A Fairy Tale

Teeth are so expensive these days – and I don’t mean visits to the dentist. If we had any more children coming up through the ranks I think we’d need to involve AfterPay.

“Don’t forget to leave a window open,” Miss11 hissed at me last night.

And then she stealthily kicked me in the shin so her little sister didn’t notice.

It was her subtle, if painful, way of reminding me I had a job to do tonight because the night before I’d dropped the parenting ball rather badly and the entire family was suffering to one degree or another.

The first hint I’d stuffed up was a wailing which grew in intensity through the house until Miss6 was standing in front me with tears and half a glass of water.

“The fairy didn’t c-come,” she cried.


This is the fourteen front tooth we’ve had to deal with – the very last front tooth we’ll ever have to pay for – and, true to form, the ‘tooth fairy’ was a no show. You think we’d have this down by now.

To make things worse, though, things have changed a lot since we first took on the less financially beneficial role in this bizarre ritual.

For one thing, I’ve learned you don’t have to dip your fingers into the glass to try work the tiny pit of enamel out of the water. The day I worked out I could simply pour the whole lot down the drain and put fresh water in was a great day. As was the day, shortly after this, when I worked out I could take in a half full glass of money and swap it out for the disgusting tooth flavoured one and save myself a second trip into the bedroom and the potential risk of waking the kid up.

Parenting is odd the way you finally get good at it just as they leave home.

But the main way tooth fairying has changed in this house is the value of baby teeth has skyrocketed over the years until, pound for pound, they’re on par with illegal ivory. This spike in price is, I suspect, the primary reason the government has systematically swapped out paper money for plastic and, when that just wrecked carpet in the kids’ bedrooms, the smaller note based denominations for coins. Who, in this age of tap-and-go, has coins hanging about the place?

“I found twenty-five cents under a mat,” I said to Tracey after a couple of minutes rummaging around in the car.

She had four or five smaller coins she’d managed to scrounge from the shit drawer in the kitchen.

Ninety cents.

“We could tell her the tooth had a hole in it because she hasn’t been brushing her teeth properly?” I said when Tracey told me it wasn’t enough. I really feel the Tooth Fairy needs to stand up to this sort of extortion. “That way it becomes a life lesson as well.”

Tracey suggested I could be the one to explain that to her so we kept up our search of window sills, old handbags, undies drawers and pencil cases.

Several minutes later I marched back into the kitchen with enough coins to buy our way out of several gummy smiles.

“You can’t take her money!” Tracey admonished me as I shoved a butter knife into the coins slot of Miss6’s money box to entice a couple of gold coins out.

“It’s not stealing if I’m not keeping it,” I explained. “And we’re giving it straight back.”

“You can’t!”

Tracey has funny ideas about what we can and can’t do.

And we did do it.

Mainly because I didn’t want to be cried at, hissed at or kicked in the shin again, although before you start on the hate mail or call Crime Stoppers I should mention Tracey made me stick an IOU $3 in the money box for when Miss6 eventually smashes it open to buy something.

So, essentially, homebrand AfterPay.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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  • Hahaha tooth fairy duties are a nightmare! My husband is shit house at it. He got caught twice and it was only my quick thinking that got us through. I’m sure when he’s an adult he’ll tell me that he knew all along but wanted to keep the magic alive for us adults. Oops.

    • My oldest convinced his slightly younger sister to continue to believe in Santa Claus because he didn’t want the Santa sacks to stop lol

  • Totally agree: the firstborn are your “practice” kids. We will totally have the hang of all this in just a few short years!

    And: glass of water? Interesting! Here in the US there’s no water involved. The tooth goes under a pillow, and in our house, for some reason, that means the tooth first goes into a crinkly, noisy plastic sandwich bag – making it Nearly Impossible for the tooth fairy to retrieve.

    Then after 3 or 7 nights with no money left, and the kid starting to give up, we then suggest: Maybe she couldn’t see it? Maybe you went to sleep directly on top of the tooth every single night, as though trying to ambush her to catch her in the act? Maybe you should leave the bag on your nightstand, or hey, why not on the floor at the foot of the bed several feet away from you?

    That almost always works…within a few nights, give or take…all depending on the availability of those rare paper dollars. And prices have risen here as well – a tiny tooth used to market for about $1. Somehow kids around here think they are worth $3 to $5, and that once they sell one at $5, the price can never dip. A lesson in market fluctuations may be in order!

    • The Treasury has no idea the cost of inflation in houses where lots of little teeth keep dropping out of little mouths!

  • The tooth fairy quite often has “very busy nights” and therefore runs out of time to get to our house when needed ?
    And she gets ripped off because I have collected and kept every tooth that has ever fallen out of my kids heads.
    My 23 year old and I were actually discussing this a couple of weeks ago and he found it strangely creepy that I have a rather large collection of teeth. ? 5 kids = large collection. Lucky I didn’t tell him about the piece of his umbilical cord that I also saved……..

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