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December 13, 2018
This week the Tooth Fairy made her first appearance in my home…and it was glorious. My daughter can tell you exactly how she looks: blonde, curly hair, a sparkly wand…and a Moana dress. She can also tell you how she sounds; apparently. When she dropped the cash under my five-year-old’s pillow, I’m told she whispered in a tinkly, bell-like voice, “Congratulations.”
Now, I have nothing against pink and sparkles, but I try my hardest to not get too caught up in making every single celebration or life event for my kids a Pinterest-worthy moment. My daughter’s last full-blown birthday party two years ago took so much planning and was such a disaster, we skipped the cake and candles all together this time around (just imagine a very precocious preschooler sobbing, “Why’d you invite all these people?” after she worked for a month painstakingly decorating each handwritten party announcement in glitter paint).
Nope, these days I keep it simple when it comes to holidays, birthdays, and the like. I’ve been working especially hard this season on not getting too caught up in commercialism traps, instead focusing on family time and family experiences. Sometimes, though, I forget in the process just how cool it can be for young kids, newly aware, to think about the Easter Bunny or Santa paying them a special visit. This Tooth Fairy thing reminded me. Yes, ma’am, that ethereal, incisor-snatching night owl got to me.
I found myself suddenly caught up in the specific milestone of losing a first tooth. I think it’s because my daughter was so excited about this transition in her body—unafraid, proud, joyful—that her excitement rubbed off on me, too. For weeks, she went around wiggling her tooth and asking everyone else in the family to do the same. She told her grandparents she planned on snapping a picture of the Tooth Fairy when she entered her bedroom (or trapping her in a box so she could get a really good look. I told her that sounded a little aggressive and maybe we could stick with a sneaky photo op).
We can’t and we shouldn’t endeavor to make our kids happy all the time. Happiness is fleeting and conditional. We can, though, look for opportunities to be fully present with our kids, not just with our physical presence or our attention, but also with our emotional presence. Think about the best moments you’ve had with your kids, about the moments that you go back to in your mind when you’re having a hard day or feeling discouraged. For me, those moments always have pure joy as a major element (and usually music, too): singing at the top of our lungs to the entire album of The Greatest Showman on a road trip, snuggling up in our bed on a Saturday morning, racing through the park playing tag with breathless energy. Sometimes our kids need us to be just as invested in their excitement and their enthusiasm as they are.
It’s hard to pull a fast one on our children. They can tell when we pretty much hate our lives and they can see right through it when we try to fake contentment. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself, embracing your own life choices (especially when it comes to work), and getting mindful so you can turn right back around and infuse joy into your kids’ lives. Is any mom out there in the whole world who’s going to do that perfectly all the time? No, but it’s worth it to move in that direction.
Losing your first tooth is a major milestone. So is taking your first step, scoring your first soccer goal, and getting your driver’s license. Our kids don’t need us to be all rah-rah about every single little thing they do (telling our kids “good job” and “you’re so smart” over and over is detrimental). Instead, we should be encouraging our children to have a growth mindset by telling them how proud we are of their efforts and celebrating when they reach their hard-earned goals. In the end, milestones (and holidays and celebrations) all provide an opportunity to build family traditions and to make memories with our kids. As we recognize the effort or bravery it takes our kids to move through a specific stage, we ultimately instill confidence and encourage resilience.
Especially this season, I’m working on embracing the make-believe and the magical with my little ones. Setting out cookies for Santa, finding a note and a dollar from the Tooth Fairy, wishing on a star—these aren’t only the magical moments of childhood, they’re also an invitation to love the things our kids love, to be 100 percent “in it” for the moments that really matter, to be a little more childlike ourselves as we approach our parenting. There is absolutely nothing like watching your toothless five-year-old grin from ear to ear for the first time, just like there’s nothing like seeing your baby smile or hearing her say her first word. Yep, this first tooth moment is going in the baby book—not because it’s momentous to the rest of the world, but because it’s momentous to my daughter and to me—a place we both found a second of pure joy. Thank you, Tooth Fairy.
Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.
Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).
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