TOOTH: one of the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws or in many of the lower vertebrates on other bones in the walls of the mouth or pharynx and serve especially for the prehension and mastication of food and as weapons of offense and defense
Son has his first loose tooth. I’ve been late or absent for a few key childhood traditions like St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun mischief and detailed “first word/first food” style baby books. I keep meaning to subpoena Daughter’s pediatric height records so that make it look like we measured her more regularly on the adorable growth chart in the hall.
I’m determined to get this tradition right. A lot is at stake. Each of my two children will lose 20 baby teeth. So, the tooth fairy will make forty appearances in our home.
I started with some research – and by that I mean I read the Wikipedia entry for “tooth fairy.” I was seeking answers to some basic questions and discovered the following fairy facts:
What does the tooth fairy look like?
Details of the tooth fairy’s appearance are not settled. Most people believe the tooth fairy is female but there are a range of forms. In children’s books and popular artwork, the tooth fairy has been depicted as a range of things including a pixie, a dragon, a flying ballerina, a potbellied flying man smoking a cigar, a bat and a bear.
Who invented the tooth fairy?
In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out and then slip money or a gift under the pillow for the sixth tooth (trails of fairy dust optional). There was a tradition recorded in early Norse writings of a tooth fee (tann-fé) paid when a child lost his or her first tooth.
How much does the tooth fairy pay?
It varies by country, economic status and peer pressure, but a 2011 study found that American children receive an average of $2.60 per tooth.
What do the “good moms” do?
For this research, I left Wikipedia and turned to the guilt-inducing Pinterest and Etsy. Oh, my! There was a range of elaborate ideas that I can only imagine were created by childless people or people with only one kid. Let’s remember that we are going to do this twenty times per kid. But, generally the consensus seems to be an adorable pillow with a pocket that allows for swapping out the tooth for some cash. But, folks, let’s talk about these images you are posting. Why are five dollar bills so prominently featured? Again, I’d like to remind you that each kid has 20 baby teeth. That’s $100 for the privilege of sneaking into a room late at night to handle “one of the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws.” Is that how you want to spend your money?
So, I am soliciting ideas and advice. Lessons learned from the tooth fairy veterans. It may be too late for you, but I haven’t set any expectations yet. I’m looking for a special tradition that is celebratory but practical, can be prepared on relatively short notice, and can be repeated forty times without compromising my financial solvency.
What is the going rate for hard bony appendages at your house?
What do you wish you had done or not done?