Der, Tooth Fairy

Our codependent relationship with the Tooth Fairy is well chronicled. I know. And I hate to beat a dead horse, but, really, if you’re going to beat a horse at all, one that’s already dead is definitely the best kind, right? ‘Cause who wants to go around beating a live horse? NO ONE. That’s who.

We had, um, a little malfunction with the Tooth Fairy a couple of nights ago. Yeah, yeah; wake you up when something new happens. BUT WAIT. The Tooth Fairy actually came, you guys. On schedule. Turning over a new leaf after her last stint in Tooth Fairy rehab. She’s trying to change. She, like, pinky swore and everything. And there she was! On time, and, if not exactly clean or well groomed, well, at least clothed. In pajamas, but whatever. Baby steps.

She did her work and left, and it was so easy. Such a relief! To not wait up. To not cover for her in the morning. To not panic or rush or scramble for change.

And then Cael woke up and reached under his pillow… and came up with a half-dollar.

Not a shiny half-dollar coin.

A paper dollar. Ripped in half. But only one half of it. Which is…

THE TOOTH FAIRY SUCKS.

Sorry.

Sorry.

Just… GAH!

So we obviously offered to trade the poor kid a whole, real dollar for his pathetic, ripped dollar, but he wouldn’t take it.

The Tooth Fairy, he said, would want to know. The Tooth Fairy, he said, would want to make it right. So he wrote her a letter.

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Der Tooth Fairy,

Can I hav a nothr dollar? Myn is rippt.

Cael

DER, Tooth Fairy. Doy. Duh. DER. I COULD NOT have said it better myself, son.

So last night, the second night, he stuck the letter under his pillow. And guess what? The Tooth Fairy didn’t show. Did. Not. Show. SERIOUSLY. WHAT IS HER DEAL? Is this so hard, Tooth Fairy? 

Fortunately for everyone, the kid didn’t remember in the morning. But I did while we were out running errands this afternoon, and I frantically texted Greg…

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… and offered to cover for her. AGAIN.

SERIOUSLY. WHAT IS MY DEAL?

You guys, I’m pretty sure I need counseling or a sponsor or something. Because no matter how hard I try, I cannot quit being the Tooth Fairy’s enabler on my own.

There’s a dollar under my kid’s pillow right now. A whole dollar, waiting to be found. And I’m going to let that unreliable whack-job of a tooth fairy take the credit. Again.

So my question for you is… how do I stop this vicious cycle? Is there hope? Have you found some? What is it? Where? And how do I get in on it?

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
26 comments
  1. My bigger kids have started covering for the tooth fairy now! I love that they can take the disappointments of their own young childhoods and use them for good! The tooth fairy has such a hard time coming out to our house on the dirt roads, that she just gave up and quit trying a number of years ago.

  2. One of our children actually sent an email to the tooth fairy (I forget how we were able to obtain the address) after waiting a full week with no response from the loser. Thankfully, they eventually quit losing teeth and you can move on to other areas of inadequacy. 🙂

  3. When I was a child (a VERY long time ago) the tooth fairy used to come faithfully. So when my son lost his first tooth I told him to put it under his pillow and the tooth fairy would come and exchange it for money.
    Next morning I told him to look under the pillow. He found the money (a lousy 10 eurocents), looked straight at me and said: “Mama, you put this here, didn’t you?”. I don’t lie to him (I might dodge some difficult questions about Sinterklaas but that’s not really lying is it) so that was the end of tooth fairy expectations in our house.

  4. The best part is that at some point there are no more teeth to fall out! 🙂

    Thanks for making me feel better about our really lousy tooth fairy! I thought it was just our family that had issues with her.

  5. Our tooth fairy had a panic attack when my then 4yr old daughter’s BFF lost a tooth and BFF’s tooth fairy only had a $10 bill on hand. Knowing that one child being over-paid would cause an unacceptable inflation for all neighborhood fairies, our fairy donated a single to the cause. Lesson learned: at the first sign of the first wiggly tooth our fairy goes to the bank (or kindly/less irritable store cashier) and begs to exchange one $20 for 20 crisp (ok…semi-smooth) $1 bills. These bills are hidden away in an envelop in a secret jewelry drawer so they are always ready to go in the special tooth box that is conveniently placed on the bookshelf…. Our fairy is afraid of being squashed under the pillow. Of course none of this great planning helped when my girl randomly lost a tooth while we were on vacation. Fortunately the ‘Rain Forest Tooth Fairy’ (they are assigned to zones near where they live) had an abundance of ‘magic wishing rocks’ and a wrinkled old dollar to bring my girl. Their aren’t very many children losing their teeth in the rain forests in WA so we believe we made that tooth fairy’s year. 🙂

  6. My best friend gave me the best advice, ” The Tooth Fairy has a 48 hour turn around window”. Only on the last one it was more like a 96 hour one.

