For the fourth time in the past 6 months, my son announced tonight “Mommy!! I lost a TOOTH! The tooth fairy is coming again!!”Once again, my real-life parenting is not matching up with my before-kids ideals. In my “pre-kids” mind, my kids would have a monogrammed keepsake tooth pillow set aside for when they began to lose teeth. I would have a secret stash of crisp dollar bills hidden away, and maybe we’d read a special book about the tooth fairy before bed. In reality, my first thought was “Please don’t let him bleed on the car’s upholstery…” (as he’d lost it in the car, after dark at 5:30 pm, thankyouverymuch time change…), closely followed by the thought “I literally have absolutely no cash at all in the house, aside from an emergency $100 bill and that is so. not. happening.” He lost his first tooth about 6 months ago, at age five. I didn’t even realize kids lose teeth at five– I thought it was more like seven! I had no tooth pillow, no crisp bills, nada. So, we improvised, as you do in most of parenting. Here’s what our slacker-fairy does:
Leaving the Fairy notes:
Our tooth fairy loves notes. She’s especially generous to grateful kids who say “thank you”. When one of the boys loses a tooth, he must write a note for the tooth fairy and leave it with his tooth. This is partly to add more pomp and circumstance to the event, and partly because I always like an excuse to collect cute notes from my kids 😉 To be fair, this isn’t entirely a new idea; see my vintage tooth fairy correspondence below along with my son’s:
There is no fancy pillow, but hey! We have tape right? Or at least envelopes?
I dropped the ball on buying a tooth pillow, and there are so many cute ones out there. I had grand plans. But, alas, I never got to it for kid #1, and so I cannot do it for kid #2 or I will suffer terrible mommy guilt. So, the kids simply tape their tooth to their fairy note. Sounds good, right? Well, one night we were out of tape. That’s right, not only did I fail to buy a tooth pillow, I apparently can’t even handle stocking tape some days. So, envelopes also work.
Fairy Swag is Varied and Unpredictable
You may have heard the buzz about what the tooth fairy leaves these days. Some kids get quarters, some get books, some get a lot of cash. It’s no shock that kids chat, and I knew the question of “why does Johnny get $10 per tooth and I only get $1?” would arise. Here’s the deal: Each night, the fairy leaves tooth fairy land to visit all the children who lost a tooth that day. She starts each night with a certain amount of money, and what she leaves depends on how many kids she has to visit that night. If she only has a short list, you may get more money, but if lots of kids lost teeth that day, she has to split it up among them all. I am comfortable leaving a dollar under the pillow and a sprinkle of glitter on the bedside table, but if I only have few quarters or a five dollar bill, we just mix it up. Your friend at school got $20? Must have been a slow night for the fairy last night! 😉
The tooth fairy doesn’t mess around.
If you want a fairy visit, you need to go to bed, my children. If you’re awake when she flies by our house, she doesn’t return until the next evening. You don’t snooze, you lose, in this case. If mom and dad “forget” (this hasn’t happened yet, but I’m not too optimistic that with 40 baby teeth between 2 kids I won’t forget at some point), it could be raining in tooth fairy land that night, and fairies can’t fly with wet wings. Furthermore, the tooth fairy just doesn’t have time to sort thorough messy rooms. I bookmarked this letter because I think it is a level of parenting genius that I admire:
So there you have it! Our tooth fairy procedures. If you follow this tradition with your kids, what does your tooth fairy leave?