Thursday, May 30, 2013

Operation Ninja Fairy

It may be time to brush up my mommy "resume." I can now say that I am a "ninja fairy," after successfully making it through our first experience with the Tooth Fairy! And this was not without a fair bit of drama and seemingly huge decision making of the non-life-threatening kind.

All day yesterday Mia was bothered by a wiggly tooth while she was at school. By dinnertime, she was crying that her mouth hurt. I, in a fit of what can only be termed temporary insanity, offered to pull it out for her. Aside from being gross and weird and causing my poor baby additional pain, this did not even work! Fortunately, it must have at least loosened it up, because the tooth came out in time for her to play outside before getting ready for bed.

{My BIG girl's 1st missing tooth!}

This was a relief for all of us as she had been nearly inconsolable with grief over losing her tooth, wailing, "I don't want to lose my baby tooth! I want to keep it." We tried reassuring her that this was a completely normal part of growing up, (while trying to maintain composure over this bittersweet rite of passage -- it's tough realizing that your baby is not really a baby any longer!), but she was far from convinced that her suffering was all worth it. The only thing keeping her from totally falling apart was her excitement about the Tooth Fairy's upcoming visit. (The anticipation of this was even enough to calm her relatively soon after the tooth fell out, when she realized, with horror, that she was GASP! Bleeding! I told you there was some drama involved in this story.)

On the topic of the Tooth Fairy, I really should do more advanced planning, it seems. This was the first lost baby tooth for our family, so I had no idea what to do. One good thing is that I had learned somewhere of a cute idea for tooth fairy "transactions." So, I purchased two Scentsy baby stuffed animals when I was at a party in December (this was one at which I was also selling Dove, before I went out of business). One is "Patch," a dog, and the other one is "Ollie" the elephant. I knew Mia would be likely losing her first tooth at some point this year, and my plan was to let her choose one, and then Logan would get the other one when he loses his first tooth. At the time, it seemed like a fun investment, but at $20 a pop it was a total splurge, not a typical purchase for me. However, having a weakness for creating new family traditions won out in the end. I know I could have made some sort of little pouch with scrap material and saved quite a bit, but this was too cute to resist, and I felt it would be less likely to get lost. (See, I really did convince myself that it was an investment.)

Fortunately, Mia loved the idea! She chose Patch, the dog, who is now called "Emma." We put her tooth into a tiny ziplock bag (that once held extra thread for a sweater) and I, being a teensy bit anal, labeled it with a black Sharpie: "Mia's First Loose Tooth 5/29/13." While the labeling probably wasn't necessary (although I do plan to keep them and let her have them in the future to do with as she decides and it's kind of neat to have a record), I was glad that it was contained in the bag. This made it much easier to retrieve the tooth from "Emma" the dog's zippered pouch -- in the darkness.

{First missing tooth -- and a new friend!}

The only problem was that I wasn't sure what to swap for the tooth. So, I set out in search of the "going rate" for teeth. First I actually Googled "going rate for tooth fairy" and immediately pulled up a poll done by Delta Dental of Illinois. (There was then a short discussion with Brett since he also works at Delta, just in one of the Michigan branches. Hey, did you know there's this ongoing poll done every year... No? Well, it comes up right away in a Google search!) According to that survey, the average amount given per tooth was $2.42 last year, with an even higher average of $3.49 given for a first tooth! WHAT?! This seemed awfully high to me, so I decided to check with my mom friends to see what "real" people are thinking on this subject. This is the (un-edited, so please excuse any typos) conversation that took place on Facebook last night:

