My son, W, lost his first tooth when he was 4 years old. It was one of his bottom teeth in the front row that started to get a wiggle first. As soon as he detected the movement in his tooth, he triumphantly told the world, “THE TOOTH FAIRY IS COMING!”
Oh. Right. Oh. Riiiiiiiight. I was not prepared. Not even just a little bit. Over the next five weeks, W would go on to lose a tooth a week. It was madness! There was no time for a learning curve to adjust to being the Tooth Fairy. I was tossed into the deep end of the fluoride rinse and I had to sparkle. My friends, bless them, were useless to me as none of them had any experience with donning the Tooth Fairy wings yet. Just my asking about it made some of them freak out, “Too soon!!”
Here are some problems you may encounter on your Tooth Fairy journey. Learn from me!
1. You signed your kid’s note differently.
Kids are perceptive little buggers and will notice different handwriting, signature, or verbiage on their notes left from the Tooth Fairy. Don’t forget how the Tooth Fairy first made her appearance because you’ll need to emulate all of this 19 more times per kid. Seriously, take notes. The siblings are paying attention, too.
2. You ran out of quarters.
Your kid will most definitely call you out if you switch to paper money just because you ran out of quarters. Tooth Fairies follow a pattern. When you change the pattern, you risk shattering the matrix.
I heard about this one mom who tried to give her kid a new tooth-cleaning product every time he lost a tooth. Then her kid lost a lot of teeth, and she couldn’t figure out what to get the kid after she had left him a toothbrush, rinse, flossers, and toothpaste. Oh, wait … that was me.
3. Your kid found the hiding spot for his teeth.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than trying to explain to a sobbing child why you have his lost teeth, not the Tooth Fairy. I cannot stress the importance of a good hiding spot enough. If you are inviting a Tooth Fairy into your home to take teeth, you must make sure said teeth will not later be discovered.
4. Your kid’s a light sleeper.
You’re dodging Legos left and right as you tiptoe through your kid’s bedroom to swap his tooth for some Tooth Fairy loot, only to have him wake up to you awkwardly hovering over his bed. Mission aborted. Since it’s a new age, buck tradition and create your own Tooth Fairy lore. Our family has a Tooth Fairy door that is nowhere near my son’s room.
5. Your kid literally lost his lost tooth.
They might get swallowed or lost on the playground or even tossed out with the lunch. This is not a big deal. You must remain calm and zen about this because there is a good chance your kid will have a meltdown. Have your fall-back plan ready! (“I have heard some Tooth Fairies accept drawings of teeth …”)
6. Your kid lost a tooth while you’re out of town.
“How will the Tooth Fairy find me if I’m not at home?!” Get ready for some consoling if a tooth is lost on vacation, and always pack Tooth Fairy prizes. And if you’re going out of town without the kids, have Tooth Fairy prizes in a place where grandma can easily find them and have clear “this is how we do it” directions.
If you discover you are out of Tooth Fairy loot, attempt to branch out, but you may want to explain the change in a note: “A shark lost a lot of teeth last night so there is a shortage of silver dollars! I grabbed these four quarters from the Tooth Fairy bank in exchange for the beautiful tooth you left me.”
7. Other parents offer different exchange rates for teeth.
“Jason got FIVE DOLLARS for his lost tooth.” Well good for Jason! Kids will talk, and you may need to brace yourself for some outside peer pressure on the exchange rate of teeth. When the Tooth Fairy first started coming to our house, I told my son that every family had a different one, so every kid may not get the same thing. If Jason’s parents … er Tooth Fairy … can rock five bucks for every tooth, that’s awesome! Other Tooth Fairies like to bring toothbrushes or shiny coins.
8. You accidentally glitter-bombed your kid’s room.
Sure, you saw it on Pinterest and it looked really cute, but just say no to leaving a glitter trail, painting glitter on money, or putting glitter in your notes. You’ll thank yourself later.
At the end of the day, being part of the Tooth Fairy legend is one of the perks of parenthood — enjoy it!