Thursday, 5 January 2012

The fairy-mouse : a bicultural story

There is a note in the scrapbook that (I believe) is (still) in my old room at my parents' house in New Jersey. It says something like:  Dear Becca, Thank you for the lovely tooth. A little baby will love it. From, the Tooth Fairy.
It's a note my Mom wrote and saved when I lost my first tooth. I found the note along with a quarter (which was a lot in 1981!) in the heart shaped tooth pillow that was attached to my bedpost.

About 6 weeks ago at the breakfast table, Suzanne told me her tooth hurt. I touched it and it moved...and so did it's neighbor! J and I were both verklempt (see Dana Carvey in SNL). We haven't talked much about it, but the little we did talk about it went something like this : tooth fairy or petite souris. We decided to mix them up. It's not completely farfetched - If Peppa Pig's tooth fairy could be a pig, then why couldn't Suzanne's souris be a fairy and vice versa?

We both hold our cultural symbols and childhood symbols close to our hearts. Losing teeth and finding a coin under your pillow is a childhood rite of passage. The tooth fairy/souris is a minor and easily resolved issue which touches us both. But there will be other issues which are harder to resolve and which don't have a happy middle, where you can't just combine the two cultural symbols and come up with a reasonably acceptable hybrid.

But for the moment, Suzanne's teeth are literally hanging by a thread. They are just hanging out in her mouth, waiting to fall off into the sink or her glass of water or the toilet...

Suzanne fiercly believes that the fairy mouse will come and give her at least two coins for her tooth (maybe not such a bad idea to give her a French and an American coin so she can start saving for this summer's trip to the US?).  So, when the fairy mouse leaves a letter to a bilingual kid, what language is it in : French or English?




6 comments:

Jan Exner said...

Maybe in French with a secret message in English at the end just for her?

Reb said...

or maybe in franglais? or maybe two letters...or maybe I'm just complicating it all.

L said...

My parents (oops, I mean the tooth fairy) left one quarter and one Deutschmark for my first teeth. I remember feeling soooo special!

Jaime said...

We are in the same boat...However in Cyrille's family the Souris left a little toy..so when Ni list his 1st tooth it was a Fairy Mouse who left a coin and a figurine...
I never got a letter from the tooth fairy...
But maybe the fairy mouse writes in the country of origin...ie living in France, French Fairy Mouse, living in the US, her cousin American Fairy Mouse...(Not sure if you are planning on living in the US at some time)
Kids are very believing...and it would be hard for 1 fairy mouse to take care of the whole world!

Alguém said...

i don't know who you are, or how i got here , but i want you to know, somewhere way in south brazil theres a person wishing you to have much happiness and all the health in the world!

Reb said...

In the end, she got a silver dollar for her first tooth on Sunday night. She was quite disappointed when she learned that she couldn't use it in France. So for her second tooth on Monday night, she got 2€. I think the souris is more generous than the fairy.

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