One of the weird stresses that I’ve found as a writer and a stay-at-home parent is the idea that I must tell awesome bed time stories. It’s one of these weird expectations that float around, partly in the world and partly in my head, a sort of Jungian collective unconscious thing that my kids are regaled with fantastic sagas starring characters that are thinly veiled stand ins for themselves, undergoing adventures that offer trenchant insight to their grade school misadventures.
First off, I’m not that great at making stuff up off the top of my head. Second, the stories I tend to make up in my head? Often not so good for children.
That second reason is why I’ve been having an interesting week. The youngest just lost a tooth, and as she is currently desperate to buy an iPod like her sister, but since she’s not so desperate to work and save for it like her sister did, she decided to write the tooth fairy a letter in which she requested ninety dollars for the tooth.
Of course the tooth fairy had to write back. So I–whoops, she–did. It was a cute little letter, in which the tooth fairy explained that due to the weight of the teeth and currency she had to deal with each night, ninety dollars was just too much. The youngest accepted this explanation, though she’s been having troublesome thoughts about gift cards.
The problem with all of this is that I really struggled with that letter–because I kept having ideas of how to start slipping in some foreshadowing, a troubling phrase here or there that hinted at something much darker, much deeper, a horrifying secret that would slowly be revealed through future correspondence and…
Yeah, no. Bad dad. Cute letter for the grade schooler, no dark fantasy shading quickly to horror.
That’s what high school is for.