This is the letter I'd like to have the courage to give to the mother of the girl who shares our bus stop each morning.
Dear Kay's Mother,
Today while waiting for the bus, your 4th grade daughter Kay shared her opinions on the Tooth Fairy with my kindergartener and her older brother.
Kay was playing on her cell phone when Natalie proudly showed her the spot where her tooth used to be. Coincidentally, Kay also lost a tooth last night. When Natalie asked where it was (meaning where is the hole in her mouth), Kay, nonchalantly said it was on the bathroom counter because "everybody knows that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist."
My heart sank. We have a good thing going here and I plan to hang onto the fun as long as I can. The Tooth Fairy (and all her magical friends) are childhood institutions and your kid almost blew it for mine.
My guess (based on other experiences with her) is that she didn't know any better. This is where YOU come in.
Natalie looks up to Kay. Your daughter didn't even look up from her phone. There wasn't even the slightest indication from her that what she had just said so smugly and indiscriminately might have been a problem - in which case I would have sympathized. I've been known to have verbal diarrhea myself on numerous occasions. She didn't even flinch. Just so you know, since she didn't look up from her phone I rolled my eyes at her and gestured to my children that she's nuts.
As our children get older, they can decide what they want to believe about things. And I get it: Many a child has second-guessed their beliefs in magical beings due to comments made by an irresponsible older kid who takes it upon herself to educate the little one.
However, it is our job as parents to teach them that with this new knowledge comes responsibility and now they MUST think about how their comments might affect other children. Put plainly: Keep it a secret.
I know that you and I parent differently. It is not my concern what your child believes. I just want her to smile and keep her newly-toothless mouth shut.
The word "exist" threw Natalie off, but not her highly-intelligent brother who looked to me desperately. I told him that you take your daughter's Tooth Fairy money and put it in the bank so she doesn't argue.
If my son comes home tonight no longer believing in the Tooth Fairy, I will tell him how babies are made. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Monday morning he will tell Kay. I will also tell him to throw in some tidbits about aliens and Cheez Whiz.