Tooth fairy angst

South Waikato News - - Out & About - AN­GELA CUMING

I was re­cently in a play­ground when a boy of six or seven ran up to me and proudly wig­gled a top front tooth and said it was al­most ready to be pulled out.

‘‘Oh, how lovely,’’ I said. ’’Re­mem­ber to put it un­der your pil­low so the Tooth Fairy can find it.’’

His mum started fran­ti­cally flap­ping her hands at me be­hind his back.

The she pulled him away.‘‘shhh, enough about the Tooth Fairy. We don’t do the Tooth Fairy in our house, it’s far too ex­pen­sive. Thanks for NOTH­ING.’’

I was so shocked to learn there was a mum out there who had ban­ished the Tooth Fairy that I asked some of my ‘‘older’’ mum friends (who have chil­dren of the tooth-los­ing age) and they backed up my worst fear: that the Tooth Fairy had hiked her prize money up so much that many par­ents were opt­ing out of the tra­di­tion and some, like the lady in the park, were flatly deny­ing her ex­is­tence to their chil­dren.

And the fig­ures don’t lie. In a re­cent study of 1000 par­ents con­ducted by nat­u­ral care brand Jack N’ Jill Kids, some mums and dads re­ported giv­ing up to $40 per tooth - a leap from the av­er­age of 91 cents per tooth those par­ents them­selves re­ceived as kids.

I tried to re­mem­ber the amount of money the tooth fairy had left me as a child, but I couldn’t. In­stead I re­mem­bered the hand­writ­ten notes on bits of lined pa­per from a reporter’s notebook the Tooth Fairy would leave for me on my bed­side ta­ble.

It was the act of cre­at­ing some­thing for me to be­lieve in that I loved.

I hope par­ents are still do­ing that and ig­nor­ing the pres­sure to up the Tooth Fairy’s gift­ing amount.

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