By Rachel Zarrell
Globe Staff / April 24, 2012
Years ago, when a child in her daughter’s class lost her first tooth and got $20 from the Tooth Fairy, Linda Jerrett was angry. “All the parents were,” Jerrett, whose daughter is now 20, recalled. “Their daughter was one of the first at the time to lose a tooth. We didn’t have quite as much money, so we were like, ‘What are you doing?’ ”
Jerrett, who lives in Reading,MA, also has two younger children, ages 7 and 13, which has put her back into the role of the Tooth Fairy all over again more than a decade (and a much-changed economy) later. Still, as for how she determines how much cash the imaginary sprite will swap for baby teeth, she said “social pressure” remains her guiding factor.
“In my town it’s generally five bucks a tooth,” Jerrett said, an amount that’s almost $3 more than the 2011 national per tooth average of $2.10, according to an annual survey done by insurer Delta Dental.
Such totals are due, in part, to the rise in kids’ — and parents’ — expectations around just about every holiday and near-holiday. At Halloween, a plastic bucket to collect candy isn’t enough anymore — there’s scary yard decor to consider and catalogs filled with pricey costumes. Easter often includes wrapped gifts in addition to a cute candy basket. And when birthdays roll around, many kids expect a bash at Build-a-Bear or a rented jumpy house in the backyard. Pin the tail on the donkey? Please.
And so it is with the Tooth Fairy.
What was once a magical experience that helped overshadow the mild trauma of tooth loss – a fairy leaving a token under a pillow in exchange for baby teeth – may be going the route of other gift-giving occasions. Some parents feel pressure to give an amount equal to their child’s peers, if not a gift as well. It’s keeping up with the Fairy Joneses.
Frantic parents will often stop by the children’s store Magic Beans in Brookline,MA, where manager Colin Dwyer helps them find the perfect gift to celebrate a lost tooth.
“If it’s a first tooth it could be something pretty big. A lot of times, because they’re losing teeth a lot, they’ll buy little things,” he said, adding, “It’s almost like a panic moment.”
To be prepared for unexpected tooth loss, he said some parents like to stock up on toys. Purchases will often be small tchotchkes that are part of a set, like Lego Minifigures, which cost $4 each and come in an opaque silver bag, to make the contents a surprise. Charm It charms are also popular, which attach to a bracelet and cost around $5 each.
Just found this. It's from earlier this summer, I'd guess June or so, after she lost her seventh tooth and refused to give up her seventh tooth. She has some notion that the tooth fairy is a middleman -- pays for the goods and then sells them at a profit, or something. And that by depriving the tooth fairy of all of these teeth, she (sozlet) was damaging her (Tooth Fairy's) livelihood.
So I found this and a couple of dollars under her pillow:
What was once a magical experience that helped overshadow the mild trauma of tooth loss – a fairy leaving a token under a pillow in exchange for baby teeth