My girls are 8- and 11-years-old and the tooth fairy still visits my home. I grew up as the child of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So what right? Well, my parents didn’t believe in celebrating holidays or in promoting any make-believe ideology. This includes photos on the walls of my room. While other girls wallpapered their rooms with posters of movie stars and musicians, I had empty walls. When I turned 18 I decided to turn my back on the religion.
When my oldest child was born, I was 22 and determined to do things differently. I wanted my kids to have a magical childhood and that included the innocence of believing in fantastical elements. My daughter’s teeth grew in and eventually fell out and I taught her how to place them under her pillow. The next morning she found a quarter under her pillow; she was ecstatic. As she got older and smarter, I decided to embellish the story a tad. The price would also change depending on how much money I had on me, she’d normally receive $1 per tooth.
Not wanting her to find the tooth on her own, I added a little information to the tooth fairy mythology. I explained the tooth fairy was magical. She knew when teeth were placed under pillows. Because the tooth fairy isn’t a thief, she puts money under the pillow in exchange for the teeth she took. I wanted to keep my kids’ teeth so I made a deal with the tooth fairy. After she traded with the girls I would buy the teeth back.
The morning after the tooth fairy visited, I’d ask the girls how much money they received for their tooth or teeth. Then I’d pout and get angry before telling them how much the tooth fairy charged me to buy back the teeth. I’d tell them how unfair it was that I had to pay $20 for a tooth when the tooth fairy only gave them $1. It’s a fun tradition in my house. Do the girls know I’m lying? Probably. But they also know how I feel. The tooth fairy (and Santa, too) only go to houses where the kids believe in them. If they stop believing the tooth fairy stops paying them for their teeth.
Our family tradition is so very different from other people’s. I was watching Regis and Kelly and had to laugh at Kelly’s stories about the tooth fairy. Then I looked online to see what other people were saying. I was curious as to how others attacked the idea of the tooth fairy. I found articles in The Washington Times and in Time magazine. I found tooth fairy parenting advice and craft ideas at Parenting Ideas, Parenting and Nick Jr. And I found out the tooth fairy pays on average $2.50/tooth. Too crazy.
But I think the funniest things were the excuses we parents have come up with to explain a tooth fairy’s visit. I personally have passed on an IOU from the tooth fairy and the lame excuses of the tooth fairy being over worked. Read other stories of parental tooth fairy failures and crack up. In the end I really just want to know what you’ve taught your kids about the tooth fairy.