My 9-year-old daughter, Lenina, lost another tooth today!
Of course, most everyone knows custom dictates that when a child loses a tooth they dutifully place it under their pillow knowing that the Tooth Fairy will come and take it in exchange for some money. It’s a tradition that’s dutifully been passed from parents to their children for generations.
And so it was that when my now 12-year-old son, Matthew, was within a year or so of losing his first tooth, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a bunch of Sacagawea golden dollars so that I would have them to put under my kids’ pillows on behalf of the Tooth Fairy when the time came.
Of course, I first had to figure out just how many of those golden dollars to get. At the time due to their initial popularity, there was a shortage of them. And because they were really hard to find I felt I needed to make a “lifetime” buy in order to ensure I would have enough to last until my youngest child lost her last tooth.
In order to make an informed decision I had to know two things: 1. the number of baby teeth in a child’s mouth; and, 2. the going rate the tooth fairy was giving out for an average tooth.
The first question was easy. A simple search on Google confirmed the number to be 20.
The second question, though, was going to take a bit more thought on my part.
You know, when I was a kid the Tooth Fairy usually left me a quarter, which was a fortune to a 6-year-old back in the Pleistocene era.
That might not sound like a lot of money today, but back then twenty-five cents would get me a frozen treat from the ice cream man and still leave me enough to buy a candy bar down the street at the Pixie Mart!
As I got older I noticed that the original 25-cent payout, for whatever reason, had suddenly increased. I assumed it was because they were the bigger molars. But whatever the reason, by the time the last of my baby teeth were falling out I was earning a whopping 50 cents for each molar!
So how much would the Tooth Fairy pay my kids for their teeth?
Well, by using the amount of money I got in 1970 as the official “Tooth Fairy standard,” I determined that for my kids the inflation-adjusted going rate for every cuspid, bicuspid, and incisor would be one dollar, and for each molar it would be two.
Now according to my daughter those prices seem to be in the ballpark with what her friends get, although she did say she has a friend who received $20 for a tooth! Just so you don’t think that was a typo, I’ll spell it out this time: Twenty dollars! Somebody please tell me that that is truly not normal when it comes to rewards from the Tooth Fairy. Anybody?
Aw, well. Sadly, last year the inevitable finally occurred when one of Nina’s friends let the cat out of the bag regarding the reality of the Tooth Fairy. Ironically, this has resulted in a bigger disappointment for the Honeybee and me than our daughter.
Now we simply and unceremoniously hand over a coin to Nina whenever she loses another tooth. Thankfully, Nina is still excited every time a tooth falls out because she still gets a shiny golden Sacagawea dollar for her piggy bank!
Best of all, whether she gets one dollar or five really doesn’t seem to matter to her, which makes sense considering young kids really don’t have a firm grasp on the value of a dollar anyway, as this experiment I did a few months ago clearly demonstrates.
So how about it readers? How much did you receive when you were a kid? How much is “too much”, and what do you pay out for your kids’ teeth now?
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