Yesterday, I was all concerned about my son, Jake, figuring out the horrible truth about the Tooth Fairy, namely that the creature who sneaks into his room at night, rummages around under his pillow while he sleeps, and steals his teeth is none other than yours truly.
Actually, when you think about it like that, you’d think kids would be relieved there’s no real Tooth Fairy. She sounds creepy.
Anyway, I should have known better than to concern myself with that. I forgot one of the top Rules of Parenting, which is Keep things in perspective, because no matter what you think the problem is, it’s about to get worse, stupid.
Your copy of The Rules probably doesn’t have the “stupid” part in it – I penciled that in the margin of my copy because I keep forgetting, despite all the smack-in-the-face reminders I always get.
So as I walked my kids to school this morning, trying to convince myself that I did the right thing by perpetuating the Tooth Fairy Lie when my son has clearly outgrown it, we got on the subject of dating (oh good, this is sure to go well). We went from talking about Zoe’s first “playdate” planned for this weekend, to me reassuring her that playdates are different from “regular dates,” to the concept of “blind dates” as I tried to come up with examples of how many different kids of dates there are. Obviously I had quickly lost control of the conversation.
Zoe: Did you and Gerry meet on a blind date?
Me: No, we were friends for lots of years before we went on a date.
Zoe: Did Daddy meet Cindy [his girlfriend – not her real name] on a blind date?
Jake: They met at work.
Zoe: Is that why they aren’t married?
Jake: They probably aren’t married because she doesn’t want the stress of having a whole family.
I didn’t want to touch that topic with a ten-foot pole, so at first I was grateful that Zoe jumped right in at this point – until I heard what she said.
Zoe: Oh, I bet they aren’t married because they have to [giggle]… do that other thing first.
Me (overly casual): What?
Zoe: You know, that thing. It’s for boyfriends and girlfriends. It makes kids! It ends with an “x” and starts with an “s”…
Unfortunately, this didn’t sound like an exhaustive list of the Facts of Life that she knew; it sounded more like she was giving me hints to help me figure out what she was talking about, in case I really didn’t know.
Me: Is that so? What do you know about it?
Zoe: We know more than you think.
We were nearing our destination, so I only had a few minutes to gently and calmly drill them for information about what they knew, which didn’t get far before we got derailed by an argument between the two of them over whether or not Jake was the one who told her about The Birds and The Bees.
That’s not the POINT, my brain screamed, as my uterus tried to quickly devise a plan to get them back safely inside where I could still control everything they hear and see.
At this point we were outside the school, and Jake’s face was about the color and temperature of lava, so I mustered everything I could remember from my Panicked Parenting 101 class and said something about how there’s nothing wrong with the subject and I’m always happy to answer any questions they ever have about it (which, I’m here to tell you, is a big fat lie – oh, I’ll answer their questions, but there won’t be a cell in my body that’s happy about it).
Jake couldn’t scuttle into the school fast enough, but Zoe sauntered slowly, giggling and taking about “babies coming out,” until I had to call her back to me. I said, “Look, there’s nothing wrong with…,” please don’t make me say this word to my 7 year old daughter, not yet, nooooo…
But she cut in and bailed me out. “I know, I won’t say it in class.”
So while I was at home fretting about piddly little Baby Stuff like the Tooth Fairy, it seems my kids were out in the Real Word learning all about the dreaded S Word. And to think how upset I would’ve been if we’d had to have a discussion about the 4-letter S Word, when it turns out the 3-letter one is proving to be much more traumatic. For me, anyway.
Hey, there’s some of that perspective I was looking for.
Robyn Welling is a freelance writer and humorist at Hollow Tree Ventures, where she isn’t afraid to embarrass herself—and frequently does. In addition to her blog and NickMom, she also writes for In The Powder Room (where grammar snobbery landed her a gig as Editorial Assistant), CraftFail, and The Huffington Post. She was named a Must-Follow Humor Blog by BlogHer and co-authored two best-selling humor anthologies, “I Just Want To Pee Alone” and “You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth”, yet her kids still don’t think she’s funny. Her goals include becoming independently wealthy, followed by world domination and getting her children to clean their rooms – until then, she’ll just fold laundry and write about the shortcuts she takes on her journey to becoming a somewhat passable wife, mother, and human being. If history is any guide, she’ll miss the mark entirely. You can find her avoiding responsibility on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.