My kid lost her first tooth a while back. The tooth was a stubborn little bastard, sitting there wiggling for weeks before finally breaking away from her gums and dangling there by a small thread of connective tissue. My kid refused to give the tooth one final yank to get it out, which drove me nuts. All I wanted to do was grab a pair of pliers and RIP the thing out, but I refrained, because I'm a way cool dad.
Anyway, once the tooth was out, my wife and I had to agree on how much money the tooth fairy would give my kid for the tooth. We went into the kitchen and had a vigorous whispering argument so that the kid wouldn't hear us haggling.
ME: She gets a dollar.
WIFE: Oh, we have to give her more than that.
ME: Why? I got a fucking quarter when I was a kid.
WIFE: You can't just give her a dollar. She should get something different each time.
ME: She's lucky to even get a dollar! We buy her crap all the time. WHERE DOES IT END, WOMAN?! WHERE DOES IT END?!
Turns out a dollar in today's tooth fairy market is considered downright frugal. Someone I know got roped into slipping a Transformer under their kid's pillow for EVERY tooth. Another person I know gave their kid FIVE bucks, which is insane. And we even heard about some kid at school who got a fresh twenty. Twenty bucks. For a fucking tooth. It doesn't even have roots. It looks like a grain of rice, for crying out loud. No curio shop is buying that shit.
So I wanted to make sure I wasn't out of line in demanding that the kid only get a buck. I checked this BabyCenter poll. Out of 28,337 voters, 51% gave their kid a buck. 35% gave their kid two dollars or more. And I would just like to say to those 35% of parents: SCREW YOU. You're ruining the curve for the rest of us. Now my kid is gonna take her silver dollar to school, and some other snobby kid is gonna wave a twenty in her face and make her cry. HAVE YOU NO DECENCY IN THIS ECONOMY?!
This CBS story noted that some parents pay more for the first tooth, with less money for subsequent teeth. Again, this is bullshit. You know what will happen when your kid gets five bucks for the first tooth and a buck for the rest? BITCH CITY. But wait, it gets worse:
"For the first tooth, the tooth fairy left a $25 Cranium game under the pillow," says Benita Gold of Benita Gold Public Relations. "For the second and third teeth I left a hard back book and then it dawned on me that he is going to lose 18 teeth and I may want to scale it down. I now leave $5 per tooth."
You've got some nerve, Benita Gold. Who can fit a Cranium box under a pillow? I'M NOT A MAGICIAN. You go to Hell. Then there's this lady:
With my elementary kids, they hang their tooth in a tree in the front yard and in the morning they find that the tooth fairy has left a toy under the tree for them. No money... just something to play with."
How in the hell do you hang a tooth from a tree? It's miniscule. It would take me nine hours to tie a thread around it. Why would you do that? This isn't Amish country.
Other moms give extra money for molars (WHY?!), and some go to the trouble of leaving a note, which I think is nuts. Your kid has 20 baby teeth. That's twenty hand-written notes, the equivalent of two decades worth of Christmas letters from Santa. No child deserves that kind of love and attention. The tooth fairy is meant to operate SILENTLY, like a Navy SEAL. They leave the cash under your pillow and then POOF! They're gone. The silence only adds to the sexy mystery.
I also checked Yelp on this issue, because Yelp people are guaranteed to be annoying. Many of them said five bucks. One mom said "We give $5, but have an only child," which I found hilarious. Well, we only have one kid. LET'S SPOIL HIM SO THAT HE GROWS UP TO BE JUST LIKE ONE OF THE STARS OF "HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA."
If you have a kid who just lost a tooth, these are, from now on, the rules of how this tooth fairy business should work.
1. Give the child a dollar.* A silver dollar if you feel like being Mr. Fancy Pants.
2. Make sure, when putting the dollar under your kid's pillow, that you pretend you're a bank robber pulling off a heist while the security guard is sleeping. Seriously, if I can make that exchange without my kid stirring, I feel like the fucking Phantom.
3. If the kid complains about only getting a dollar, pull out one of their other teeth and tell them that every time they bitch, "the tooth fairy skims one off the top."
4. Get on with your life. Not everything your kid does merits its own mini-holiday.
* - I gave my kid two. I'm weak and I suck.