When Nikki M.’s five-year-old son lost his first tooth, it was a big deal. But, she laments, they lost track of the tooth, which she had wanted to be a keepsake, "even before he put it under his pillow."
Nikki's not the only mom with strong feelings about this rite of passage. For moms around the world, each time a child loses a baby tooth, but especially the first time, it's a milestone. Here, Circle of Moms members share fun traditions for marking the loss of their children's first teeth.
Tales of the Tooth Fairy
If you want to "do something special" for the first tooth, take a page from moms like Louise E. and Tara S. Rather than simply instructing her children to place a lost tooth under their pillow, Louise E. drops it into a clear glass of water to await the pick up. "When the children are asleep," she explains, "I replace the water with fresh water and add a little glitter and food coloring before dropping in the money with a drop of disinfectant (goodness knows where the Tooth Fairy has had that coin!)” Tara S. stashes "one dollar, a new tooth brush and some ‘fairy dust’ near where [my son hides] the tooth."
Then there are moms who embroider the basic Tooth Fairy myth with their own special family stories. Meredith O. is one of these: “My daughter had a special box from Precious Moments that latched that we have always used. When she got older, she started asking what does the Tooth Fairy do with all of these teeth she collects. So, I told her what my grandma told me: she collects the teeth and then takes them back to the clouds and grinds them in a magic machine, and then sprinkles the special dust on newborn babies and that is how they get their teeth. I know it is corny but she has always believed me and I believed everything my grandmother told me. She was a great American Indian storyteller. My daughter still believes and she is 10 now.”
Misty S.'s family's Tooth Fairy story was invented out of necessity: the first time she and her husband tried to be tooth fairies, they got “caught in the act.” Now, her daughters, ages eight and 12, call the Tooth Fairy, 'The Hairy Fairy,' because her husband plays the role. (And, Misty shares, "let’s just say the name suits him.”)
If you're wondering what to do with all the teeth, or just whether or not the event is worthy of a keepsake, look to moms like Sondra A. Her family's Tooth Fairy tradition has resulted in a mini collection of keepsake letters: “Our Tooth Fairy gives a dollar, plus a brief letter,” she explains. A tooth that gets lost c"an still be redeemed at our house if he writes the Tooth Fairy a letter of explanation. These are darling, and I've kept them with the teeth that didn't get lost twice.”
Some moms find a permanent home for the baby teeth in their child’s memory books. "When my children lost their first teeth, I gave them five dollars [and] I wrote on the bill ("from the Tooth Fairy for losing my first tooth"), and put it in their baby book,” shares Anita B.
But for other moms, the idea of saving their kid’s teeth is not appealing at all:
“My kids . . . figured out the Tooth Fairy was me a long time ago, so we don't even bother with the pretense anymore. They show me their tooth, I give them the money. Sometimes they ask if I want to keep the tooth, but I just throw them out. My sister used to have a box on her dresser filled with her kids' old teeth. ICK! “
What's your family's Tooth Fairy tradition?
Related Reading: 5 Winning Tips for Losing Teeth
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