Monday, December 04, 2006

Tooth Fairy or Mouse?

After many days of fiddling and wobbling Marc’s tooth fell out at school. We were all excited for him. It was one of those wonderful child-development milestones, like the first step, word or smile. I told him that the Tooth Fairy would come and pick up his tooth from under his pillow at night, and in exchange leave him some money. The Tooth fairy has been around as long as I could remember and all children love the story. However Jacques came out with a story about a Souris or Mouse, which seemed to have the same magical powers as our fairy, but was not so pretty and ran in to grab the tooth, instead of flying like the fairy!

Marc was amused to find a letter in the post (from my parents) with a drawing of the fairy. But a few days later another letter arrived from the Mouse, who enclosed an euro along with a cute drawing of herself. Marc was mystified, was it the Fairy or the Mouse? Who collected the teeth anyway? Would he always get two different kinds of money and two letters? Regretting the fuss we had made over this tiny tooth we backtracked and decided the Tooth delivers in England only and the Mouse is only allowed to do her job in France, lest we have any competition or better rates in euros than pounds!

We had had this problem before at Easter too. In England children are given chocolate eggs before Easter from friends and family, whereas in France the Easter eggs are mysteriously ‘dropped’ by the cloches or church bells, which ring on Easter Sunday. Who should Marc believe? Was it the giant pink Easter Bunny he had seen at the school party, or the cloches that dropped eggs all over the gardens in France? Marc was now near to six years old and asking hundreds of tricky questions regarding God, how babies are made and so on... Since neither of us would ‘drop’ his or her cultural traditions for Easter we worked out a solution. Easter would be a combination of eggs before Easter and also an egg hunt in the garden, because I liked that bit! The kids gained in every day.

However this didn’t answer Marc’s questions of why we can’t actually see the Fairy/Mouse/Bunny/Santa or even God for that matter. ‘Children believe in them’ was all we could offer up to curious Marc. I felt sorry for my son, struggling with such huge world concepts and not even sure who was right – Mummy or Papa! At least we both agreed that Santa/Père Noel brings the Christmas presents……

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