I pretty much knew from the moment I met my daughter that she was a little different. She marched to the beat of her own drum. And I pretty much let her take the lead from the day she was born. I would let her guide me as to what she felt comfortable with and we would work around things she didn’t feel comfortable with. But I never thought the Tooth Fairy was going to be one of those things we had to cut out of her childhood.
She was fine with Santa Claus coming and bring presents every year. In fact, she looks forward to it every day of the year. She cannot wait to visit him every holiday season and catch up on what he’s been doing. She’s fine with the Easter Bunny coming to the house every spring and leaving her an Easter basket filled with yummy treats and trinkets. But the Tooth Fairy coming into our home and leaving her money in exchange for the teeth under her pillow was just something she could not bring herself to participate in. And that’s ok.
There was something about the Tooth Fairy that was overwhelming to her. It’s common for children with Sensory Processing Disorder to feel overwhelmed in situations and need to separate themselves. My job, as a parent of a child with a sensory processing disorder, is to recognize when she’s feeling overwhelmed and help her express herself and remove her from the stimuli. In this situation, it was the thought of the Tooth Fairy coming for a visit.
When she was little I didn’t press the subject. We just put her teeth in a drawer and went about life. When she was in 1st grade we discussed it a little more. I asked her why she didn’t want the Tooth Fairy to visit and she said it was because she thought it was creepy. She didn’t want some stranger coming into her room while she slept and touching the bed. I can appreciate that. And when you look at it from her perspective, it does sound creepy. So we just kept saving her teeth.
Now, fast forward a few more years. We have 10 teeth in “storage” and we still have not had the Tooth Fairy visit. But last night, she decided it was time. She came to me and asked if she could put the tooth she had lost earlier that day under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy! She said I know the Tooth Fairy got a notification that I lost a tooth today at school so she’ll be on the lookout for it. I told her let’s give it a shot.
When bedtime came, she came to bed with FOUR teeth! She had found a little pouch where I stored the other baby teeth and she wanted to turn those in as well. I’ll admit, I chuckled a little. This kid was looking for a payday!
I tucked her in and she had her teeth under her pillow. Now it was time to sleep. She was so nervous and excited that she outlasted me and I fell asleep before she did. Then she woke me up in the middle of the night with a nightmare and needed some snuggles. So at 5 am this morning, the Tooth Fairy was finally able to visit. She took the teeth and replaced them with $1 gold coins.
When my daughter woke up she was so excited to see a pile of coins. Then when she discovered they were $1 coins she was even more excited! The Tooth Fairy left her 20 $1 coins for her 4 teeth. Was it a little excessive? Maybe, but this kid has waited over 5 years to finally be able to do the Tooth Fairy. Now she is running around the house trying to find the other 6 teeth so she can get some more gold coins.
But this is what it’s like living with a child with a Sensory Processing Disorder. Sometimes there are things she cannot bring herself to do because it’s just too much, she’s overwhelmed and if I push it’ll cause a meltdown. So I didn’t push the Tooth Fairy and I didn’t ruin the magic behind it either. I let her come to terms with it on her own. And I had accepted that we may never do the Tooth Fairy as well and I was ok with that. I let her take the lead and followed. When she was comfortable I stepped up and did all things in Tooth Fairy fashion for her to have a positive first experience. And she did, she had a wonderful first experience. Now she’s talking about finding the other teeth she’s lost and placing those under her pillow for her next big payout. I think I may have created a monster!