Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How much do you pay the Tooth Fairy?

It happened. My son pulled out his first baby tooth. We weren’t there to see the hallowed event – he was with his favorite sitter, Jessica. Truman was mindlessly wiggling his tooth while watching SpongeBob when his tooth just slipped out. He was a little shaken up about the little bit of blood that poured into his mouth, but by the time we arrived home he was proudly showing off his accomplishment, sealed tight in a snack-sized Ziploc bag.


This is not my son, but same expression!

Just a few hours earlier our friend Eric had told Truman that all he had to do was pull that tooth and the Tooth Fairy would leave $50 under his pillow. “Fifty dollars?” My son said, surprised. Rick and I started mumbling about the state of the economy and that likely the Fairy wouldn’t leave that much, but Eric winked at us and said, “Yes, that’s right. Fifty dollars!”

Well, the Tooth Fairy did not leave $50. But after the Truman went to bed, we debated what to actually put under our son’s pillow. I figured we’d leave a couple dollars. I got 50 cents as a child. Rick, who got 50-cent pieces for his lost teeth, suggested we leave $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS? Eric was still pushing for the $50 bill, and that sure wasn’t going to happen. (We do have friends whose son lost his tooth unexpectedly late one night. The only cash they had on hand was $20, and reluctantly, they left that for their son. Needless to say, he was thrilled.)

I had done research, however, on what to pay the Tooth Fairy. I talked to some friends and searched the Internet. As it turns out, 52 percent of the more than 25,500 people surveyed by Baby Center leave just $1. Eleven percent are still putting coins totaling less than a buck under their kids’ pillows. And a smidgen – 3 percent – leave no money at all.

We ultimately decided to leave $5 under Truman’s pillow, and then had to raid his piggy bank for a new bill as ours looked a bit worse for wear. We weren’t alone. The second largest percentage of people surveyed – 19 percent – give more than $2.

But I’m going with the majority of the group when it comes to the Tooth Fairy in general. “Visits from the Tooth Fairy are a magical part of childhood,” (51 percent). And, I’m going to keep up her pretense “as long as I possibly can!” (54 percent)

Want to see how your thoughts on the Tooth Fairy rank? Take the Baby Center Tooth Fairy poll.

Photo, Flickr, srett

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