Tooth fairy angst
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.