  7. Growing up our tooth fairy was always late or absent minded. It seemed she always had urgent business in Istanbul, occasionally even having to send telegrams via our parents telling us to be patient. She also wasn’t very consistent about actually getting our money under our pillow — once mine showed up in my seat in the car.

    Honestly, I feel that is what made the charm of the whole thing looking back. It sticks in my mind as a fun childhood memory far more than I think it would otherwise!

  8. Sorry, no help here.

    1. But if I can find it, I’ll send along the letter the tooth fairy left my son one time when there was a preponderance of little Chinese children (all the way on the other side of the world, you know!) who’d lost teeth on the very same night he did.

      I’m a little worried that because we hardly ever have actual cash money on hand, one night the tooth fairy will have to leave a note that says, “A deposit has been made in your savings account as payment.”

  9. Three nights of a VERY flakey, forgetful, tooth fair and I caved. I couldn’t do ONE
    more morning of my son saying the tooth fairy hated him. I confessed all and gave him five bucks, and told him next time to just skip the middle man. I told a friend of mine that I confessed, and she asked why I didn’t just tell him that the tooth fairy was spending the week in the southern hemisphere. Apparently, our tooth fairy is no good at thinking on her feet, lol. Love your tooth fairy stories. They crack me up :0)

  10. I have had MANY Tooth Fairy parenting FAILS. Something about having 5 kids clearly melts the old brain…

    Anyway, hubby is addicted to the calendar/alarm function on his snazzy new smart phone, so when someone loses a tooth, even during the workday, I drop him a note asking to have it put onto the phone for 9 pm, and then when it rings, we go do it right away.

    Externalizing the problem to solve it–oh yeah, baby!

    (I’m also cheap; the going rate around here is $0.25.)

  11. Oh, delinquent tooth fairy. She did fine on our daughter’s first tooth. The second one Rose lost when she was in the truck, and we forgot to put it under her pillow for about 2 weeks (yes, she forgot too, so it was ok). the 3rd tooth took the tooth fairy 6 days to come get, but she left a nice apology letter when she came. Fast forward to a month ago, tooth #7, which was diligently placed under the pillow but with very low expectations. 22 DAYS LATER (we know because every morning Rosie would wake up and say “she didn’t come AGAIN! that’s ___ days now!!!) she finally came in the afternoon, brought a measly 4 quarters instead of the shiny dollar coin she used to bring, and didn’t even bother to leave a note. She seems to get worse with every tooth, but we’ve still got 3 1/2 mouthfuls of teeth to go!

  12. The last time the tooth fairy forgot my daughter she found this note the next night:
    “Dear Tooth Fairy, If you hate my teeth, I will try to not lose them. Your enemy, (signed)”
    The tooth fairy hasn’t forgotten again since. I suppose a stern, sad, kind of scary, guilt-inducing letter really has an effect on her competence to do her job in a timely manner.

  13. Fortunatley we are still in the getting teeth phase. Years before the tooth fairy can screw up in this house. But it’s bound to happen. I know it. I will probably take my parents lead though. The tooth fairy didn’t come into our rooms when I was growing up. Instead we put our teeth in a special tooth fairy pillow and left it on the kitchen table. I don’t remember how though I was so easily convinced that the tooth fairy didn’t need to come in my room for the exchange. Oh well, cash is an easy convincer I guess.

  14. I screwed up on the tooth fairy thing so many times I just couldn’t do it anymore. I gave my kids a story about how I was so sentimental about seeing them grow up and it just broke my heart that all their sweet little baby teeth had to be given to the tooth fairy. I offered to pay them double what the tooth fairy would bring (she brought 4 quarters so I offered up a whopping $2) if they would let me have their teeth instead. Totally worked, and I was off the hook.

