Chances are, if you're a parent, you're probably under the common misconception that I do not exist. However, you would be wrong. (Of course I exist, or how could I write this article?)
Anyway, I appreciate all the help you've given me when I haven't been able to make it to your kid's room to pick up that lost tooth. Business has been very brisk, let me tell you. However, you're not quite as experienced as I, so here are some tips, just in case you run across some of the usual TFAP (Tooth Fairy Assistant Pitfalls).
Tip #1 What to do when you forgot I wasn't coming
I know the agony of the morning after. The morning after the night your toothless child carefully places his or her lost pearl under the pillow, knowing the only person worthy of treasuring a discarded body part is yours truly. But yours truly already had 42,010 other lost teeth to collect and you were supposed to fill in for me. But you forgot. And now it's the morning after and you've awoken to screams of "The tooth fairy forgot me!"
What to do? What to say?
Here is what to do: Wait till little Johnny goes into the bathroom and then quickly slip the quarter (or dime or dollar, depending on how much you think I'm good for) inside the pillowcase. And now here's what to say: "Johnny, are you sure the tooth fairy didn't come? Did you check under your bed? Maybe it fell?" Then Johnny goes on a search and discovers that even the Tooth Fairy makes mistakes and sometimes gets the reward in the pillow instead of under it. The only way this won't work is if your child's name isn't Johnny. (In that case, insert your own kid's name.)
Tip #2: What to say when your child questions my existence
I know, you still doubt I exist, so you'll probably be tempted to answer with what you believe is the truth so when your little darling asks, "C'mon Mom, you're really the tooth fairy, right?" you'll come up with something lame like, "Right."
I'm a very honest fairy (after all, I do pay for the teeth I take) and a big believer in telling the truth. So here are some tips on how to not lie if you feel as though you'd be contributing to your child's loss of innocence by negating my existence.
A) Avoid the issue altogether. Answers that come under this heading would be things like, "Do you want butter on your pasta or just red sauce?" or "How 'bout those Mets?" If you are not good at thinking on your feet like that, then perhaps you should stick with...
B) Logistics. You could say something like, "How could I be the tooth fairy if she comes when I'm asleep?" If you have one of those clever types of children who knows you stay up later then he, (thereby affording you time to fill in for me), I suggest going straight to plan C, which is...
C) List the merits of belief. This would include statements such as, "If you stop believing, she may not come anymore." This translates into "no more payoff." Some might see this as a cruel threat, but I view it as merely touting a belief system.
Tip #3: What to do when your child loses a lost tooth.
These losses can occur in any number of ways. For example, plenty of kids have actually swallowed a loose tooth. There are also those times when a child has a loose tooth and then goes to the movies. Out it comes while in the darkened movie theater; the mother in question refuses to allow said child to go foraging for it on the less than pristine floor and the tooth is lost forever, probably encased for perpetuity in a gelatinous mass of Gummi Bears. This is a common problem, and one that has unnecessarily led to many tears.
Just have your toothless wonder write me a note explaining the situation (or, for the pre-literate, draw a picture of the tooth. I also like pets, so if she wants to include a drawing of Fido, I'd be happy to stick it up on my fridge at home). If I'm not able to get to your house that night, make sure you hide the note so you don't have to answer any uncomfortable questions like, "Hey, what's my note to the tooth fairy doing in your nightstand drawer?"
Tip #4: What to do if your child is too excited to go to sleep.
Tell him about my iron-clad policy. I do not visit children who are awake. I have to keep the mystique going, don't I? If, by say, eleven p.m. he's still up, tell him to quietly lie in his bed and imagine a conversation with me. It's all about his birthday party. Tell him to pretend I'm at his birthday party; he can imagine how many and what color balloons there are, what kind of cake we'll be eating and what present I'm giving him. If he really refuses to go to sleep until I get there, I'll have to sic my boyfriend, The Sandman on him. Not that he's boring or anything, but no one can stay awake when he's around.
Tip#5: What to do if your kid won't brush.
This is a common, yet disgusting, problem. On the other hand, you don't want to tell your child they'll get cavities if they don't brush (and subsequently have to go to the dentist). The fear factor does not work. If you want them to grow up and take care of their teeth, they won't if they are too scared to even make an appointment to see the dentist.
I myself know way too much about this. How do you think I got this tooth fairy gig in the first place? I didn't take care of my own choppers, they fell right out of my head, and I promptly became obsessed with collecting other people's teeth (after they were done with them).
Just tell your children they need to brush their teeth to keep them healthy, just like they need to eat good food to keep their bodies healthy.
Well, that's it for now. I appreciate your help, so you keep up the good work. Get your kids to brush every morning and night, and take them to the dentist every six months because I do love collecting those nice white teeth. Though frankly, I'll take the rotten ones too. I'm not picky.