11.11.08

The Tooth Fairy, Barack Obama, and Diet Pills

The Project Runway star on the financial (and other) consequences of letting your kids believe in the tooth fairy for too long.

The Project Runway star and mother of six on the financial (and other) consequences of letting your kids believe in the tooth fairy for too long.

Last week my six year old, Pierson, came home with his front tooth missing. It had fallen out at school and was carefully placed in a plastic tooth shaped container on a string. In public school you get a length of paper towel from the bathroom dispenser to transport your tooth home, but one of the perks of paying fancy private school tuition is apparently an upgraded container. With his widest grin, he proudly showed his oldest brother, Peik, his gaped smile, and in a boys-will-be-boys moment, Peik proceeded to knock out his remaining front tooth.

Pierson went to bed very excited about the prospect of the tooth fairy financially compensating him for his double loss. Having lost them both on the same day, surely now the whole would be worth more than the sum of it’s parts. He was expecting a bonus.

“Thith ith big mom. How muth for both in one day?” Pierson asked with his newly acquired speech impediment. I never refrain from paying a premium for lost teeth because the bills usually end up in the laundry the next day and I get it right back; it’s more of a loan.

Pierson went to bed very excited about the prospect of the tooth fairy financially compensating him for his double loss. He was expecting a bonus.

This got me thinking about which of my kids believes in what mythical gift giver. If they have stopped believing, at what age did they give it up? Who has ceased to believe in the Easter Bunny, but has decided to suspend disbelief in Santa Claus? And who no longer believes in any of them, but goes along with it for financial gain? After all, if you no longer believe in the Tooth Fairy, you shouldn’t expect to continue receiving monies under your pillow from a winged woman.

I’ve always asked my older children not to spoil things for the little ones, but I doubt they could resist the moment of cruelty in declaring, “There is no such thing as Santa Claus you little dip wad. How would a fat guy fit down a chimney?” I am always excited to deliver a juicy piece of gossip, and I would imagine that revealing the truth about Santa to a younger sibling feels much the same way.

I know that Pierson still truly believes in the Tooth Fairy. The teeth were long lost by bedtime, but so intent was he on receiving his magical money, he made sure that a surrogate note was placed under his pillow with a signed affidavit from me assuring the fairy that I could in fact verify the existence of the missing molars.

I know a woman who believes that the SARS virus was caused by Asians double dipping in their soy sauce. My friend Susan believes that StarCaps diet pills must really make you lose weight because they cost $100 dollars. She also believes that her husband is going to come home one day for absolutely no reason with a box from Tiffany’s. I believe that a Chanel suit is worth $6000 and that Warren Buffet is a nice guy, even though rationally I know there is no nice way to make that much money. There are sixty-five million Americans who believe that Obama will bring “change.”

In light of this, it’s not really that much of a stretch for a child to believe that a rabbit travels the world hiding hideously dyed hard-boiled eggs and distributes cheap chocolates and marshmallow Peeps in baskets. I guess at any age, we all believe exactly what we want to believe.

Laura Bennett was trained as an architect but has since established her career as a fashion designer by becoming a finalist on Season 3 of the Bravo hit television series Project Runway. Bennett lives amid complete chaos in New York City with her husband and six children, Cleo, 20, Peik, 13, Truman, 10, Pierson, 6, Larson, 5, and Finn, 2.