I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
September 7, 2011
Your child will lose a total of 20 baby teeth before his or her 32 adult teeth grow in.
This is an important number to remember, because it means that you will be responsible for locating a tiny tooth under your child’s pillow while he or she sleeps and replacing it with money up to 20 times. And don’t kid yourself that you’ll be off the hook once your children have realized the Tooth Fairy is a figment of their imaginations — I don’t know about you, but my Tooth Fairy was responsible for paying up after every single tooth I lost, including my wisdom teeth, which were extracted when I was 15.
Some childhood beliefs never go away– particularly those that involve money.
Now that I’m an adult, the Tooth Fairy has proven to be one of the banes of my existence. My husband and I have a hard time remembering to put money under the pillow every single time a tooth is lost, which has led to some interesting explanations the next morning.
“There’s no money under your pillow? Oh yeah, uh, the Tooth Fairy actually called last night after you fell asleep and said she was snowed in in Oslo, and she’d get here as soon as she could.”
“What, she didn’t come again?! You know, I read in the news yesterday that there was a record number of teeth lost among children in Mexico– I bet she’s a little behind schedule.”
“Maybe that tooth wasn’t white enough for her collection. Let’s try soaking it in a little baking soda and see what happens.”
I’ve got a million of ’em.
Or at least 20.
But apparently for some parents in my area, it isn’t enough to scrounge around the house for one dollar bills and remember to oh-so-gently shove them under the pillow of a sleeping child each and every time a tooth is lost.
No, some mom out there who clearly had way too much time on her hands just had to come up with something extra.
“Mommy,” my daughter said urgently a few nights ago, as I tucked her into bed, “instead of putting the tooth I lost today under my pillow, I need to put it in a glass of water beside my bed. That way, when the Tooth Fairy swims in to get it, the water will turn the color of her wings, and the next morning, I can see what color she was!”
“What are you talking about?” I scoffed laughingly. “That’s not how it’s done.”
“Yes it is,” she insisted. “Ella has done it. And so has Jenny. And so have lots of other people at my school, too.”
I could feel a migraine beginning to form behind my left eye as I thought of Ella’s mom. She’s a perky little stay-at-home mother of three, who’s always doing crafts and organizing marshmallow roasts and sending homemade lollipops for every child in the class, just because. I would bet my Keurig that she was behind this Tooth Fairy nonsense. In my mind’s eye, I imagined marching up to her front door and knocking on it sharply.
She’d open it and feign surprise. “Why, Lindsay,” she’d say, wiping her hands on her frilly apron. “I was just about to take another batch of homemade sugar cookies out of the oven. Care to help me decorate them with hand frosted portraits of each classmate?”
“Not this time, Bitsy,” I’d say, quietly, a steely gleam in my eye. “I have a bone to pick with you.”
“Why, whatever do you mean?” she’d giggle nervously.
“I stayed quiet and paid up when you introduced the monogrammed Pottery Barn Kids lunch bags in kindergarten that every child then had to have. I didn’t say a word when I figured out you were behind the secret parent memos calling for expensive Easter baskets and candy on all the classroom Valentine’s Day cards. And I played along with your freaking Elf on the Shelf tradition, too, which, by the way, has made my Christmas a living hell. But all that wasn’t enough for you, Bitsy, was it?”
Bitsy’s eyes would widen. “I’m guessing you got wind of my new Tooth Fairy scheme,” she’d say in a hoarse voice.
“Oh, I got wind of it, all right,” I’d say. “And mark my words, this is the last time you’re going to add to my workload.” I’d turn on my heel and leave her to stand, trembling, as her sugar cookies blackened in the oven.
“So can I, Mommy?” Punky asked. “Mommy? Mommy?!”
“What?” I said, rousing myself from what had turned out to be a very pleasant revenge fantasy. “Oh! Water for the Tooth Fairy! Honey, that’s for rookies. Let’s put your tooth under your pillow tonight and talk about something else instead. Something waaaay better.”
“Okay, what?” Punky said.
“Well, this year, you’ll be getting a visit from the Halloween Elf Fairy of Homemade Goodness!”
“You haven’t heard about her yet at school? Well, the Halloween Elf Fairy of Homemade Goodness visits only the most special seven-year-olds, and every night in October, she brings a homemade toy or treat and hangs it from the ceiling of your bedroom!”
“Wow!” Punky said.
“And you get to be the first to tell your friends that she’s coming! But be sure and tell them that she only comes to the really special and smart kids’ houses!” I said.
“I can’t wait!” Punky shouted.
Sure I’m in for a month of homemade torture. But I’m willing to take it, because my guess is that after October, my little mom friends will stick with store-bought cookies and simple traditions from now on.
Disclaimer: This story might possibly be slightly exaggerated.
Only time will tell.
Image via Robert Donovan/Flickr