all agree that there are no downsides to this plea. I don’t have to pick up as many toys, my kids will grow into happy and healthy adults and the planet, with less stuff cluttering it up, will live to see another day. So, for the final time, I am imploring you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

 

Other Articles

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/80155246/the-tyranny-and-expense-of-modern-childrens-birthday-parties

https://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_happens_when_we_shield_kids_from_boredom

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html

Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - D and E Mar18

 

 

Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Sleeping Child

Parenting is NEVER Boring

Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Bedside Lamp

 

The Three D’s

I love it when my children are tucked up in bed fast asleep. They look so peaceful, so beautiful, so scrumptiously soft and warm. And there is added bonus that in their current state they are unlikely to climb up the pantry shelves to the cookies, inexplicably demand breakfast in another bowl or get dressed in a new swimsuit to wear to daycare. All situations that have not just occurred in our household but happened today.

I just do not comprehend it when parents say they find raising children boring. There are the three D’s – danger, drama and decision-making – that make parenting one of the most exciting jobs in the world.

 

Danger

We have child proofed our house to the hilt. There are gates blocking access to the kitchen, child locks on drawers plus those plastic things you put into electrical plugs that hinder your vacuuming efforts, as they are almost impossible to pull out. Yet, I feel like I only need to turn around and my kids discover yet another novel way to endanger themselves.

My almost three-year-old daughter’s current favorite game is to say ‘look at me’ as she swings off the stair balustrades where if she let go she could easily tumble down a flight of stairs. I have learned not to look when I hear ‘look at me’.

Last week I noticed a small light emanating from our bedroom and found that both reading lamps had been turned on and the bendy part pushed down so that the lamp was almost touching the bedside tables. Result: bubbling varnish and the top of both tables way too hot to touch. Yes we need to check the light bulb strength in our reading lamps but who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t noticed anything for a few more hours.

Drama

I feel like my children are auditioning for a soap opera. The emotional responses I get to trivial situations would win them a Daytime Emmy for sure. Finding out that I crushed up their Weetbix – hysterics. Wrong breakfast bowl – howls of protest. Requests to brush teeth – met with running away and hiding. And that is just the morning drama.

How to navigate this emotional minefield is a tricky area for parents. I want to acknowledge their emotional response and let them vent for an appropriate period of time. But I also do not understand how putting the wrong Paw Patrol episode on can lead to a meltdown.

 

Decision-Making

Perhaps decision-making is not as exciting as danger and drama but it happens more often each day. Eloise is already dressed in her new swimsuit, should I just send her to daycare in it? She would be happy, it would take less time, but it is not really appropriate attire.

Routines and rules can help to reduce decision-making but there still seems to be a myriad of snap decisions to make all day long and that means parenting is never boring. Rice or couscous? Play Barbies or Lego? Shoes or no shoes? The list is endless.

 

Never Ever Boring

Sometimes, just in case you were feeling quite content with the whole parenting thing, maybe even a tiny bit bored, you will get a situation where all three D’s are thrown at you at once. Like when your toddler insists on driving the car (danger), and your five year old is making a fuss that he doesn’t get a turn (drama) while you are trying to figure out where your wallet may have ended up so you can actually leave the house (decision making).

No wonder I love watching my kids sleep. Not only do they seem like angels but also I get to have a break from the constant adrenalin coursing through my body. That is until they wake in the middle of the night…

Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Sleeping Child