If your children are somewhere between the fist-sucking drooling days of cutting their first teeth and the excitement of that first loose tooth, this post is for you. The Tooth Fairy made her first appearance at our house six years ago, September 2009 to be precise. Although pre-Pinterest, I was determined to make the Tooth Fairy experience marginally magical. Six years later, my twins have seven baby teeth between them. That means we’ve had 33 visits from the Tooth Fairy, which I think qualifies me to impart some advice.
- Plan Ahead.
Don’t wait to decide what the Tooth Fairy is going to bring until the afternoon that your child comes home from school exploding with excitement and gripping a plastic tooth container holding a tiny bloody tooth. If you do, I can guarantee you will either have an empty wallet and find yourself rooting through the couch cushions for change, or you’ll be stuck trying to justify leaving a $20 bill for that first tooth because neither you nor your husband have any smaller bills. When that first bottom tooth started to wiggle, I went to the bank and stocked up on $2 bills. We wanted to avoid Tooth Fairy inflation and also wanted the Tooth Fairy to leave something just a bit out of the ordinary. I was filled with both nostalgia and relief last week went I to the bank for my last $2 bill run to get enough to cover us through the last seven teeth.
Make it Special, But Not Too Special.
Remember, Santa and the Easter Bunny make one appearance a year but the Tooth Fairy is a regular. If you set the bar too high with your first child’s first tooth, you will certainly find yourself suffering from Tooth Fairy Burnout. We made the first visit special by having the Tooth Fairy leave personalized letters. If you are not glitter adverse like I am, considering sprinkling a little glitter on the nightstand or window sill. I’m sure a Pinterest search would provide pages of Tooth Fairy Magic. But keep reminding yourself, the average child looses 20 teeth over the course of six years.
- Find Your Favorite Tooth Fairy Book.
We loved “You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy,” and would read it faithfully after each lost tooth. Part of the story talks about how busy the Tooth Fairy is, circling the globe picking up teeth each night. That message came in quite handy on those nights when the Tooth Fairy didn’t make it. You might think that you’d never forget, but believe me, the fun of sneaking the tooth out from under the pillow and replacing it with money wears off quickly. There were more times than I care to remember when I woke up in the middle of the night, remembered that there was a tooth under the pillow, and rooted around in the dark for a $2 bill hoping not to wake my sleeping daughter. Worse yet, there were a few nights we completely forgot. That’s when we could point to the book and say, “I guess it was a super busy night for the Tooth Fairy, let’s try again tonight.”
- Expect the Tragedy of Actually Losing the Tooth.
I came home one night to a distraught first grader who took her tooth out of her “tooth necklace” at school and promptly lost the tooth. Although she was skeptical, we convinced her to take a smiling selfie showing the toothless gap. We printed out the photo and put it under her pillow with a note. And I’m happy to report that the Tooth Fairy visited.
- Despite What I’ve Said, Enjoy Every Minute.
Last week my almost eleven-year-old fifth grader came home sporting this necklace. She carefully put her molar under her pillow that night and nonchalantly found her $2 bill in the morning. Andy asked me if I thought she still believed. I told him that I really don’t think so, but that neither of our daughters have said that they know we are the Tooth Fairy. I wonder if they don’t want to hurt my feelings by letting on that they know. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t want to take the chance that if they admit they know, we’ll stop leaving money. Either way, I’m happy to enjoy being the Tooth Fairy for the last seven teeth. Oh, and I kept the little white tooth necklace this time, just in case it’s the last one.