By Charlotte Hilton Anderson, REDBOOK
Paying money for the privilege of filching blood-spattered corn niblets from under my kids' pillows for the sole purpose of perpetuating a myth about a fairy who collects baby teeth (Where do they go? And for what purpose?) has always seemed to me to be one of the stranger rituals of childhood.
Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a momentous occasion when each of my children lost their first tooth. Pictures were taken. Grandparents were called. And yes, the Toothy Fairy came that night and left each newly minted Alfred P. Newman a dollar. But kids have a lot of teeth and the entertainment factor wore off quickly, both for me and for them. After a while, the Tooth Fairy got forgetful and a little resentful at our house. She started leaving IOU notes. And flossing tips.
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Until the day disaster struck. You know those "It happened to me!" motherhood cautionary tales? I lived one. My two sons found a bungee cord that we used to secure things in the garage and, doing the most logical thing that one does with a bungee cord, they each grabbed an end and stretched it out taut. Before I even knew what had happened, my older son let go and the metal hook on the end flew across and hit my younger son right in the mouth. 6 teeth shattered, 45 stitches and 1 oral surgery later I finally started breathing again. It was a horrible accident. And the Tooth Fairy had a horrible guilt complex to match. That night she left a new Wii game under the pillow. (Seriously, learn from me: don't buy the bungee cords with the metal hooks or make sure the kids can't ever find them. Who knew they could be so horrendous?)
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But extreme cases aside, the Tooth Fairy may be a fairy tale that has outlived its welcome in some houses. My friend M refuses to play at all saying, "It's bad enough I give my son a marshmallow every time he poops. I'm not paying him for losing teeth. Enough with rewarding natural bodily functions."
Now I'm curious, how does the Tooth Fairy work at your house?
1) We don't do the Tooth Fairy thing.
2) The Tooth Fairy leaves whatever coins I can find in my purse at midnight.
3) The Tooth Fairy leaves a sweet note, a small toy or something else besides money.
4) The Tooth Fairy is one of my fave childhood traditions-we go all out!
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