If you've been to Minnesota's own Mall of America, and I pray to God you haven't, you may have seen the first floor kiosk of My Pillow Pets. These are pillows with little heads and feet and tails of animals. They also feature a velcro strap that you can fasten to make them look more like stuffed animals. Anyway, Charlie has the lion and for Christmas he gave Kate the elephant.
Because it's soft but mostly because her brother gave it to her, Kate adores this pillow, must have it every night.
So last week, Kate loses one of her front teeth and so it's Tooth Fairy time, right? Except last time this happened, ol' TF was a day late, which was my fault. THIS time, my lovely wife who is more careful than me, decides to be proactive. She slips a dollar between the elephant's legs (elephant being in "stuffed animal" mode) and proceeds to read Kate her goodnight books. But then for some reason, Kate decides to reach up there. She finds the dollar, naturally.
"MOM! The elephant pooped a dollar for my lost tooth!"
Thus, a legend was born. Soon, the creature was named "Poops-a-Dollar Elephant" and a mythology began to grow. Like many parents, I kind of wonder about- mmm I'm going to be careful with my phrasing even here- the perpetuation of charming stories versus the desire to be honest with one's children. But here was a situation where we knew it was a pillow that somehow contained a dollar and STILL Kate wanted to talk about who Poops-a-Dollar Elephant really was. I think adults get hung up on this idea of real v. make-believe but to 6-year-olds that just doesn't much matter.
I talked to 6-year-old Kate about Poops-a-Dollar's back story:
ME: So who is Poops-a-Dollar? Does he compete with the Tooth Fairy?
HER: No, he's her helper.
ME: Well, how does that work?
HER: The Tooth Fairy flies into your room and then Poops-a-Dollar comes in too and she might leave you money or he might just poop it out and leave it under your pillow.
ME: But it's not elephant poop, it's cash money.
ME: I think that's important to note.
ME: Does he crash into things? Because I'm thinking she's all pretty and delicate with the wand and the tiara but he's this big old elephant that poops money all over the place.
HER: Not all over the place! Under your pillow!
ME: Okay, right, but still: elephant. I wouldn't be surprised to see some broken lamps here and there.
ME: How is Poops-a-Dollar able to make that money come out? What do they feed him?
HER: Other money.
ME: So they just give him money and he just poops it out the other side?
ME: It seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through. You take this money and run it through an elephant who, somehow, doesn't digest it and then he poops it out the other side. I mean, why not just skip the whole elephant thing entirely and just hand out the dollars in some way that doesn't involve an elephant's colon?
HER: BECAUSE IT'S FUN!
And it is. And you get to say the phrase Poops-a-Dollar Elephant.