“Don’t tell Mummy!” Son2 glanced at his brother and stifled a laugh as my curiosity grew. He brought his index finger to his mouth. “Shhh.”
“Don’t tell Mummy what?” I asked, deeply suspicious.
Hopeless at keeping a secret, Son2 then proceeded to tell me anyway: he’d lost a tooth. I peered into his mouth, and there was indeed a new gap, next to a huge front tooth that still looks oversized in comparison to his milk teeth.
“Tooth fairy tonight,” I said brightly.
“But mum,” said Son1, from the other side of the lounge, where he was playing on his computer. He pulled his headsets off to actually join in the conversation. “THE TOOTH FAIRY IS FAKE!”
I stalled for time, considering whether just to come clean. To be honest, it would have been a relief. My mind was already trying to figure out whether I had any small notes in the house, and I’m over remembering, exhausted, at 2 in the morning that I need to play tooth fairy. But if I admitted she wasn’t real, wouldn’t they then immediately clock that we’ve been lying about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus too? It was a slippery slope I didn’t feel quite ready to go down, so I replied, “Of course she’s real. Why weren’t you going to tell me about the tooth anyway?”
“Because the tooth fairy is daddy,” said Son1, pinning his gaze on DH on the other sofa. “That’s why we weren’t going to tell you – if the tooth was still under the pillow in the morning, then we’d know for sure we’re right. William’s tooth stayed under his pillow for three days before he finally told his parents and then he got money.”
“What makes you think it’s daddy?” I asked, my nose twitching with the effort of staying deadpan.
“Because,” said Son1 as though it was completely obvious, “the last time he forgot. When we came downstairs in the morning and said the tooth fairy hadn’t been, daddy quickly said ‘Here, hold this,’ and gave me his plate while he ran upstairs to put money under the pillow.”
“Ah, yes.” I gave a small cough. I remembered the incident well.
“And,” Son1 continued, rolling his eyes, “daddy left the tooth under the pillow.”
I think that’s us just about rumbled! Best-case scenario now is that the Santa myth is hanging by a single crimson thread.