The Truth Fairy

How long is it acceptable for your child to believe in the Tooth Fairy? My son is nearly eight and fully believes a magical winged creature breaks and enters into our home to purchase his grungy teeth to add to her toothy collection. It’s a bizarre concept right?
Yesterday my son had four teeth extracted. Poor kid has been cursed with his mother’s toothy grin – too many teeth, not enough jaw. The dentist has a plan to make room for incomers to minimize the impending overcrowding. My boy was a little nervous, but the anticipation of the Tooth Fairy’s bounty overshadowed his fear. 
Last night, after examining his tiny teeth for the umpteenth time, he carefully stowed them inside his tooth keeper and tucked it under his pillow. A few hours later, an extremely tired Tooth Fairy tippy toed (loudly) into his dark bedroom. I deftly (not even close) removed the tooth keeper and promptly dropped it on the floor. After retrieving the tooth case from under the bed, I stood up ready to make my escape but cracked my head on the underside of the bunk bed. FYI, the Tooth Fairy has a mouth on her like a  drunken sailor. Once I regained consciousness, I left behind $8 and carefully reversed out of the room undetected. All would have been well except…the teeth were missing. Dental damn!
I crawled back in and searched in the dark for the four missing teeth, scattered somewhere across the floor. It was in that moment, as I lay on the floor holding two bloody teeth in the palm of my hand that I wondered, “When is it time to come clean and tell the tooth truth?”
I plan to keep the fantastical Santa charade going for as long as possible. It’s so much fun and if you ask me, a completely plausible story. Our all-believing son is so convinced, that last year he was legitimately concerned the Elf (Santa’s spy who comes to stay with us every Christmas) and Tooth Fairy were headed for an Elf Versus Tooth Fairy Smackdown. What kind of serious emotional damage are we inflicting  upon him with our ridiculous lies? Meh, he’ll get over it and justly pass along this treachery to his own kids. 
Hopefully Santa will live on for a few more years, but what about the Tooth Fairy? It’s a fairy….who claims teeth. Gross and completely weird. And, the Easter Bunny. Really? A giant bunny who performs home invasions all over town, delivering chocolates to children to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, or something.  Sorry, I may have slept through a few (all) chapel services in my childhood and the details are fuzzy. Like the Easter Bunny. 
Do you tell your children the truth if they haven’t discovered it on their own by a certain age?
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