Mark vs Cancer

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tooth Fairy Inflation

What's the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days? Go ahead. Make a stab.

Twenty-five cents? Maybe a dollar? If you're like me, your only frame of reference is what the Tooth Fairy used to give you, some twenty-five plus years ago. I was lucky to get a dime, if she remembered. (Hey, I'll cut my parents some slack. With six boys at home, the deciduous pearly whites must have added up quickly.)

But the question has suddenly become pressing, as now my kids are losing teeth left and right, up and down. We're down three teeth in the last month, with two more wiggly ones on the way. Joy's first one hung on by a literal fleshy thread for what seemed like weeks, and then it finally, mercifully plopped out. She was taking too much pleasure in grossing her doctor daddy out, anyway.

But late one evening, out it came, the first one ever in the family, and there we were. After the general excitement (and strange poignancy I felt about my oldest losing a body part) subsided, the next exclamation out of Joy's mouth was, "That means the Tooth Fairy is coming tonight!"

Now, I'm not entirely certain that Joy believes in the Tooth Fairy, anyway. She seems to have an innate skepticism about these things. (See this entry from two years ago: one of my personal favorites). She's been inventing pretend notes from Leprechauns and leaving them around our house, and she has the neighborhood kids all boondoggled.

But believing in the Tooth Fairy is now to her immediate and monetary advantage. So after her exclamation, Mommy and Daddy shot furtive glances at each other that silently asked the same question that started this post. (Sorry, I just wanted to throw in an utterly recursive link.)

A few minutes later, I slyly, desperately asked Joy, "Now, how much money does the Tooth Fairy leave under your friends' pillows?"

"Most kids get, like, five dollars," she said sweetly.

My jaw dropped, but I covered. "Five dollars? That's a lot more than the Tooth Fairy used to give."

"Really?" she asked. "How much did you get?"

"I think I used to get ten cents, maybe a quarter."

"Well, some kids only get two dollars. But some kids get toys and treats and books, or, like, lots of money."

I wasn't digging this newly affluent Tooth Fairy, which must be a reflection of the generally mid-to-upper class Denver suburbs, so I sought to tamper down expectations. "Two dollars still sounds like a lot to me, sweetheart."

"Yeah, I guess so," she replied.

And two dollars is what she got, after I had to make a late run to the ATM and then the store to get some change. Grant got two dollars last night after he popped himself in the face with a basketball and his loose tooth tumbled out in the bloody aftermath.

Two dollars still seems high to me, but we couldn't go lower than my daughter's conception of the lowest-going rate. Wouldn't that make our kids think they were less important? But we didn't want to give in to the Tooth Fairy Stimulus Package, either, with ever-escalating premiums and expectations. So we settled on two bucks, and to me, that still seems fair. Hey, it's a 2000 % increase over the last twenty-five years, which isn't bad at all.

Those of you who have kids or will soon have them, what do you think? What's the Tooth Fairy's rate in your area?


Jenny said...

For the very first tooth lost, our girls get $5, a book about fairies and a letter from the tooth fairy. For any other teeth they get 25 cents. That's because first lost teeth have magical properties and are especially valuable to tooth fairies.

Now that our oldest two are no longer tooth fairy believers, I'm not sure what we're going to do. I guess we'll have to keep up the charade until the other two are in on the secret.

princess jen said...

We have given $1 per tooth (Anya's lost 4 so far.... ) However, only one tooth has actually made it under the pillow! Tooth one was lost at school, tooth two was lost in a friend's backyard, tooth three was pulled out accidentally and lost in the van, tooth four made it under the pillow. The first three came with special notes from the tooth fairy and even though I think Anya has figured out the truth, she loves getting money so she still likes it!

Kristen said...

That is really funny about Joy leaving notes. Some of my students were doing the same thing the next few days after the event. Some kept saying it was them who did it all. But I couldn't say, no it wasn't it was me!
As far as the tooth fairy goes, I hear kids say they get toys and money all the time. I only got a quarter, but things have changed my friend.

Tye and April said...

Enjoy your blog and keeping up with you.
Allison (now 11) was reading over my shoulder as I was reading your blog. Thanks a lot.
No, she already knew about that, but we have been getting away with a buck per tooth. What if word gets out to the other kids. They are losing teeth like a hockey team. I'll go broke...