Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle! My daughter has a loose tooth. So far she has lost 6 baby teeth. Nothing can gross me out quite like a wiggling tooth in which she takes great delight both in the wiggle and my discomfort. I consider myself hardened from my past tour of diaper duty to even the worst diaper blowout. As a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, I accompanied my housemate (a student in the physical anthropology program) to a crime scene. The victim had been exposed to the elements for a few months and was partially skeletal and the rest of the body looked mummified from the freezing and thawing temperatures. I handled that just fine. I went home, gave thanks for my blessings and ate a raisin bagel. But a loose tooth is something else. I guess it is a good thing that I am not a dentist.
My daughter just attended kindergarten camp. She was a little anxious to begin with as she did not know any of her classmates prior to attending. She came home beaming. She had made many new friends. What bonded them together was the rite of passage of losing baby teeth (a universal event) and having had a visit from the Tooth Fairy. She has high standing for having lost the most baby teeth. Another little one had not lost any yet, but had the special talent of being able to whistle.
I grew up with the Tooth Fairy, an elusive pixie that only comes out only when children are sleeping. I found that there may be more than one Tooth Fairy. The one that normally visited the Bleiholder household left 25 cents per tooth. However, on occasion, the California Tooth Fairy (later identified as a visiting family friend who was a dentist from California) would make an appearance and leave me $1.
This had me wondering if the Tooth Fairy exists in other countries or if there was an equivalent character. And as most children want to know, what is the going rate for a tooth?
Let’s tackle the first question. The two prevailing magical creatures take form as a fairy or a mouse. However, there is a combination of the two traditions to be found in a white fairy rat known to scamper about Scotland. It appears that the milk tooth exchange was pretty well represented in the movie, The Rise of the Guardians.
The Tooth Fairy’s flight path seems to be concentrated over the English speaking countries, including the United States, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Tooth Fairy may go by another name, such as, Annabogle, in Ireland. The dentally inclined mouse brigade (aka The Tooth Mouse or Ratoncito Perez) on the other hand has claim on France, Belgium, Italy and Spanish speaking countries, such as, Spain, Mexico, Colombia , Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooth_fairy).
Now for the burning question of the century – What is the rate of exchange per tooth? I can only answer for my corner of the world, the United States. The going rate is anywhere between $1 to $5. The first tooth lost or top front two teeth tend to have more value. However, for the OCD newbie fairies in possession of an iPhone, Visa has thoughtfully come up with an app that will calculate the magic number, just answer a few questions (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tooth-fairy-calculator/id554232358?mt=8).
From one Tooth Fairy to another, let me remind you of a timeless truth. Enjoy this magical time with your children. It goes by all too quickly!