Reality Bites

Last night at dinner, Miguel showed us just how loose one of his teeth had become. It was wiggly and dangly and, despite a fairly strong constitution, I hate seeing a tooth that loose. Freaky. He then told us that he was going to do a little experiment. He said that, when the tooth finally fell out, he wasn't going to tell us and was going to hide the tooth under his pillow and see if the tooth fairy came anyway. His eyes darted back and forth between Luisa and I looking for some sort of reaction. Luisa and I both shrugged and said it sounded like a good plan. This afternoon, when he got off the bus, I asked him how his tooth was. He looked at the ground and clearly hesitated before looking up at me and smiling, showing off a space where that wiggly tooth had been. He then produced a small envelope that contained his tooth (with the date and time that it was lost noted on the front). He said, "This ruins my experiment. Now, I can't sneak it under my pillow and see if the tooth fairy comes." I asked him if he thought that we were the tooth fairy and he laughed and said, "No!" I told him that he could tell me if that's what he thought. He shook his head and walked away. When Miguel has asked me in the past if the tooth fairy is real, I've simply asked him what he thought about it all. When he has asked me about Santa, I've said the same thing. We are now in this awkward little place where I know that he knows that these magical people are not real but he still wants to believe that they are. So, we tip toe around it all and, though I'm willing to lay out the truth, he doesn't want that. Not yet. The milestones of childhood are many. We record their first steps and first words (well, we do for the first child anyway) but we don't necessarily record that moment when they let go of their belief in magic. We are nearing that moment with Miguel and it's hard for me to imagine life on the other side of it. But, that's how this entire parenting gig goes. We never know what's on the other side and still we march on, changing the very landscape of our imaginations.