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How quickly things change! The day before yesterday, Connor was despondent. And then yesterday was one of the greatest days of his life so far:

Connor is nearly seven, and this was the first tooth he has ever lost. He was the only kid left in first grade who had not yet lost a single baby tooth, and when I tell you that was eating him up inside I am not exaggerating. He had been wiggling this one loose for some time, and by last night at dinnertime, it was hanging by a thread. A blue one. It made me gag just to look at it. Daddy was at the Yankees game, and my stomach churned at the thought of having to pull it out. Thankfully, just one bite of Annie’s Bunny Macaroni did the trick, and Connor had become a man!

I ran and checked my wallet while Connor called the grandmothers. I had two ones, and a ten. Ten bucks seemed a little steep; two seemed insufficient. I went directly to Facebook and posted to all: “What’s the Tooth Fairy paying out for a first tooth these days?” Here, a smattering of the responses I quickly received:

–three gold Sacajawea dollars
–100 shares of Bear Stearns
–$5 for first teeth and/or center uppers, which are particularly exciting
–$5 plus one tube of High School Musical toothpaste

Good suggestions all. But it was 7:30 pm and I had neither shiny gold coins nor stock certificate nor glittery Crest around the house. Heck, I didn’t even have a fiver. So I asked Connor, trying to appear casual.

MOMMY: What have kids at school been getting from the Tooth Fairy?
CONNOR: Ten dollars.
MOMMY: Wow! Really? Are you sure?
CONNOR: (pondering) Well. Emily got one dollar, but she also got a coloring book.

He returned a few minutes later to elaborate:

CONNOR: It was an animal coloring book. And Emily likes animals more than anything.

And more, a few minutes later:

CONNOR: I think Emily’s coloring book was so good that like, the animals were almost going to COME TO LIFE, it was so good.

I certainly didn’t have one of those lying around.

And so I sneaked into Connor’s room last night, heart pounding lest I be discovered, retrieved the teensy tooth, and left the ten. Connor came running into our bedroom at 6:02 a.m. to show me.

CONNOR: Mom! The Tooth Fairy brought me ten dollars!

By now, I was certain that had been completely excessive.

MOMMY: Wow! That’s a lot of money. That’s probably just because it was your very first tooth that you lost.

And then Seamus popped his head around the doorway.

SEAMUS: Nope. It’s ten dollars every time, Mommy. When am I going to lose a tooth?

Looks like I better get looking for that magical coloring book, or else I’ll be out several hundred dollars by the time this is finished.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Em November 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Oy vey – now there's a dangerous precedent!! Congratulations to Connor.

$1 and a Hot Wheels is the going rate around here – I now keep a stash of crisp $1 bills in my sock drawer after having to "borrow" out of son #1's piggy bank.

This whole planning ahead thing when it comes to being a mom, keeps you on your toes, don't it?

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Mollie November 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I love the gold dollar coins idea. Stock up so you're ready for next time. I figure seven-year-olds don't have a clue what $10 is worth, but they know a valuable pirate-worthy doubloon when they see one!

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Roxane B. Salonen November 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm

You've set quite a precedent, Amy. Not only that, but you make the rest of us low-life Tooth Fairies look lame. (JK) You do what you gotta do — I know. Sometimes, the Tooth Fairy is so lame, she leaves a note that she's been so busy with kids in Timbuktu that she had to wait a day or so to get to your kid. Sheesh! 🙂

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Roxane B. Salonen November 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm

P.S. I used to have a bag of coins I brought back from Europe, and that's what the Tooth Fairy gave for a while — loose change from other lands. It worked great, until I ran out, then I had to tell her to look for other sources of moola.

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Amy Zimmerman November 6, 2009 at 1:41 am

The hardest part of the whole tooth fairy business comes now, when on some days I have as many as three kids losing teeth….and the tooth fairy has forgotten SOOO many times!
Many is the morning I have woken up at 4-5 remembering that the tooth fairy had yet to visit….
Most of the times I have gotten away with it…though a couple mornings were complete busts!

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