The author's family tooth fairy pillow. Credit: Amy Carney
It’s hard to believe that my tooth fairy days are over. All four of my kids have now lost all of those little baby teeth, and we’re moving on to the next phase of mouths full of metal braces. Where has the time gone?
I always prided myself on being an intentional tooth fairy. I have to say I was pretty good at it. I think I only passed out one night without remembering to fulfill my fairy duties. Not bad with four kids close in age constantly losing teeth.
In the spirit of enjoying this fun ritual with kids, I offer this advice for your intentional tooth fairy journey:
- Decide on what your currency of choice will be and stay consistent. I decided to give a $2 bill or two $1 gold coins, to make it special. Caught up in the excitement as a tooth fairy rookie, I even scattered gold glitter from the windowsill to their pillow without worrying about making more cleanup work for myself! That was cute, but didn't last.
- Once you've decided on your currency, go to the bank and stock up — heavily. I was alone a lot of nights with the kids when their dad was traveling for work, so I couldn’t rely on what I might have in my wallet. I don’t know how many times my kids talked about someone at school getting a $20 bill for their tooth. I laughed inside knowing exactly why that child received that big bill. That tooth fairy was just stuck with what she had in her wallet!
- I liked having a special tooth fairy pillow and storage box. I am big on tradition and consistency, so all of my kids used the same gold silk tooth pillow at night. I hope they will always remember that little pillow and think of their $2 bills and their tooth fairy days.
- To remember, I always stuck a reminder under my bed covers as soon as a kid showed me his tooth. I'd go straight to my closet to retrieve the pillow for them and get out the special box where I kept all lost baby teeth and my stash of $2 bills. I would put the box right under my comforter, so when I pulled down my covers at night I would see the box and remember to put my tooth fairy wings on! I can’t tell you how many times I'd have forgotten if I hadn’t made a habit of this.
- I know some families don’t bother playing the tooth fairy game. For me, it was special. I mean I have no idea what I will ever do with these little tins of their teeth. But, to me, they are such a sweet reminder of how far we’ve come in our family journey. These baby teeth are a glimpse into the past and of a fleeting childhood.
- I do know that I feel blessed to have been able to play this role with my kids. It’s sad to think that it’s already over and that I have been thrown in to what I feel is an early tooth fairy retirement. My advice: Take time to relish these simple rituals with kids, because they are short-lived.
Editor's note: This essay was originally published in 2014 and updated for 2019.