We’re only on tooth number two, but I’m getting asked loads of questions about tooth fairy logistics and I don’t think I can keep it up much longer. I reckon we’ve got two more teeth max before he works it out, but I’m determined to keep ours alive for a bit longer. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
- Children lose teeth sooner than you think. One day, they’re wailing as they break through, next thing they’re whooping that they’re on their way out. It’s a very stark reminder that this whole business goes fast. Prepare early and buy or allocate a pot or bag for milk tooth use.
- The teeth aren’t very nice to look at. Removed from a smile scenario, they look like mishapen lumps of gravel with horrible bloody holes in the bottom. It’s a wonder they ever bit through anything.
- When asked what the tooth fairy needs teeth for, I said they’re building bricks. There’s a lot of development going on in Tooth Fairy World right now, including the erection of a new library, a school and some blocks of flats. Feel free to come up with your own answer, but plan it in advance – you don’t want to get caught off guard.
- Tooth fairy names add depth and authenticity. Ours is called Pearly White. You could always introduce new fairies, but they should mention in their note that the main one is off for the night, perhaps because of a broken wing or similar.
- Write the notes in tiny handwriting on tiny pieces of paper. If, after writing the note, you fill in your child’s reading record and notice marked similarities between your own handwriting and that of the fairy, start again: write a new note, compare it to the reading record writing and sneak back into the room to swap. Do not leave the pen you used to write the fairy note lying around.
- Chopping up bits of leftover Christmas ribbon (as advised in an earlier post) might not be the best way to create ‘fairy dust.’ (“Is that fairy dust real?” I was asked with a smirk at bedtime last night.) If you don’t clear out your dressing table drawers very often, you’ll probably find a pot of iridescent eye shimmer that you should have binned ten years ago. If not, go to Superdrug and buy some. This will do the trick. (“Wow! when I opened my pot, there was real fairy glitter all over my fingers!”) Use liberally, but remove all traces when you’re done. That stuff gets everywhere.
- There’s some debate about how much money a child should be given for a tooth. Our tooth pot is just the right size for a pound coin, so that settled it for me. Twenty quid over the course of a few years seems fair enough. (Actually, does anyone know how long it takes for all of the teeth to fall out?)
- Be stealthy: Tell the child that the fairy can only get the tooth from under the pillow if it’s somewhere near the edge. Do not put it on the side nearest the wall. Be ninja-like; you absolutely cannot get caught, under any circumstances.
- Feign surprise. No matter how sleepy you are when your child bounds into your room at six am and tells you that the tooth fairy came, remember to act surprised and excited. On second thoughts, don’t act too surprised – you promised she would come. “Oh wow! What did she bring you?” should suffice.
- Remember to hide the teeth somewhere far, far away where they can never be found, preferably in Fairy Land. If you can’t get there, put them in a box inside another box, on the dusty top of the highest shelf. Repeat 19 times.
Since writing this, I’ve found out about Palaces, an interesting arts / science project that aims to make a magnificent sculpture out of thousands of tiny milk teeth. I’m off to find out more…