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

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 Easier Blog Post - Parenting Toolbox

Does Parenting Ever Get Easier?

Parenting Easier Blog Post - Parenting Toolbox

Tools Down

I would really like to know: does parenting ever get easier? I skimmed through a couple of my favorite parenting books again this month trying to glean some nuggets of wisdom. This was due to some poor behavior exhibited, mainly from my kids, and occasionally from me.

I don’t know what has brought the poor behavior on or how best to deal with it. I thought a few years into this parenting gig that both causes and solutions would be easy to spot. Not so.

So far I have narrowed down the possible causes to any or all of the following: food, sleep, a possible growth spurt, adjusting to returning to school/kindy, the weather or the phase of the moon. Replace ‘school/kindy’ with ‘dirty diapers’ and I am essentially back to trying to determine why my ‘baby’ is crying. With the moon a possible cause.

And how best to deal with it? Ignoring it, distraction, time outs or showing empathy with cuddles have met with varying degrees of success. Nothing has had a massive positive impact. These are the main tools in my parenting arsenal but right now they feel a little worn out.

 

Messy

Where does this thought that parenting would get easier even come from? It is probably from cultural messages that state things like ‘now he is seven he makes his bed each morning’ and ‘my ten-year-old does her homework on her own’. The teenage years seem a bit dismal, but after that your kids were adults and surely then they were less work?

But this stage-by-stage approach doesn’t take into account the inherent messiness that comes with parenting. That seven-year-old could still be wetting the bed some nights. The ten-year-old may be scared of another child in her class. Or you may get a knock on the door one day from your 27-year-old needing a place to live.

 

What To Do

So what to do? First, acknowledge that parenting NEVER EVER gets easier. Accepting that may be difficult. But it is much harder to live with a naïve assumption that parenting gets easier.

Second, try to enjoy, or at least accept, being in the parenting trenches. Life is not a movie montage. Sometimes the only thing you can do is take a deep breath or three.

Last, realize you didn’t become a parent because it was easy. You did it because it was hard. You did it knowing deep down how difficult it could be and you did it anyway. All the best things in life take hard work. That is why they are the best things in life.

And please don’t worry about us. As one of my go-to books state: ‘all behavior is communication’. If I stop wishing for it to be over, take a deep breath and truly listen, I know I will figure it out.

 

References

Of Course I Love You… Now Go to Your Room – Diane Levy  http://amzn.to/2Ha333q

Politically Incorrect Parenting – Nigel Latta  http://a.co/heKyjXj

Parenting Easier Blog Post - JFK Moon

 

 

 

40 Blog Post - Birthday Cake - 40

What Does Being 40 Mean?

40 Blog Post - Julie at 40

Milestone Birthday

Last November I had a milestone birthday – I turned 40. This is so momentous it needs emphasizing with some emojis.

After almost a year of being 40, it is not at all like I thought it would be. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I thought 40 was old. Old with capital letters. OLD. I also thought 40 meant many other things as well. This is a navel-gazing blog post on what I thought being 40 would mean versus the reality for me.

 

Destination: 40

I had thought that at the age of 40 I would have ‘arrived’. You know, have it all sorted. Be ‘there’. Whatever ‘there’ means. Confident. Assured. Successful.

Nup.

And I am OK with that. If I had reached a destination it would feel at best a little dull and at worst, like a death sentence. Instead I am flailing through a messy life full of chaos and surprise. Things I could never have imagined: Donald Trump as President of the US, professional Pokémon hunters, the popularity of hash tags and selfies. Life is anything but boring.

 

Multi – What?

I also thought I would be on a career path, have a great job and working my way up the corporate ladder.

Nup.

I have switched jobs and careers more than I care to admit. I haven’t found exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life and doubt I ever will. I discovered a name for this the other day: I am a ‘multipotentialite’ according to a wonderful TED talk from Emilie Wapnick. I don’t know if I have made all the right choices but at the moment I am having a blast writing books.

 

Tiny Humans

I imagined that my kids would be older, maybe even teenagers. After all, I was 16 when my mother turned 40.

Nup.

Although my kids can be loud, frustrating and downright exhausting at times, I try not to wish away these years. Dylan has just started school. Eloise is in her own bed now. They are still so young but seem to be growing up in a blink of an eye. These times go by so, so fast.

 

Information Underload

I thought I would know a lot or at least feel like I have a basic knowledge about key things.

Nup.

As time progresses I feel like I know less and less. Perhaps being 40 is accepting that you will learn the things that are really important and turn to others or the Internet if you really need the answers for the rest.

Here is a random list of just some of the things I know almost nothing about:

  • what electricity is
  • recognizing dog breeds by sight
  • how TV works
  • what RSS feeds are
  • Bitcoin
  • where all those hash tags that are the same end up – I am fairly sure they can connect somehow

 

Young at Heart

Being 40 does not mean being OLD in all caps. In fact, I feel quite young. Immature even. It may seem clichéd, but I feel like life is only just beginning. The first 40 years have laid a foundation and now I am finally getting to the good stuff.

In saying that, I do find myself doing ‘old people things’. I wrote a letter to the paper the other day. I have only ever used hash tags as an attempt at wit or irony, not ‘properly’. Like my late grandmother who never attempted to learn computers, I think Bitcoin has passed me by. Last week, I found myself agreeing with another 40-year-old friend who was complaining about millennials.

And I have absolutely no idea what any of the emojis are supposed to mean.

40 Blog Post - Emojis