  • Me: Okay friends, what is the "going rate" for the tooth fairy these days?
  • Jamie: $5.00
  • Erin: She brought $5 for the first tooth.
  • Me: That seems high! I got a quarter when I was a kid.
  • Me: Maybe for the first tooth, though?
  • Erin: LOL! She brought $2 for the rest.
  • Me: I was thinking maybe $2 since it's the first tooth and $1 for the next teeth, but maybe I haven't adjusted for inflation!? 
  • Jamie: lol ya $2.00 is good people say $5.00 but i think thats a little high too
  • Jade: $.25 I guess we are cheap
  • Julie: I gave $5 first tooth &; $1 for the rest. Danielle liked it when it was a fresh crisp bill. I have friends who said they sprinkle glitter on it too! I like that idea!
  • Heather: Our tooth fairly deals in odd currency....such as fifty cent peices, gold one dollar coins, ect. Owen loves it! It makes it totally believable because he doesn't normally see those except for from the tooth fairy.
  • Me: I like the glitter idea, and Jade, you are not cheap! They don't need all kinds of cash, nor do they need to expect to get paid just for losing teeth. We pay $2 weekly allowance, but ONLY if she cleans her room properly that week. If not, she just forfeits the money. I am struggling with how much to give because I don't want it to be a free-for-all type thing. 
  • Me: Oooh! Heather, that is awesome!!
  • Me: The only problem is that I don't have odd currency lying around... Gotta plan ahead for these things.
  • Heather: I have a baggie full of odd currency. I'm ready for the next 10 My parents did this for me when I was a kid...that may be the reason I believed for way too long.
  • Me: I do have those gold $1 coins they got at church some months back. Would it be bad if I recycled it?
  • Heather: No...I'm doing that! 
  • Me: I may do that then. If he hasn't caught on then, hopefully Mia won't realize either. I do want it to be fun, just not a huge money grab. 
  • Julie #2: $1 for first and 50cents for rest. No reason to blow out of proportion!
  • Heather: He forgot about them. I bet she does too. Owen did say something about them at the time he got them. But I told him Rev. Lewis must be pretty good friends with the tooth fairy. He seemed ok with that.
  • Me: So, I could do the gold $1 coin tonight (which I have, thankfully!) and then scrounge up some 50 cent pieces to keep on hand.... may have this figure out.
  • Me: Thanks everyone! Now, I just have to figure out how to be stealthy...

Stealthy indeed! Who came up with this idea anyway? It is waaaaaaaaaaaay trickier to be the Tooth Fairy than it is to be Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Neither one of those family traditions have ever required me to sneak into the room of my sleeping child and to try to add or remove any items from her pillow! Mia still goes to bed with her lamp on, and one of us goes in and turns it off after she is asleep, at her request, so at least that part is routine. However, I have never been so anxious about disturbing her while doing this. It felt like if I woke her up for this first tooth, we were pretty much out of luck for continuing the tradition, and for some crazy reason this felt like the weight of the entire world upon my shoulders. While tip-toeing into Mia's room, she stirred in her bed, and it felt like my heart lodged in my throat. Silly, I know, but I was really on edge. I swear the only sound in the house was my own heart pounding. After turning out her light, I swept Emma into my hand and hurried into the hallway. (I was relieved that I convinced her not to put Emma underneath her pillow, which is what she originally wanted to do! Can you imagine how much harder that would be? I instantly felt awe for my own parents. How the heck did they do that, removing a tooth, and slipping a quarter into its place? I think it requires the skills of a super secret agent or something.) I un-zipped the pocket, and inserted the gold $1 coin and a folded-up note that I had typed up and formatted to be small enough to look like it came from the Tooth Fairy, but still big enough to read easily. I also added a very small amount of silver glitter. The note read:

May 29, 2013
Dear Mia,
     Congratulations on losing your first tooth! I am
very pleased to see that it is in such beautiful
condition. You obviously take very good care of
your teeth, working hard to keep them shiny
and white. Please keep up to great work by
continuing to brush twice a day!
P.S. Don’t forget to floss!
                                                Your Friend,
                                                The Tooth Fairy

I zipped the pouch bag up, again tip-toed into Mia's room, and left the stuffed dog on top of her pillow. Whew! Mission accomplished, and she didn't wake up. The Tooth Fairy myth was safely intact! Go me! And I encouraged her to be a superstar with her oral hygiene, all the better! Feeling extremely relieved and more than a bit proud of myself, I returned downstairs. That's when I realized that I had left the tooth inside the stuffed dog! Brett and I quickly decided that I had to go back to retrieve the tooth. Seriously? I was already on an adrenaline high from the first go-round. I was kind of worried that this would the thing that would push me right over the precipice... Fortunately, I succeeded in my mission, and I think I have rightly earned the title of "ninja fairy!" (In my head, I have dubbed this first super secret mission "Operation Ninja Fairy" so maybe in the future I will come up with more silly names for these after-hours tooth-swapping missions.)

As expected, Mia awoke extra early this morning, positively giddy over the discovery of the special gold coin. Heather was right. She had no recollection of getting 5 of them from church. She thought it was really cool and said, "Wow! I've never seen a coin like this before!" And believe me, I wasn't about to correct her! Not after all of the effort that went into the whole charade. She must really love the little note from the Tooth Fairy because she stuck it on the refrigerator. I waited a bit and then showed her the "fairy dust" on the inside of Emma's pouch. She studied this, and then I feared I had gone too far when she told me, "It looks just like glitter." Uh oh! Luckily, she then added, "But it's really fairy dust," and she was clearly thrilled to see it. So, in the end, we have one very happy little girl who couldn't wait to get to school to share her special news with her teacher. And, yes, I'm one pleased-as-punch "ninja fairy" mama, too.

{The goods -- and a gap-toothed grin!}

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