Perpetuating belief in magic is like pulling teeth.

I’ve made so many excuses for the Tooth Fairy that my kids must think that she is the most incompetent loser in the magical kingdom.

Santa Claus doesn’t just miss work. The Easter bunny doesn’t come bearing excuses. Jackolanterns shine on Halloween and the Boogeyman lies eternally in wait but that Tooth Fairy… well she really needs to get her shit together.

So far, through three kids and thirty or so teeth, the tooth fairy has called in for everything from a seasonal bug to an interdimensional restriction on Friday the 13th. My kids get it. The Tooth Fairy is damned, unreliable.

Today my middle son lost a tooth and I intend to bolster the Tooth Fairy’s image; hold that thought…

Ok we’re good.

This is the part of the parenting job that no one prepares you for. The stakes are silly but couldn’t be higher. What we are trying to maintain is that delicate and fragile, magical suspicion.

I’ve met parents who dont believe that this sort of delusional reinforcement is constructive. These parents are dicks.

One month and a tooth ago my middle son, in front of my four year old said, “I know that the Tooth Fairy isn’t real.”

“Oh really,” I replied. “And how exactly is that?”

“Because…” he said. (Try to imagine the dramatic pause of a seven year old.) “Last night, the Tooth Fairy paid me for my tooth but then I found said tooth in your closet.”

He stared at me defiantly while my four year old watched on in anticipation.

“Well,” I said, gathering my thoughts. “The Tooth Fairy lost a substantial amount to your mother in a game of poker several years ago and we have put her on a payment plan which includes monetary compensation in the form of teeth. She is almost square but I’m afraid that we are going to have to tell Santa Claus about the fact that you are snooping through our closet.”

Check mate.

Santa is always the trump card. But seriously though, that Tooth Fairy really does need to get her shit together.

Tonight I have successfully maintained that delusion. It cost me four dollars. The fact that my kids secretly know that it’s probably all a lie is ok.

The chance that they still believe in magic; priceless.