Friday, July 16, 2004

Tricking the tooth fairy

It's been said that kids with fetal alcohol exposure have kind of a communal approach to money -- they're as likely to steal from you as to give you everything in their pockets. My son's shown no tendency to petty theft, but he doesn't take very good care of what he's got, either. He has a box into which he's supposed to put the dollar bills he earns through our credit system, but he'll typically just throw them in a drawer or into the mess on his desk instead, sometimes never to be seen again. There are things he wants, and he likes having the money to buy them, but the connection in his brain between that and those little green pieces of paper is pretty frayed.

Recently, he lost a couple of teeth, and most kids would get dollar signs in their eyes at the thought of tooth-fairy bounty. In the past, he's been increasingly reluctant to part with the tooth, money or no, and with the first of these recent teeth he just refused to put anything under his pillow. But with the second one, he got a gleam in his eye. "I'm going to trick the tooth fairy!" he said. The reference was to an "Arthur" episode in which D.W. puts a fake tooth under her pillow to trick the tooth fairy, and Arthur puts money in its place so that the tooth fairy won't get mad and boycott their house. But my son, of course, had a different spin: He was going to put MONEY under his pillow instead of a tooth! Wouldn't that be a good trick! The tooth fairy would came for a tooth and find that somebody already took it! So under the pillow went $2 his grandmother had just given him for helping her, and he couldn't have been more delighted the next morning to find that same $2 under his pillow. He insisted on leaving it for another night, but it got knocked around during bed-making and his afternoon rocking and now he's got $1 crumpled up next to his boom box and $1 who knows where. Losing a tooth has effectively cost him a buck. But he's a happy guy.

We'll find some way to reimburse him for his tooth fairy adventure. And as long as he's not trying to manage a household, and all he's losing are dollar bills, being careless with money is not a disaster. But I think we can cross a couple more things off the list of jobs he can have when he grows up: Banker and Con Man.

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