There are people out there that live for the Tooth Fairy magic. Tiny envelopes with miniature notes, official tooth fairy receipts, fairy dust and glittery coins, cute little scented handsewn pouches.
I’m not one of them.
There are also people out there googling “when is the best time to tell a child that the Tooth Fairy is a lie?”
I don’t want to be one of them.
My older child turned 6 when she got her first loose tooth, and it only meant one thing.
The day will come when I have to turn our house upside down at the most inconvenient time to scramble for some cold hard cash in just the right denomination. I have plenty of friends that supply me with a wealth of Tooth Fairy horror tales.
The truth is, I wasn’t sure I wanted to let the winged creature into our home.
Prouder than ever, my daughter gently wiggled that tooth all day long every day.
Time was running out, and I had no game plan.
It must have been purely coincidental that the TV show my kids watched the following morning was about none other than the whole Teeth Business.
Excitedly, my daughter ran to me, saying “Mommy, there was this girl on TV, AND she had a loose tooth, AND it fell out, AND she put it under her pillow, AND the Tooth Fairy came and took the tooth and left a PREEESEEENT for the girl!!! Can we do that, please? Pleeeeease?! Can we have the Tooth Fairy come to our house as well???”
She skipped across the room with glee and wiggled some more.
In all fairness, I suspect that the identity of the gift bearer didn’t matter as much. I bet she would have been willing to close her eyes super tight at night and have the gremlin drop by with a gift.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am.
I’ve never been too fond of the widely celebrated seasonal characters and other fictional creatures. The idea of strangers, mutated animals and other weirdos sneaking into the houses of little kids seems awfully wrong to me.
I can roll with baby Jesus which is our traditional way of celebrating Christmas, but only because he is a freaking baby. I tolerate Santa Claus because he seems to be a nice guy, but the Elf on the Shelf or the Easter Bunny are a no go at our house.
And the Tooth Fairy?
Don’t get me wrong. We love fairies. The woodland kind.
The Tooth Fairy wasn’t a part of my growing up. Losing teeth was a natural phenomenon that every child went through. I think the first lost tooth might have gotten a Hip Hip Hooray, but celebration of every single lost baby tooth definitely didn’t happen. (We did just fine, btw.)
The tooth came out much quicker than I had planned for.
Because of course it did.
What do I do? What do I tell her?? What will she say???
She freaked out.
She didn’t even realize at first that the tooth was out. She expected it to hurt. She said it hurt. A lot…!
But it didn’t. So she felt confused.
She freaked out again when she realized that the tooth was really out.
Just to rightfully hold her spot at the Drama Queen Club For Six Year Old Girls, she freaked out once more when she saw the tiny tooth in the tissue.
Then she freaked out when she could no longer feel the tooth with her tongue.
And then she freaked out one last time when she went to look in the mirror.
But then she exclaimed, “Mommy, I’m NOT giving my tooth to the Tooth Fairy! No way!!! I changed my mind! I want to keep it. It’s SPECIAL!!!”
That’s her thing. Everything is special to her.
My little girl decided that she was going to hoard all of her lost teeth in a special box that has her name engraved on it.
Phew… So all this time I was worried for nothing…?!
It was a one-time thing, and it was special. We went to the book store and bought a few books that my daughter had picked out. Coincidentally, one involved the Tooth Fairy. She also got her special bubble gum at the health food store next door (the irony). It was a great day.
Later in the day when it was almost time for bed, my daughter seemed a little startled. Turns out, she suddenly remembered that someone may come knocking when she falls asleep, demanding to have the tooth handed over. But it was hers, and she wasn’t going to part with it, right?
Tooth aside, I got the impression she wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of someone completely new fluttering around her room at night.
So I leaned over and whispered motherly wisdom into her ear, completely bursting the magical glittery bubble and telling her who really collects the teeth and leaves the gifts and money.
She seemed relieved.
I also told her that maybe – if she wants to believe – the Tooth Fairy might still come at night to check on her.
I had also asked her not to spoil other kids’ surprises. (We’ll see how that goes, but so far so good. In a twisted way, she takes a lot of pride in knowing but not telling.)
We’re not planning anything special for the following loose (and lost) teeth except for a lot of love, excitement, and support.
ETA: 4 lost teeth later, the gift-less Tooth Fairy occasionally flutters around while I have one less thing to worry about. See? I love fairies. 🙂