Tonight marks the very last first time for tooth fairy visits. Yes ... Julia has FINALLY lost her first tooth. Let me add that it is her emphasis on the word finally ... not mine! I think she's been ready for the tooth fairy since she was about 3 years old and figured out that Joel got treats for losing teeth.
Each of my kids has lost their first tooth at age 5 years 6 months ...nearly to the day. Isn't that interesting? I figured the age might vary from child to child, just as the age when they cut their first tooth varied. Joel's about halfway through losing teeth, and Nathan (who will also be getting a tooth fairy visit tonight) has lost 6 beautiful teeth.
We've had a few interesting tooth fairy adventures in our home. Probably the funniest one happened when Joel lost his second tooth. Joel actually lost his first two teeth on consecutive days. On both days, he suddenly announced he had a loose tooth and within minutes the tooth had fallen out. The first time it was early enough in the day that I could prepare for the big event. But the second time I wasn't prepared and it was too late to do anything about it. So the "fairy" left Joel a gift certificate instead of money. It was a homemade gift certificate that stated in honor of Joel's second tooth in 2 days, the entire family could have one scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
Well, that very next day we had to go get our ice cream. Our family walked into the ice cream shop, and while I distracted the kids with choosing flavors, Matt quietly asked the teen-aged workers if they would play along with the "gift certificate," assuring them that real payment would follow. Once everyone had gotten their ice cream, Joel proudly paid for everyone's dish with his gift certificate. Now it was Matt's turn to entertained the kids (who were busily eating their ice cream) while I got up to pay real money for our treat. To my surprise, the two employees didn't want to take my money because I had already paid with a "gift certificate." I kept showing them how it was signed "The Tooth Fairy" and pointing out that there was no dollar amount given, but they were not convinced that my homemade gift certificate wasn't the real deal. In those moments it became quite clear that just because someone is actually old enough to hold down a job doesn't mean they are mature enough to be left in charge of a place of business! Finally, in frustration (because I was determined that this tooth fairy would indeed pay for the ice cream), I said, "I've decided that I'll just save this gift certificate for another time and pay with cash tonight." We still laugh about that tooth fairy experience.
This same tooth fairy adventure is also how our tooth fairy got into leaving behind gifts and treasures instead of coins and dollars. I think my kids look forward to the anticipation of what the tooth fairy might leave behind ... and sometimes she does leave money, but more often than not it is some small trinket or tiny surprise that brings happy smiles to our entire house. Tonight, Nathan is getting a new pack of crayons (his favorite treat), and Julia is getting a tiny plastic pig (she adores tiny animals). Joel will be getting a surprise as well because the tooth fairy thinks he has been a great big brother this past week.
Obviously, there will still be many, many more nights of tooth fairy visits before it is all said and done ... many more late night hunts for spare change or small surprises that can be easily tucked under pillows; many more notes in childish hand-writing scribbled to the tooth fairy; many more nights of trying to stay awake long enough to sneak into rooms and rummage around under pillows in an attempt to find a tooth without waking a dreaming child; many more mornings with happy squeals of delight when treasures are pulled from under the pillow. Even though there are so many more tooth fairy nights ahead, I still wish I could figure out a way to slow down the steady march of my children growing up.
Here's a picture of the happy girl who is anxiously awaiting her first tooth fairy visit tonight.