beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger

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. Sometimes the Toothfairy just doesn’t like the looks of the tooth. My kids and I have to brush and clean them better & better until she finally makes her payment.

    Btw, my oldest accidentally swallowed the first upper front tooth that he lost. He was soooo upset and cried hysterically. I must admit that I told him that it was not a lost cause…because I could get it back. I was actually considering digging through his next bowel movement! Luckily, he was on board with simply writing a note to her about what occurred. Mommy is forever grateful that she didn’t have to personally find the tooth!

  2. I haven’t even gone through 10 teeth yet, but I too have noticed that the tooth fairy has forgotten a night or two and we have had to wait the rest of the day (sometimes two) for her to find that tooth. Luckily my kids are very understanding…and I pray they stay that way!

  3. Once, the toothfairy got stuck in traffic on the “fairyway” and arrived the next night. Once, the toothfairy shoved money under the pillow while waking said child up for school. Once- she didn’t have any cash on her at all- so the child got 2 quarters.

    I love your blog!!

  4. […] My crystal ball’s been on the fritz ever since I accidentally left it in the backyard and my son peed on it. Be careful with your crystal ball is what I’m saying; apparently your fairy godmother is only allowed to issue one per mama (would’ve been nice to know that ahead of time), and if you don’t care for yours responsibly you don’t get a new one no matter how many letters you write or how much you beg. Stingy creatures, fairy godmothers. Probably related to that unreliable, late night beer-drinker, the Tooth Fairy. […]

  5. I agree, many times the tooth fairy has done a beautiful job at our house, but she has her moments. She sometimes would put the coins in a water cup where the tooth was, magically turning the tooth into money. Other times she’d keep it safe in a tooth fairy pillow under our daughter’s pillow…BUT ONE memorable TIME she was late as well, so we went in search of the money somewhere in our house… we found the money, THROWN into the end of her bed, under the covers, where of course we didn’t see it upon awaking! That girl…

  6. My dad was a dental technician so I always thought he and the tooth fairy were co-workers. He must have had some influence because the tooth fairy never failed when I was growing up. But now, my dad is retired, and the tooth fairy must be too, because boy is she lazy and forgetful in her old age! One time we had to wait for a second tooth to come out before she visited us. I guess one tooth is just not important enough anymore.

  7. Doritos and Corona!? That tooth fairy is welcome anytime at our house! We are anxiously awaiting her arrival as my 5 year old HOPES with all her might to lose a tooth soon! Pedis and coffee!? Let me know when to fly in!


  8. My daughter is 5 1/2 and she is excitedly awaiting her first visit from the Tooth Fairy. Poor thing keeps telling me that one of her teeth is going to fall out but she doesn’t even have any that are loose yet. I think I need to keep a stash of dollar bills in my dresser drawer so I’m prepared. And then, if I can just remember to replace the tooth with some money after she goes to sleep. Although, knowing my daughter, she’ll probably be sleeping with one eye open and catch me. I love how you were quick on your feet and suggested that the Tooth Fairy had bad aim. I’m going to have to remember that one – just in case.

    By the way – I am in dire need of a pedicure! (My daughter looked at my feet last night and basically told me they looked ugly – and she was right.) If you lived closer I would so take you up on that offer.

  9. There was one evening when the Tooth Fairy actually called me to let me know that she would not be coming that night. It was too late and she was too tired, and I had to let my son know that she would catch us the next evening. That was the lowest point. Needless to say, the next time my boy lost a tooth (just a couple days ago, actually) he made SURE I called the Tooth Fairy to let her know that she was expected THAT NIGHT. No more slacking for this mama.

  10. Well, I hope The Tooth Fairy gets herself the rest and restoration she needs before she needs to come to our house. We’ve only had visits from The Other Tooth Fairy…my daughter just got her third tooth!

  11. I was going to tell you all about the many times she has messed up at our house, but I just may hold out for coffee and pedis.
    One time recently, the tooth fairy didn’t make it to our home on the appointed day, and we had a very upset little boy. I explained that I’ve heard of this happening before, and we should give her a second chance. Sure enough, the next day there was not only a bit of cash under his pillow, but a detailed letter from her, explaining that there had been an inordinate number of teeth to process the night before, and she had been stuck in China for so long that she simply could not make it to New Jersey before he woke up. She apologized, so it was all good. But I don’t trust her.
    I’ve had a couple of minor issues with Santa, too. For the record.

  12. Name the time and place and I am there! The tooth fairy has taken leave of her senses around here. She taken to stealing from the older kids to pay off the younger ones! Of all the things, that witch!

  13. lmao!!! Brilliant yet again! My 5th is working on acquiring his first tooth, but the oldest 2 have lost all of their baby teeth.

    In our house, sometimes the tooth fairy is “busy”, so we try again another night. One kid had to wait 4 nights for her to be dealt with. I _love_ the “bad aim” move, though!

    We generally leave the tooth in a cup or low jar on the dresser, instead of dealing with pillows. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes loud.

  14. The 36 year old toothfairy that frequented our house got fired and her replacement appears to be her 11 year old daughter. Her daughter is soooooo wonderful and gives generously from her own resources with a heart full of love and an attention for detail. We feel badly for her mom who clearly did not meet tooth-fairy standards and is being upstaged and outshined by her daughter. But hey….isn’t that what every parent wishes for their child? Here’s to raising children that are 100% greater in every way then we are!

  15. So glad to know that we aren’t the only ones experiencing the decline in tooth fairy behaviour. Lots of guilt went with the laughter as I read your blog today. Thanks for making me smile (again)

  16. The Tooth Fairy needs an intervention or spa day in our house also. Just two days ago she left a dollar bill in the middle of the kitchen floor!

  17. I’d LOVE to meet for pedicures to discuss this! With 3 who have gone through the tooth fairy gamut in behavior, I am sure that we can figure out what the best way to approach her would be. I do have one more who is sure to be losing a tooth or two in the next couple years, so that might be something we could use to our advantage to address her issues. Plus I can let you in on information that my mom told me about the tooth fairy from my childhood, so we might be able to see how far back this issue goes. We OWE it to the traumatized kids.

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