It’s about that time when the kids are losing teeth. First one and the all of a sudden your child’s mouth has eight obnoxiously large teeth replacing the cute little ones that made their smile so precious. It’s not ideal, but even less ideal is making the Tooth Fairy magic live up to the expectations.
The Tooth Fairy tradition began way back with the early Norse and Europeans. When a child lost a baby tooth, it was buried to spare the child from hardships in the next life. Imagine being able to ditch the Tooth Fairy tradition as it stands today and equally as important, ditch the tooth. Digging a little hole, dropping the tooth into it, and throwing some dirt on it seems like a dream. Many years later, the Europeans introduced a “tand-fe” or tooth fee. Hence, today’s practice of leaving money under the pillow in exchange for a tooth. Although, had the Europeans not started a tooth fee, we may be having elaborate funerals for the teeth instead, which I think would suck equally to the fairy currency tradition. I mean seriously, can you imagine a whole family standing around a hole, maybe one “generously” dug by the dog, and laying the tooth to rest? I would venture to guess that we would now have little coffins for the tooth with a biodegradable option and all sorts of headstones with pictures of little teeth ready to be personalized with the child’s name, tooth number, and way in which the tooth was lost. Hmmm, not so different after all.
I digress. So the Europeans began offering a tooth fee for the FIRST tooth. Now that is a tradition that I can get behind. One and done! But like all traditions, they evolve over time and either become grander or disappear. It seems the Tooth Fairy tradition is sticking around, so it is best to put on your big girl or boy panties and embrace it for what it is because it (for reasons beyond me) is a huge deal in the life of a child. HUGE! So here we are in the age of the advancing Tooth Fairy. With the the presence of the internet, social media, and Pinterest, the Tooth Fairy is far more than a quarter and a plastic bracelet under the pillow. Now there are bitty notes, wands, doors, buckets, chalkboards, and tooth keepsakes to preserve the “precious” baby teeth. Oh and I forgot to mention that the average going rate for a tooth is in 2018 according to USA Today is $3.25 and hit an all time high of $4.66 in 2017. The $3.25 average makes sense to me, but $4.66? How did they come up with that number. I think the people that create the random 66 cents in the average are my people. These are the people that are likely scrambling last minute after a glass or two of wine and winging it like me when it comes to the payout.
The first baby tooth in my little family came out with only a few hours of notice. The payout was what available cash could be found at the time. I knew that inflation had occurred since I was a kid, but probably should have done some research prior in order to be prepared. It isn’t like I didn’t know my baby boy was eventually going to lose his teeth. But prepared is not my M.O. I think I subconsciously live under the philosophy, “Procrastinate now. Panic later.” I have every intention of being prepared, unfortunately it never happens. So procrastination will be something I’ll work on one day, but until then the Tooth Fairy will likely continue to fly be the seat of her active wear and delve out what money she can find.
Prior to the loss of my son’s first tooth, I had plans of doing my due diligence and orchestrating the most elaborate Tooth Fairy experience EVER, but the tooth had other plans. Curse you impetuous tooth! Couldn’t even wait a day for me to go to the bank and get crisp dollar bills. So as it happened, the kid got a whopping $20. Holy shnikes, $20! I did the math and if I were to continue the $20 a tooth precedence I would be out $400 per kid! That’s almost my Gucci belt. The next morning my parents and husband both gave me death looks upon hearing that the Tooth Fairy left a $20. They are all pretty frugal, so I didn’t think it was too overboard until I told my friends and they agreed that I was crazy AF. I decided to bring it down a whole lot of notches the next time. The general consensus was that $3-$5 was a much more sane amount to give for a tooth. I agreed to $5 the next time and I still got an earful about how “when I was a kid, I got a stick of gum.” But we agreed to disagree and having set the bar so high, I was afraid he would feel wronged with less than $5 (I give him a lot of credit apparently). I knew $5 is still a lot of money for a pearly white tooth with dying roots, but I felt ok with my decision.
It wasn’t but a few weeks later that tooth #2 came flying out of my sons little mouth with a bite of an apple. Sure it was loose and sure I probably should have been prepared given my experience with tooth #1, but again I found myself scouring the drawers, checking my husbands dirty shorts’ pockets, and considering dipping into the kid’s piggy bank. I checked the last place I could think of and I struck gold, just kidding it was just “cold cash,” but it felt like gold. I was feeling pretty proud of myself and thanking my grandpa up above for teaching me about stashing cash in the freezer. I plucked the money from the envelope as though it was the winning lottery ticket. Then I realized that it was a ten dollar bill. Remembering the reasoning behind my $5 decision, I realized she got me again. Curse you, Tooth Fairy!