The Mommy Chronicles: Fostering a Healthy Imagination in Little Ones

25 Apr 2019 Marlena Rice
Beaux William and Midnight, pretending to be a basketball player in Michael Jordan's 1990s movie Space Jam, danger tape and all. Beaux William and Midnight, pretending to be a basketball player in Michael Jordan's 1990s movie Space Jam, danger tape and all. Marlena Rice

Right now, my son’s gums are so prevalent, I have the mind to call our family dentist to ensure nothing has gone wrong in the growing of his “big people” teeth. For the life of me, I cannot remember how long I was toothless as a child, but I know it wasn’t this long!  

After my Little’s most recent gem fell out while playing, he turned it over to me for safe keeping because his bed was not made up for pillow safety. A short while later, he decided to inspect it further, I’m sure for blood, because he is truly a boy’s boy. Can you guess what happened? Yep. Said gem was lost and has yet to be found 

As I was thinking about what may happen if our family’s Great Dane found the tooth first, the first words out of my Little’s toothless mouth as he pouted were, “Now the tooth fairy can’t come and bring me toys!”  

Yes, he said toys. Quarters and dollar bills under pillows in my house went unappreciated, so yes, mama resorted to Hot Wheels and Matchbox racing cars a long time ago. Don’t judge. But I digress 

As I halfheartedly searched for his tooth (because I really didn’t want to visit Target for race cars during a tornado watch), I found myself wonderingWhen is the right time to come clean about my Little’s imaginary gang of friends? And worst yet, what will he think once I tell him?  

I’ve always thought it important for children to have a creative outlet, whether it’s art, writing, acting, or anything else. But as I searched the carpet in my bedroom for my Little’s tiny tooth, I wondered if our impending conversation about the Tooth Fairy would stifle his future creativity. I mean, I haven’t been five in a long time, but I’m pretty sure when I found out that Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy weren’t real, I was pretty bummed out.  

But, on the other hand, I do consider myself to be a creative and crafty individual. Is this because I had make-believe friends, and believed in these two childhood legends? Can the people I know who lack artistry and creativity of any kind blame it on encountering “spoilers” as children? These questions need answers, folks!  

Despite the fact that both she and her sister graduated with creative degrees, Tuscaloosa mom Amanda Bayhi-Clifton doesn’t think that believing in the usual gang of imaginary friends as children is the reason they tend to be more creative as adults.  

While her sister seemed more naturally inclined toward all things artistic while growing up, Amanda found her creativity being spurred by those around her. 

“I can attest to my creativity being nurtured by several school teachers who wanted to see my writing flourish,” she says of her talent. 

So, what’s a mom to do? 


Quit worrying about your child’s future adult personality. 

Keep your child in good company that fosters an active, happy, and pure imagination, and… 

Since you know your child, have confidence that you will know when the right time comes to tell them the cold, hard truth. And, of course, understand that when the imaginary gang of gift givers has suddenly become a party of one, who happens to be more accessible, you may have more requests to visit Target! 

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Check out her blog at   

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