Thursday, October 20, 2011

On being the curator of wonderment

This post originally appeared on From the Monkey Bars, a site that closed a few days ago. I'm reposting this here so that I don't lose it. Though I originally wrote it nine months ago, it references E's teeth, so let me update you that she still has not lost any teeth. But! The two center bottom teeth of shark-bite fame are both quite loose.

On being the curator of wonderment

By  on February 16th, 2011 · Parenting · 3 Comments

I first learned about the fairy dust from the taxidermist’s wife.

She was the unlikeliest of birthing coaches, but there we were, crouching on her floor, me faux-moaning to simulate labor pains and my poor bewildered husband rubbing my back and timing my “contractions.” The hospital sent us to her; they said she was the best. We learned to fast-fast-slooow-slooow breathe in, and to effleurage, my favorite word I’ve never had occasion to use again. The hunter green carpet under my hands and knees was thematically chosen, because we were surrounded by stuffed animals, and none of them were plush.

The room lay under the gaze of a second-story loft, so the wall was about 18′ high, and it was covered entirely with mounted pheasants and geese and wild turkeys. Lower, mallards and other things I didn’t recognize paddled the stucco wall near the molding. A planter filled with driftwood was entwined with water snakes. Under the gaze of their many, many watchful eyes, I learned how to let my husband support my weight, how to follow his counting cues as I breathed to ten.

We spent a month of Sundays there, with two unanticipated results: after graduating from an intensive class in natural delivery, I got as far in labor as 10cm only to have a medically-necessary c-section; and I planned for the fairy dust, and magical thinking.

When we graduated from our birthing class the taxidermist’s wife gave us an envelope filled with what I thought was white glitter. No, she told us, it was fairy dust. One day soon we’d be having our first baby, but five or six years later, that baby would be a kid, losing her first tooth. It was almost too much to imagine, so she told us to imagine it. She told us that until now, we’d done everything to prepare for birth. It was time to prepare for cultivating a childhood. What kind of parents did we want to be? How could we bring fun and magic and creativity into our child’s every morsel of existence?

You can’t dismiss such a thought lightly, especially with a dead hawk watching.

So I thought about it. And since that time, there are many ways that I’ve been Fun Mom; I’d even daresay Fun is one of the mothering areas I cover best. I’ve been creative and I’ve been magical and there is, truly, joy at bringing the wonder of their minds to the smiles on their faces.

My oldest just turned five and I used the occasion to make a big deal of registering her with the Tooth Fairy Network so her local tooth fairy would know where she lives. We had a special tooth pillow delivered to her bed on a bouquet of helium balloons. The delivery included a little note from her Tooth Fairy and a promise of future visits. It brought wonder to my daughter’s smile, and a sudden belief that a lower tooth is a little wiggly.

It did not include the white glitter, by the way. (Please don’t tell the hawk. He sort of scares me.) I’m good at Fun Mom but I’m solidly mediocre at Tidying Mom. Unless-- is the Tooth Fairy by chance friends with a Vacuuming Fairy?

Is that tooth actually wiggly? Not yet. I don’t think so.

But does it really matter?

Original Comments:

  1. C. says:
    My oldest son, who is now 7, lost his first tooth last year. It was definitely bittersweet. Yet further proof that my baby was getting big. I didn’t even know they had a Tooth Fairy Network, though, and I’m not going to tell my son about it now, because he’d just get mad that he wasn’t registered. The kid is sometimes too smart for his own good.

  2. Kelly says:
    I’ve always wanted to be a fun mom. I do creative pretty well, but being fun is harder for me. Love the envelope with the fairy dust and the lesson behind it!
    Kelly recently posted: Fever

  3. Tina says:
    Such a great post Robin! Being "Fun Mom” is like a trophy I shoot for every day…it’s that ridiculous. I am so driven toward this endeavor that should ANY occasion pass that I might miss, I kick myself. I have “only one” after all…what possible excuse could I have for not celebrating the Chinese New Year or Ground Hog’s day??? (Ummmmm….a life, maybe?) Fairy dust or not, your breakthrough role as tooth fairy sounds like above and beyond to me! LOL! I’ll be lucky to remember!

Pin It