A bicultural dilemma, Tooth Fairy vs Ratón Perez

When I was a child I did not have a clue of the Tooth Fairy existence.  I never wrote tooth fairynotes to her.  I never had the privilege to receive money or presents from her. However, living in the States, I learned she has made many American children happy and looking forward to loose more milk teeth.  I do not think not meeting her was a racial issue. I believe it was more of a cultural, logistics and geographical issue. In spite of my ignorance, the magic of loosing my milk teeth was still present.

See, the Tooth Fairy has a business partner.  Bolivia and many Central and South   American countries are covered by El Ratoncito Pérez (Pérez the mouse), a very friendly buddy. Since he comes from Spanish ascendance, he most definitelyraton perez understands Español. He does not just bring money.  He brings toys and some times very special coins!  My parents did not like mice under our pillows very much. So, they just let him get our very first milk tooth. BUT, he brought us a nice toy in exchange, it was almost like Christmas.  I figure he knew he would be just visiting once.  I really do not know if my parents knew of the fairy and the mouse partnership, perhaps they would have liked better fairies.

When my oldest child lost his first tooth, I was ready to call for the little mouse. But, there was a little problem. We were racing our family in the United States, which is Tooth Fairy’s territory.  What do you do?  Do you impose your mouse believes in a fairy territory? My husband had never heard of the little mouse.  He could not believe a mouse could make a kid happy!  So I gave in, and we started to talk about the Tooth Fairy.  The fact that my kid was developing normally was more important that who should we let take the tooth.

As my other kids started to loose their teeth, grow and develop normally. I started to feel more at ease with American culture, my own culture and the culture that we were creating as a family.  Our bicultural marriage was also developing in a healthy manner.  My husband and I came to the realization that it is OK to expect Perez Raton, or sometimes the Tooth Fairy.  Our kids were growing.  YES, mice and fairy magic can be present in a bicultural home.  There is always room for normal development as a family!

both mouse and fairyOur kids started to choose, who should they send their little letter to.  They truly believe that the Mouse is a bit more generous.  But they like the idea of Fairy powder.  The mouse sometimes is more generous because demands Spanish written letters, that somehow take more effort to write.  After all no matter who you choose to come, changing teeth can be one of the funnest experiences, because we are creating memories.

Do you have the Perez mouse visit your home?  Do you have both? Does your not Latino husband or wife like the little mouse?  Mine has finally accepted him, and he even lets him come more often than my parents did!

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2 thoughts on “A bicultural dilemma, Tooth Fairy vs Ratón Perez

  1. This is a wonderful post! I share this tradition with my K-4 Spanish students and they are very open to the idea of a little mouse coming to take a tooth…I have a tooth chart in my room where we keep track of lost teeth, I give my students a ‘Feliz caída’ certificate (“from” Ratoncito Pérez) for each lost tooth, and incorporate him into lots of activities throughout the year. They have many times said that of course the Tooth Mouse could come to the US and take teeth, working together with the Tooth Fairy 🙂 Here is a link to a blogpost I wrote about bringing this tradition into the Spanish classroom http://elmundodepepita.blogspot.com/2015/02/authentic-tangible-culture-for-young.html

    Julie
    Mundo de Pepita, Resources for Teaching Spanish to Children

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