The Tooth Fairy Intervention

I think the Tooth Fairy might have a problem.

Now, I’m not saying she’s drinking too much or doing drugs, but there are some warning signs, and I just wouldn’t be a very good friend if I ignore them and assume all’s well. Since you may be friends with the Tooth Fairy, too, I thought we might talk about our experiences and decide together whether we need to intervene.

I’ll go first.

I met the Tooth Fairy seven years ago when my oldest baby girl lost her first tooth.

Abby and I placed that wittle baby tooth in a precious, embroidered bag under her pillow that night, and my baby girl fell asleep.

In a shower of glitter and gentle enthusiasm, the Tooth Fairy arrived. I admit I was starstruck. After all, I waited a long time to get to meet her. I was her biggest fan when I was a kid, so when I finally had a kid of my own who warranted a call to the Tooth Fairy? Well! Ecstatic probably doesn’t describe my excitement. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the Tooth Fairy was as charming in real life as I’d envisioned.

Her hair was immaculately coiffed and her tiara perched perfectly upon her head. When I invited her to rest awhile and join me for tea, she politely agreed. We were careful to situate her gossamer wings so they flowed gently to the sides of her chair where they brushed lightly against her azure gown. And, as we sipped, she told me tales of the children she visited. She talked about their sweet lashes closed in sleepy surrender. She spoke of whispering happy dreams in their ears. And when our tea was gone, she slipped upstairs to take Abby’s tooth and leave behind a dollar and a darling handwritten note.

The Tooth Fairy was a wonder. She was a delight.

Abby, of course, was overjoyed the next morning, holding the evidence of fairy magic in her two slightly chubby hands. We read the fairy’s note together, and she smiled. And so did my heart.

Fast forward seven years and dozens of teeth, and I feel like the Tooth Fairy and I are old friends. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice at first her gradual but steady decline. A forgotten note here, a late arrival there. Nothing to complain about as an isolated incident, you understand. I mean, there was that one time when she showed up smelling like Doritos and Corona, but I dismissed it. One lapse doesn’t necessarily mean anything, right?

But this last time? This last time caught my attention.

‘Cause Cai lost his second tooth yesterday. A fit of the violent wiggles and that sucker popped right on out of his mouth. Victory!

We put him to bed with his tooth tucked under his pillow, safely ensconced in its plastic, Ziploc sandwich bag (which everyone knows is just as special as an embroidered tooth bag) and then he fell asleep.

You guys, I think it’s clear that Greg and I did our part. We celebrated with the kid who made a new hole in his head. We kept track of that tiny piece of human ivory as it was handled by two five-year-olds all day long. And we made sure it ended up under the pillow.

Then we waited.

And then we waited.

And then we waited.

And the Tooth Fairy didn’t show.

The tea got cold. I got tired. I went to bed.

And this morning, I was awakened to the voice of Cai yelling, “SHE DID NOT COME! The Tooth Fairy DID NOT COME.”

In my drafty t-shirt, I sprang from my bed and raced to Cai’s room.

Sure enough, it appeared that Tooth Fairy DID NOT COME. There was my poor boy’s wittle tooth all alone in that Ziploc bag without a bit of money in sight. No money and no handwritten note.

Then it hit me. All of the little Tooth Fairy failings. All of the warning signs I’ve ignored. All of the nights she forgot to take teeth with her. All of times we’ve had to cover for her by telling our kids, “Well, you know the Tooth Fairy has bad aim. That money could have landed anywhere in the house. You can’t just check under your pillow; you have to check under ALL of the pillows.

Sure enough. After looking nearly everywhere else, Cai found his coins in a pile under a pillow in my room.

OK. I’ll be honest. I secretly suspect that the Tooth Fairy sometimes arrives at our house ONLY AFTER she hears the cosmic cries of “the Tooth Fairy DID NOT COME.” I think she shows up with bedhead and morning breath in a drafty t-shirt and hurriedly sprinkles money in random locations. And then she pretends like she did it on time.

You guys, I know this post might come across as harsh and critical. I promise you I don’t mean to publicly malign someone as upstanding as the Tooth Fairy who’s done so much good for so many years. But I really think she might need some help. An intervention. Or perhaps just a week-long trip to a spa where she can sleep in and wash herself.

So, spill it, y’all. Hiding the truth and covering up for her helps no one! Has the Tooth Fairy been acting out of character at your house? And, more importantly, do we need to meet somewhere for coffee and pedicures just so, you know, we can discuss this issue in depth? Because I don’t know about you, but I am committed to getting to the bottom of this.

Looking forward to hearing from you,


February 24, 2012 Update:

You all make me laugh and laugh and laugh. I LOVED every one of your Tooth Fairy confessions both below and on the Five Kids Facebook page.

In lieu of our well-deserved coffee and pedis (which turned out to be sadly impractical because you failed to all move to my neighborhood this week – boo!), I’m donating $50 in your honor to the Medical Teams International Mobile Dental program which provides dental care to kids and adults who lack a way to pay for treatment. Check out Oscar’s story here.

Fiddy bucks is a small gesture. I know that. But I also know you. I feel like I really do. And I know that even more than laughing about the Tooth Fairy’s failings, we mamas want our kids – and our neighbors’ kids and our neighbors’ neighbors’ kids – to be healthy and happy so they can grow up to laugh through life with us.

Thanks for sharing pieces of your life with me. Community really does make a difference.



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28 responses to “The Tooth Fairy Intervention”

  1. In our house we have a girl tooth fairy named “Sunshine” and a boy tooth fairy named…”Mark”…or something like that. My kids use a sharpie to write fairy questions on their ziplock bag of dental detritus. That’s how we learned their names. And when asked how many kids she was responsible for Sunshine said “a lot.”

  2. Yeah, my children found that when the Tooth Fairy is on Holiday or vacation she always compensates for their grief… The very first time we found that she had not shown up was pretty sad, but I explained that everyone has jobs… and maybe she had something really special planned, was visiting her family, wasn’t feeling well, or just needed a vacation… and maybe they were short staffed at the fairy center. I explained that it does happen, but everyone needs a day off now and then. So, remember to treat others how you would like to be treated…(even though she did miss 3 nights in a row.)

    Patience is a virtue, right?!!… lol.

  3. I re-read this tonight for the smiles that you all bring to this Mama. So, my boys actually want the Tooth Fairy to forget because they know that months from now the Tooth Fairy will suddenly remember and leave an envelope that includes interest.

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