It was a long time ago that my oldest child, Emily, lost her first tooth. I’ll never forget what a pivotal l moment it felt like at the time. It signaled something big—a new stage in life. My child was getting older and growing up. Her “adult” teeth were on their way.
That first tooth loss also sprung me into a panic about how to respond. Suddenly, my husband and I had to become a tooth fairy.
Being Jewish, Santa had never visited our home, nor had the Easter bunny, so we had absolutely no experience acting as a beloved and much anticipated fantasy figure.
All we knew was one of us needed to sneak into our daughter’s bedroom when she was very much asleep and remove the tooth, replacing it with some money, which was understood to be from the tooth fairy.
Even though this very exchange is exactly what I remember of the tooth fairy long, long ago when I was a child, it seemed to me as though perhaps a note was also in order. Something sweet, fanciful and flowery from the tooth fairy herself.
After all, Emily had been wiggling and wiggling that tooth and was extremely excited when it finally came out. She was seven at the time, which is on the late side for loosing one’s first baby tooth. We wanted to celebrate this big day and I knew she’d be thrilled with a note.
I took to Google and looked up “tooth fairy” and “letters from the tooth fairy.”
Lo and behold, I found website after website offering all kinds of tooth fairy paraphernalia—letters, certificates, tooth fairy dolls, tooth fairy “money,” tooth holders, and all the rest.
I quickly changed my strategy and searched for “free tooth fairy letters,” and came up with some decent results. I cut and paste from a few of the letters I found online, creating my own masterpiece. I found a fairy graphic I liked, printed the letter out and signed it “Flossie,” a fairy name I’d found one of the many sites I’d raced through that evening. (I liked giving the tooth fairy a name, rather than just calling her "The Tooth Fairy." It seemed more personal and "real.")
I’ve been waiting a very long time to come visit you. You did a great job wiggling and wigging your tooth until it finally came out. And I must say, it sure is lovely, so shiny and sparkly white. I’m so happy to have your tooth in my collection.
I’m guessing I’ll be back in few weeks to collect another tooth from you—you have another wiggly one, right? Keep up the good work brushing and flossing and congratulations on losing your very first tooth.
It was a hit.
As the teeth continued to fall out, new letters from Flossie appeared, always commenting on the beauty and shiny quality of Emily’s teeth and congratulating her on the good brushing. Often the letters would include personal tidbits, commenting on new pajamas, a haircut, or how long (or short) it had been since the last tooth came out.
A few years later, our son’s baby teeth began to fall out, too. This time dad was at bat. He created a new fairy character and wrote his own letters to Zach, signing them “Frankie.” Word on the street (or maybe in the first note) was that Frankie and Flossie were cousins.
Frankie was a little more sarcastic and funny than Flossie. Zach loved him and was endlessly asking us questions about Frankie. Sometimes Zach left special non-tooth notes or drawings for Frankie, “in case he is in the neighborhood.”
Here is a note from Frankie in response to a drawing and note Zach left in his window one night.
29 August 2010
While I was flying over my route this evening, I saw your note in the window and was able to stop for a few minutes and see how you are doing. You’ve not had a tooth for me for a while, but that’s OK. I’m sure you’ll have more soon. It’s nice to hear how my tooth-givers are doing.
I very much like your drawing. To answer your questions, I’m not much of an artist myself. When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my mom and dad learning how to collect teeth so I didn’t get a chance to learn much about drawing. However, since I’ve been working on the tooth castle for a while now, I’ve become pretty good at building.
I’m not quite sure what the rubber band thing you gave me is, but I’ve seen them in the bedrooms of lots of my boys and girls in the last few months. They must be very popular. Do you use them to floss your teeth? You’ve been doing a nice job of keeping your teeth clean, by the way.
Anyway, I have to fly off as Sunday is always a busy night for me. Thanks for checking in, and I hope to be back soon to collect one of your beautiful teeth.
Here is another exchange:
Today I tried a new series. It is called Captain Underpants. I loved it when I was reading it. I was also wiggling my tooth. It just happened to fall out. I hope you have a nice night.
Questions: How many teeth do you have in your castle? What are the names of other people whose teeth you collect?
When I was a kid, I read Captain Underpants, too. They used to be some of my favorite books.
Here are the answers to your questions:
#1: As of right now, there are 12,049,234,345,294,109 teeth in the castle, but we are expecting several more this evening.
#2: I can’t tell you all of the names of the kids on my tooth fairy route because there are too many and all of my stops are a secret. I can tell you that you are the only Zachary that I visit in the 02131 zip code area.
I’m glad you did not swallow your tooth this time; now I can put it on the castle and I won’t get any complaints from the tooth fairy boss. It’s very unusual for a tooth to come out while someone is reading. It must have been a good book.
Keep up the good brushing. You’ll soon have lots of grown up teeth to take care of.
We’ve had many animated discussions about the tooth fairy as the years have gone by. We talked about the tooth castle Frankie is building with all the teeth he collected, how tooth fairies know when a child lost a tooth, what happens to tooth fairies during blizzards, and much more. It has been a fun ride.
One year we traveled to Philadelphia for the December school break. A wiggly tooth finally came out while we were there. We dashed off a letter from “Freddie,” the Philly cousin of Frankie and Flossie.
We also found a great book called, Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Baker. In some places, baby teeth are left in a glass of water, thrown on the roof or planted in the dirt. It is a great addition to your library if you are just entering the world of wiggly teeth.
I know parents whose traditions vary quite a bit from ours. One family we know has their kid email the tooth fairy when a tooth is lost. Another friend doesn’t take the baby tooth, but leaves it there, adding a quarter from the tooth fairy overnight.
Note, no note, money or none, have fun with the tradition. I know we did!
Free tooth fairy notes can be found at: