A heads-up for the Tooth Fairy

Clementine is about to lose her first tooth. Her friends started losing theirs years ago, but, for whatever reason, hers just weren’t ready to start dropping out of her face until now, at the age of seven-and-a-half. She’s got a mouth full of wiggly ones, but there’s one in particular that’s really getting ready to go. She can spin it about 360-degrees in either direction. I think it’s just hanging on by a single, dried-out strand of whatever kind of mini-umbilical-cord-kind-of-thing it is that connects our teeth to our heads. Her plan, from what I can tell, was to see if she could hold onto it until the 9th, when she goes back to school. Apparently, there’s something incredible that happens when kids lose their teeth at her school. She won’t give me all of the details, but I’ve been able to discern that it has something to do with a treasure chest. I’m guessing her plan was to walk into school on the 9th, bite into a carmel apple, pull it away from her head with all of her teeth sticking out of it, like cloves from a holiday orange, and then spend the day emptying this mythical treasure chest. She’s apparently come to the realization, however, that this isn’t going to happen. She knows that, at the most, she’s got a day before they start leaping from her head in rapid succession. I know, because I just pulled the above letter from under her pillow. It’s a warning to the Tooth Fairy to start getting the money ready.

So, here’s my question… When the tooth does finally come, what are our options? What are we obligated to do? Does there have to be some kind of magical, sub-pillow exchange of goods? And, if so, what’s the going rate these day for baby teeth? Is it expected that our tooth fairy will leave a tiny letter? And, if so, what should it say? Can a tooth fairy make demands? Can a Tooth Fairy critique someone’s brushing habits, or tell a kid that she needs to eat less candy? Any advice you’ve got would be appreciated… Oh, and is there just one Tooth Fairy, or does every family have their own? And, while we’re at it, what does this Tooth Fairy (or these tooth fairies) do with the teeth? Do they build things from them, or is it just some kind of weird fetish? And, speaking of weird, have you ever seen what baby teeth look like inside a child’s skull, as their new adult teeth begin pushing their way to the surface? I think I really freaked Clementine out the other day when I showed her.

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27 Comments

  1. leg
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    love the kids book, “dad, are you the toothfairy?” by jason alexander. check it out for yourself.

  2. Susan
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    $1/tooth is the rate at our house. It’s understood that there are different fairies (they have regions) because some children get upwards of $5/tooth but we don’t live in that neighborhood – it’s too high rent.

    Our fairy does not leave a note unless it’s a note of apology for forgetting to take the tooth on the first night or to specifically answer a note left for her (ours is a girl). We think that she sells the teeth to someone else, but we aren’t sure what the end use is.

    Sometimes the tooth fairy left change instead of a dollar bill because, for whatever reason, she was required to come whenever my wallet was empty of cash. Her presence was also required on the nights that I was the most tired. Go figure.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

  3. John Galt
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Our family outsources all tooth related activity to an Indonesian child. It’s cheaper, and it allows us to stay strict about our No Fairy policy.

  4. Edward
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The Tooth Fairy values the teeth of wealthy children more than she does the teeth of middle class children. Your daughter will soon discover this, and you will be forced to fill her in on the cruel realities of life.

    What should happen is that the government should handle all tooth-related cash disbursements.

  5. Fran
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    We are a $1/tooth family too. Once we got organized to leave a $1 coin. Mostly we scrabble around in the couch for change. For convenience’s sake, I suggest getting a glass or a “tooth fairy pillow” to put the tooth in so you aren’t reaching under her pillow in the middle of the night. Knowing C, she will have a booby trap set up anyway, being caught with the hand under the pillow blows the whole thing.

  6. Jordan Miller
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Please have Clementine tell Elliot that she hasn’t lost a tooth yet. He is very upset that, at seven, he has only lost two teeth, and he seems to think he’s some kind of freak.
    He lost his first tooth at his dad’s house, and he got five bucks. I think that’s something that should be included in custody agreements. Overnights, child support, agreed-upon tooth fairy compensation. I had to handle it by saying that the tooth fairy gives five for the first, but a dollar each for the rest.
    The real problem is that he now knows there is no tooth fairy (don’t worry, he won’t tell Clem), so now I’m really not sure what happens. Will he just hand me the tooth and I’ll hand him a dollar? It feels like such a morbid exchange. Like something that should take place in Thailand.

  7. Eel
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If a tooth goes for a buck, I wonder what I could get for a kidney.

  8. ChelseaL
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Leave a lump of coal. No use in cultivating idealism.

  9. Mr. X
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    If child skulls aren’t scarey enough, you could always show her a photo of the tooth fairy.

    http://i.imgur.com/5qS24.jpg

  10. Posted January 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I have some nice lumps of bituminous that I could let you have for $10. with a hammer you can break it up into smaller pieces and have some for each tooth. My experience tells me that after the first lump, the little one just throw the old teeth away and don’t bother.

  11. gary
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    tell clementine i am willing to pay her $20 for the tooth.

  12. anonymous
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Pervert.

    (That was directed at Gary.)

  13. Anonymatt
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Be sure your tooth fairy story explains why only one of Clementine’s parents has their baby teeth in a jar on the mantle.

  14. gary
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    it goes without saying that if i’m going to pay $20 for a tooth, i need to pull it myself to ensure it’s authenticity. i’d hate to end up with a counterfeit mantle tooth.

  15. Ale Roka
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Most importantly, this a teaching moment. Fortunately, you have several great options:

    1. Put a $100 bill under your pillow (you can res-use it) and declare, “Look what the Tooth Fairy left ME!” (Teaches the value of work in a free market economy.)

    2. Put a JFK half dollar under her pillow. (Teaches similarities between nymphish fairies and overly handsome liberals.)

    3. Put a coupon under her pillow that promises “New teeth for old.” (Teaches futility of sacrifice.)

    4. Put a picture of Jesus under her pillow. (Teaches complex thinking as one wonders why with tens of thousands of depictions, he rarely bares his teeth.)

    5. Leave the tooth. (Teaches reality bites.)

    And so on. The important thing is that she learns that some key signifier that youth has fallen and she now has the teeth in mouth she will likely die with.

    I think it’s important to say, “You had your baby teeth for seven years, but these are the teeth you will die with.”

    All that said, like Fran, we just gave our kid dollar coins since we’re mostly cowards at parenting, but several were Hiawatha’s and Susan B. Anthony’s…

  16. Sacagawea
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    but several were Hiawatha’s and Susan B. Anthony’s…

    Say what, bitch.

  17. Dan
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    $1 per tooth is the going rate at our house and it happens when I remember. Sometimes it takes an extra day. No notes.

  18. Eel
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    In my family, the Tooth Fairy chloroforms kids, and leaves them in the woods, covered in animal blood, every time a tooth is lost.

  19. Josh
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    my mom made me presents. she left a teeny tiny wing in a teeny tiny box, and once a tooth floating in a teeny tiny glass vial.

  20. Ale Roka
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, several were Hiawathas and stern, manish Sacagaweas.

  21. susan bea & the knee
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Hey,… leave me out of this.

  22. EGNB
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Our C had been receiving anywhere from the equivalent of $1.65 to $2.50 in whatever the local currency happens to be where she loses the tooth. She apparently has a previously arranged understanding with the tooth fairy that she gets to keep her tooth AND the money.

    Her last tooth loss account was here, http://www.navalgazing.com/2011/12/08/tooth/ and shortly afterward, the NYT appropriately featured a story about one family’s dilemma with tooth traditions: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/fashion/act-ii-for-the-tooth-fairy-this-life.html?pagewanted=all

  23. K2
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Our daughter was late to loose her teeth as well. When she turned 7, we started getting aggressive, having the tooth fairy leave increasing threatening letters. The last one said simply, “Give me a tooth by the end of the month, or I’m going to start taking your money.” It worked!

  24. Val
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    When I was a young gal I left a survey for the Easter Bunny. I found it strange and disturbing that the bunny had hand writing that was very similar to my mom’s. I hope this doesn’t happen at your house.

  25. Posted January 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t you supposed to leave another tooth? (Matthew 5:38)

  26. Mr. X
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Well played, Mr. Skinner.

  27. CO
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I wallowed a tooth when I was seven. For all I know, it’s still stuck somewhere inside of me, all these years later.

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