  15. *SIGH* We completely gave up on the tooth fairy ages ago. After far too many screw-ups, I fired him (YES, our tooth fairy was a man who dresses in a tutu – don’t ask) and took over the whole exchanging money for teeth thing myself. With full support from the kids. Now when someone loses a tooth, they bring it straight to me and I hand over a dollar. Easy-peasy. Everyone is happy: “MOM, it is SO much better now that you’re not PRETENDING the whole tooth fairy and just giving us money.” Everybody wins. 😉

  16. Oh god, I am not looking forward to the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy screwed up when I was a kid several times. But when I was a kid the Easter Bunny never screwed up. Sadly he seems to not have aged well, because he plum forgot my kids this year (thank god for family egg hunts). I’m so hosed when it comes to tooth fairy time.

  17. Oh the horrible things I was saying about the tooth fairy just this morning, after she failed to show up for our 7-year-old last night! I’m glad to know she is not intentionally neglectful of my family – she is just generally forgetful and sleepy and distracted. She’s on her way here now (supposedly – I’ll believe it when I see it) and she darn well better be carrying some extra cash to make up for her mistake last night.

  18. I don’t have a tooth fairy fail so much as a parenting fail.

    For the older kids – Kindergarden triggered the “what do expect with tooth loss” talk.

    However, my youngest was a September baby and thus is starting kindergarden a year later.

    We FORGOT TO TELL HIM YOUR TEETH FALL OUT!

    Fast forward to just after his 5th birthday. He loses his first tooth. He thinks he is dying of a horrible disease and spends 2 hours crying as we try to reassure him it’s normal…

    *FAIL*

    Tooth fairy paid up big time on that one! World’s most valuable tooth!

    1. Ha! Rest assured you’re not the only one. My sister is 9 years younger than I; she’s the youngest of 6 of us. Guess none of us remembered to tell her that teeth fall out. And she was so much younger that she hadn’t seen any of us siblings lose teeth. One afternoon, at my grandparents’ house, I found her sobbing in the bathroom. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “Two of my teeth are loose and feel like they’re going to fall out. I’m losing my teeth!” When I tried to explain that it was normal and happened to everyone, she didn’t believe me–no doubt because I’d told her MANY things in her short life that weren’t exactly true! Finally my parents were able to convince her.

  19. I’m wondering if you can apply for a new tooth fairy? Perhaps take an ad out in the classifieds or something. I just discovered last week that there is more than one tooth fairy. Still not sure if it’s one assigned per house or per child. But the kids are on to something with this letter writing business. Back in my day it was coin for tooth. Plain and simple. Now, they’re freakin’ pen pals. We have a Dantella. A boy in my daughter’s class has a Tina, and someone else just told me their fairy is Evelyn. Dantella won’t pony up to what she DOES with the teeth… she’s keeping a tight lip on that one… so let me know if get any info out of yours!

    1. We have a Gwendolyn. Ours also takes binkies when you grow out of them. She is a little overfond of glitter, but other than that, we’ve received no complaints.

  20. That note is amazing! Also, I think your adventures with the Tooth Fairy should be turned into a graphic novel or a TV miniseries starring Kristen Chenoweth. They are some of the funniest stories on your generally hilarious blog.

    Now, I’m not a fairy (but I did totally play one at the Texas Renaissance Festival), but it seems to me that flightiness is kind of a common trait among the Fair Folk. Sure, yours in particular might need to cut down on the honeyed mead or whatever, but if you read the kids some stories about brownies or banshees, they might feel fortunate to just have a vaguely forgetful fairy who can’t hold her glitter…

  21. I can’t help either. Our tooth fairy did great the very first visit, and not so great the second. Which was the next night or something. I thought this might be because the little jar wasn’t under the pillow, it had rolled out, so maybe she couldn’t find it. Also the tooth fairy is not any taller than me and cannot reach the top bunk without a stool, so she missed her chance to correct the oversight while the kids were playing elsewhere. BUT STILL.

    I never thought about the problems with covering for her; should i be worried? It’s only the second tooth our kids have lost. Is this acceptable? I’m new to this. Maybe there’s a hotline–you should call for sure, you’ve had so much trouble, but should I report a first offense or let it go? Do they have a union? Or, like, tenure or something?

  22. I stick with quarters for this very reason. Only one quarter per tooth, I know, my tooth fairy is lame and a cheapo, but hey, at that age my kids still think a quarter is great!

  23. Sorry, can’t help with vicious cycle breaking, but I am highly impressed with Cael’s super fancy writing on his letter to the tooth fairy. No wonder she doubled the cash.

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