Last summer my five-year-old, Aspen, had a pretty nasty spill on her bike. I’d just put pedals on her balance bike. She was riding fairly well, but got cocky while on a ride to the store with her mother, and ended up knocking out both of her front teeth. Naturally, this was a pretty traumatic experience for her, and well … everyone.
If you want to hear a five-year-old go on endlessly about hardship and expecting all the popsicles, have her wreck on her bike and lose her front two teeth. I will admit, my wife and I did feel pretty sorry for the little lady, and she did sound pretty cute now that she had a whistle at the end of every sentence, so to make her feel better, we used the Tooth Fairy.
Aspen put her two front teeth under her pillow, and the next morning she woke up to a new Vampirina toy and note from the Tooth Fairy commending her on being so strong after losing her two front teeth. In the past, we have always left one dollar under the pillow, but considering the situation, we went a little further.
I must admit, the one dollar we usually leave is far more than I received as a child. I got a quarter. But hey, that was the ’80s, and a quarter probably went as far as a dollar does now when buying candy. But it does seem like parents are jumping the shark when it comes to making the Tooth Fairy experience extra special, regardless of the situation.
I’ve seen some extravagant social media posts about parents going full donkey when it comes to the Tooth Fairy. We did our own informal polling, and it seems like most people do pay out on a sliding scale, giving more for the first tooth, and less for the following teeth. Usually this is around one to two dollars to begin with. However, some parents are paying as much as $50 for the first tooth. What?! I mean, let’s do the math here: a child can lose up to 20 teeth during childhood. At $50 a tooth, that’s a thousand bucks. For most parents, that a mortgage payment.
Also, I cannot help but think about all the children chatting in the lunchroom about this sort of thing. It reminds me of a viral post I saw a recently from a social worker who mentioned that when parents give children expensive gifts like iPads from Santa, it makes children who live in families who can’t afford that sort of thing feel like they were bad, or that Santa doesn’t like them as much. I would assume this same sort of issue exists with the Tooth Fairy.
But as it goes with everything parenting related online, it gets worse. Some parents are saving their children’s teeth and then sewing them into a tooth monster doll and giving it back to them once they are older. Now listen, if this is really something you are into, then … you know … to each their own. But personally, if my parents gave me one of these things with my own teeth in them, I’d have freaked out a little. Or a lot. In fact, one commenter said this about their childhood and it really puts this sort of thing into perspective: “My mom collected all my teeth and saved them for a necklace. Still freaks me out to this day…” Then again this person obviously still has the necklace, so it must still hold some emotional value. If you are interested in getting one of these, or just looking at them for the fun of it, follow this link.
Some parents talked about painting the money gold, and others talked about dusting the room with glitter. One parent actually put a little door in their house for the Tooth Fairy, and while it might seem like a cool idea to me at first, I then remembered that my daughter’s bedroom door has never actually closed properly, so I should probably focus on that first.
A lot of parents mentioned stumbling around in the night and accidentally putting a much larger bill under their child’s pillow than they intended, which I can relate to. Some parents don’t practice the tradition, and many parents just do a casual exchange, where dad pulls out his wallet and the child hands him the tooth.
One practice I found pretty adorable is when children write notes to the Tooth Fairy. Many of them sounded unprompted and from the heart, and I think that’s pretty sweet. But on the whole, after reading through literally hundreds of comments on the subject of the Tooth Fairy, it sounds to me like the majority of parents leave one quarter to one dollar. Most said they are inconsistent about the Tooth Fairy’s arrival, and much of it depends on what they have in their pockets at 10 p.m. when they suddenly realized they needed to pay the kid for their tooth.
As a father who constantly sees posts from parents making the Tooth Fairy extra, extra, extra special, reading through these comments made me feel human again. And I hope it has the same impact on you. Sure, some people really jump the shark when it comes to the Tooth Fairy, and the Elf on the Shelf, and birthday parties, all that other jazz. But most parents, the real parents, the parents like you and me, we are just winging it. And you know what, there’s no shame in that. At the end of the day, we won’t be nearly as stressed and I assure you, your children will love you just as much.