Parenting can be hard.
All day long, you run around after children who have the stamina of endurance athletes. At night while you’re trying to recover, you’re often joined by one of those kids who was lonely or having a bad dream…and you spend the rest of your evening getting kicked in the spleen. They need you while you’re in the shower, or going to the bathroom, and they expect to be fed at least three times a day but usually way way more.
Then when kids are 4 or 5, you get hit with one more responsibility. No longer can you put them in bed and pass out on the couch until you wake up with a start and stumble into bed. Now you have to stay awake until they’re asleep, tiptoe into their rooms, and swap their discarded teeth for money.
For the tooth fairy to work, you have to plan ahead to have cash on-hand that night. You have to stay awake long enough to make the trade. AND you have to actually remember to change up your normal nightly routine instead of just heading up to bed. The first few times, it’s easy and you wonder why anyone would have trouble with this. By Tooth #16, you’re a forgetful mess.
It’s too much, I tell you.
Our tooth fairy is an abject failure. She’s forgotten to visit for up to a week at a time. She has, on occasion, stolen a dollar from a sibling to put under the pillow, vowing to pay it back. And sometimes, rather than the standard dollar, she’s left combinations of dimes, nickels, and dozens of pennies to pay up.
All of this leads to a whole other dilemma – how much should she give, anyway? How do you explain that Max’s tooth fairy leaves TEN FREAKING DOLLARS just for spitting out excess enamel you don’t need anymore, while your cheap tooth fairy only hands out a dollar?
One dad took to Twitter to share how his kids were suspicious of the tooth fairy…and took matters into their own hands to discover the truth.
Just learned our 9y/o did an experiment on us. Lost tooth, told no one for 3d, kept tooth under his pillow. No $. Then he tells us he lost the tooth, next night there is money under his pillow. Then confronted us with his scientific evidence that the tooth fairy isn’t real.
— Rogue Dad, M.D. (@RogueDadMD) April 23, 2018
I think it’s at this point that you finally sit down with the kids and tell them the truth. By the time they’re suspicious of the tooth fairy, they’re old enough to handle it.
Our conversations are usually prompted by the kids asking us outright if she (or any other creature who visits our house to leave presents/chocolate/money) is real. There’s no point beating about the bush — I tell them that, no, she’s not actually real but isn’t it fun to pretend she is? And since we have younger siblings at home, it’s still fun to keep pretending for their sake. It’s up to you to decide whether she continues to leave money or not, but I would say she should. There’s no less cause for celebration now that we know the truth, is there? The tooth still came out.
In parting, here’s a quick hack for making sure you have the money you need on-hand for unexpected tooth fairy visits. Children have 20 baby teeth. When that first one is loose, go to the bank and get 20 one dollar bills (or multiply whatever amount you choose by 20). Keep the money in a jar and do not raid it for emergency latte funds…and you’ll always have the tooth fairy stash you need.
Images by Laura Falin