Are Wings Required?

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?


9 thoughts on “Are Wings Required?

  1. Baguette is too young to have learned about the tooth fairy–her peers are still getting the last of her baby teeth–but here’s the approach I plan to use when she says, “Friend X got more money from the tooth fairy than I did”:

    “Oh, well, the tooth fairy doesn’t really understand the value of money. She just leaves whatever she’s got in her hand at the moment.”

    Note that my wording assumes that the tooth fairy is female, which is interesting considering that I know FOR A FACT that when I grew up, it was my father.

  2. My husband is the tooth fairy, and he has forgotten a couple of times to replace our 7-yr-old’s tooth with quarters. After having checked in the morning, found her tooth still there, complained to her parents, then been told about 5 minutes later to check again, our daughter is totally on to us. We’ve already lost this game.

    1. The quick thinking seems to be more common than I expected. It’s nice to hear that the TF sometimes fails. I like going in to this with realistic expectations. The TF financial stats surprised me too. But, not as much as the shocking statistic on the radio this morning: The average American household spends $44 on Halloween candy. I felt like the jumbo bag for $8 was excessive. Some folks must be way nicer to their trick-or-treaters.

  3. We too, are looking for ideas since no teeth have been lost in this house either. I have heard scary stories of entering child’s room only to have them roll over and almost catch said TF. These stories are told with fear in the eyes of parents… these are not easy tasks we place for ourselves.

    My husband just invented a new one this year that involved Halloween Fairies that carve the pumpkin for you if you draw a picture and put it near your cleaned out pumpkin. In the morning, child find’s their pumpkin neatly carved just like the picture… it worked this year, but what if the drawings get more complex??? Yikes.

    Keep us updated on your plan…

  4. Tooth prices have definitely gone up. I can’t remember when I stopped getting money from the tooth fairy, but I do know that as long as the quarter was shiny I was A-Ok with it.

    I think I would give the 5 bucks to a kid who uses the door trick to get a tooth out. Although, I wouldn’t recommend that lol

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