What to Do When the Tooth Fairy Forgets to Visit
One Mother’s Advice for Parents who Commit the Ultimate Act of Forgetfulness
Two days ago my eight-year-old daughter lost a tooth at school. It was not the first tooth she’d ever lost, nor was it the first time she lost a tooth at school. Last year, one of the first grade teachers pulled two of her teeth for her, and two days ago that same teacher pulled a third.
My daughter's “act of bravery” was witnessed by a classroom full of first graders, and as a result, she instantly gained “near famous” status among her second grade peers. To add to the effect, the teacher held the tooth up in front of her entire class and said (and I quote my child’s retelling of the event),
“Behold.... the first tooth of the new school year!”
After school, she eagerly pattered about in preparation for the visit from the tooth toting fairy. She made a nice resting place out of a tissue and cotton ball, filled a coffee mug with water in case the fairy wanted to swim, and left a healthy snack for her fairy to munch on in case her energy needed revamped. Finally, she placed all of those things on a nightstand next her bedroom door with an envelope containing the precious tooth.
When the Inexcusable Happens
After I kissed her goodnight, I decided I’d give her a half an hour to fall asleep before I made my mad dash for the tooth. However, about five minutes into my countdown to action, I plopped down on my bed and…I fell asleep. I didn’t make it to the thirty minute mark, nor did I wake up in the middle of the night to ensure I took care of my tooth fairy duty. I slept straight through the night.
I HAVE NEVER, EVER DONE SOMETHING SO IRRESPONSIBLE!
When I woke up around 6:00 yesterday morning, I groggily took my spot at the kitchen table to drink my coffee. Within fifteen minutes of taking my first sip, my silent morning ritual was brought to a screaming halt.
“The Tooth Fairy did not come! She didn’t take the tooth or leave money!!!” My child bawled to me as she ran, tears flying, down the hall.
Instantly, I began chastising myself, silently ranting a plethora of explicit curses regarding my inept parenting. Then, my mind went into overdrive as my heart broke with my child’s tears of disappointment. I knew I had to do something immediately. What was I to do?
"Mother’s intuition, don’t fail me now!" I pleaded to the greater goddess of all maternal instinct (in times like these I like to think she exists) and this is what I did (and you can too):
Step One: Distract Your Child and God Speed Ahead
I assured my daughter that there were only two possible excuses; either the Tooth Fairy came while she was still awake and she was scared to go for the tooth, or one of our four pets could have scared her away. Either way, I told her, I was sure the Tooth Fairy would be back that night. and we would be prepared the second time around. I have to be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do to rectify the forgetful fairy mishap, but I did know that I needed to do something to distract her so I could come up with (AND PULL OFF) a plan. So,
- I told her to lie in her bed and rest while I fixed breakfast.
- Once she was preoccupied, I found a random glitter crayon in my office and began writing. The note read (in a very creative spirally manuscript I have to add) something to the effect of, “I saw your dog- it barked and scared me. Here is the money I was going to leave you for the tooth. Can you have the tooth ready for me tonight? Is your dog nice? Love, TF”
- Once the note was complete, I placed a few dollar bills inside of it and folded it neatly.
- I taped the letter to my front door.
Step Two: Set the Scene and Stretch the Truth
This step involved some impromptu storytelling on my part. I told her I had been researching the Tooth Fairy, and I had found out some reasons why her visits may be delayed. Sometimes she has to come another night for reasons such as:
- Running out of room in her bag (or ran out of goodies to leave for the goods).
- A child still being awake when she came for the tooth.
- She was startled by a parent, sibling or pet.
I used the daunting pet excuse because it was the easiest for me to explain, and it was the most believable. I also added that some websites said sometimes the Tooth Fairy leaves a note somewhere around the house explaining why she left before getting the tooth. And, in some rare circumstances (only when a tooth is in pristine condition and Tooth Land wants it badly), she has been known to leave a note OUTSIDE of the house because she was too afraid to even attempt to come inside to make sure the child takes care of the tooth until she comes back for it.
Step Four: Trick Your Child Happy and Pat Yourself on the Back
As I had anticipated, my daughter was certain her situation fell under the pristine tooth scenario. Her tooth was perfect. Not only was it clean, it "didn’t even have some of the roots left on it" like so and so in her class did on her tooth. Since the tooth was still on the nightstand in the envelope labeled “TOOTH,” she didn’t bother looking around inside of the house. She ran pajama clad straight to the mailbox.
When she found nothing in the mailbox, she stood crying in the middle of the driveway. I threw my hands up in dismay and claimed I didn’t understand what was going on with that darn fairy. At that moment, I went all or nothing with the final SHABANG!
“What’s that?” I pointed toward the front door.
She ran for the note, pulled it off of the window and grabbed the money without unfolding the paper. Cash in hand as evidence, she yelled, “It’s from the Tooth Fairy,” before she read the note.
“Who else would leave cash in a note taped to our door?” she asked.
I smiled. I had pulled it off. Whew! (And remember…SO CAN YOU!)
Step Five: Optional Yet Highly Recommended
While she was at school, I did a few more things to solidify the credibility of my “research” findings, and I created further evidence.
- The Tooth Fairy left a second note while we were away during the day. It read, “Dog was nice, thanks for the treat!” (Your child’s note should address whatever off the cuff idea you so cleverly came up with on the fly.)
- I removed the tooth envelope (and tooth) from her bedroom. Poof! Gone.
- I sprinkled glitter all over area where tooth was located. (For those cleaning conscious parents, as you already know, glitter is messy. My advice to you? Get creative! Foil string remnants of fairy hair perhaps?)
- I left a sweet treat- a Hershey’s Kiss. (The rest of those baby teeth are going to fall out one way or another. Give your kid some candy!)
When my baby girl returned from school, she was thrilled to find evidence of a fairy visit all around her room. I have to admit (with a big smile on my face), I was very impressed with what this momma pulled off. My baby girl was happy—and I felt good!
Guilt Free Parent+ Happy Child= Peace of Mind
Isn’t that what parenting is all about? A happy child, a guilt-free conscience and a peace of mind. Oh, the little things in life!