Motherhood

Oops! A Little Mishap

Toby

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has made this parenting gaffe…

Toby, at 8 years old, is obsessed with nothing more than losing teeth, and after much anticipation, wiggling and apple-eating, he finally lost his sixth one! He gingerly put it in a sandwich baggie and placed it under his pillow.

Cut to the next morning: The sweet sleepy little boy climbed into our bed at 5:30 a.m. “I have some sad news,” he whispered. “Oh yeah?” I answered groggily, my eyes still closed.

“The tooth fairy didn’t come.”

MY EYES SHOT OPEN. Oh my gosh, I had completely forgotten. My mind raced for ways to figure it out: Should I elbow Alex to sneak out of bed and put a dollar in Toby’s bed? Could I pretend to get a glass of water and do it myself?

In the end, I told Toby that the tooth fairy must have been sick or busy, and that she would surely leave an extra treat the following night to make up for it.

(Of course, that morning at school drop-off, he showed his missing tooth gap to every adult in sight. “What did the tooth fairy bring???” they all asked. “She didn’t come,” Toby replied. “She feels TERRIBLE,” I added.)

The next night, he got a whopping $2 and a pack of Maltesers.

Have you ever forgotten to leave a tooth fairy gift? My friend Cailin is one of seven kids and says her parents forgot almost every time. (Although who can blame them? That’s 140 teeth.)

When my friend Rob forgot, he had a funny idea: That morning, he put $1 under a different pillow and told his child that the tooth fairy must have gotten confused in the dark. “A few days later, I put another dollar under another pillow, and it became a fun thing,” he said. “We started joking about where else she might have left money.”

P.S. The going rate for the tooth fairy, and Toby goes on a dinner date.

  1. Liana says...

    I remember I woke up one fine morning (8 years old) with a 20 dollar bill under my pillow. I ran into my parents room screaming, “The TOOTH FAIRY gave me 20 BUCKS!” My dad looked surprised. My mom looked annoyed. Later that day, I bought the biggest fanciest cabbage patch doll (the 80’s). What a wonderful mistake to make in the dark.

  2. Bates says...

    I forgot for our most recent tooth loss…and then forgot the next night AND the next night (!!) we don’t tell our children that the tooth fairy or Santa etc are real things (but this doesn’t seem to diminish the magic of Christmas or a dollar under the pillow….unfortunately it does leave us directly in the target when the tooth fairy doesn’t come!!! )

  3. Maddy says...

    When I lost a tooth in 2nd grade, I didn’t tell my parents because I wanted to see if the tooth fairy would still come. Not surprisingly, she didn’t. The next morning I told my mom and she asked if I was more upset about there being no tooth fairy or because I hadn’t received any money. Needless to say, the dollar I got from my mom was just as good as a tooth fairy one.

  4. My 6 year old daughter lost her first tooth this year and the tooth fairy left the money under her pillow which she later shared with her older friends at the school bus. Well, we live in Turkey and the tooth fairy is not a “thing” around here. So the older friends told her that there is no fairy and I (the mother) was most likely the one who put the money there. My daughter came home, told me this conversation with her eyes wide open and her voice so high from trying to prove that the fairy is real; “Mom, I said the fairy exists, I said you would tell me if she didn’t because you would never ever lie to me, you wouldn’t, right mom???? The fairy is real, isn’t it???”

    Well, at least she understood I meant well and forgave me for lying to her :))

  5. Leigh says...

    Growing up it was understood in our house that the tooth fairy had a lot of houses to visit so it might take a few nights for her to come. If she came the first night we left a tooth under the pillow that was exciting but if not we knew to try again and she’d eventually come! I plan to use the same strategy with my kids in a few years -keep the pressure off for the inevitable occasions when we just can’t remember everything.

  6. Gen says...

    Soooo, I wonder if anyone has advice on this related topic? My oldest is 6, no wigglies yet, but around the corner I know. We don’t do Santa or Easter Bunny and have some good workarounds for these that preserve both fun for the kids and my aversion to lying (party pooper – I know) but does anyone in a similar situation have a nice workaround for the Tooth Fairy? ie something that is still fun for them but doesn’t introduce a non-existent creature?

    • Ellen says...

      My parents always paid us for teeth and it was super exciting. No felt loss of magic! We do the same for our kids – I can’t get around the lying either. They haven’t seemed at all bothered, I think a dollar is pretty magical to a kid, however she gets it!

  7. Midge says...

    I read the whole post and several comments before remembering that I forgot to do it last night. Not kidding.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Midge, I love you.

  8. Rachel says...

    My brilliant mother told us that the toothfairy will only visit if we said the magic poem before bed: Wish I may, wish I might have the toothfairy come tonight. Now I see it was so she could remember we lost a tooth that day (or know we lost a tooth if we were trying to sneakily test the tooth fairy).

  9. Veronica Aguirre says...

    When my son lost his first tooth, my husband put the $1 in a ziplock bag, because germs. And when my son found it, he was like, “I know it was you, the tooth fairy wouldn’t put money in a zip lock bag.”

  10. Anne says...

    When I was 5, I had a loose tooth and swallowed it at school eating a PB&J sandwich. I remember coming home and being very concerned that the tooth fairy wasn’t going to leave me anything since I didn’t have the tooth. So my dad drafted and had me sign an affidavit for the tooth fairy that explained what happened. Needless to say, I got my $1. I didn’t appreciate how funny this was until I was older. Hilarious parent move to save the day!

  11. Suz says...

    My dad (aka the tooth fairy) would forget all the time, so he wrote apology notes from the tooth fairy and included a little extra money as interest for the delay. The interest helped make up for the disappointment 😉

  12. Meghan Molumby says...

    The tooth fairy has been known to make mistakes at our house as well, haha. :) Recently my 6-year-old son made the same tearful announcement that the fairy had passed him over and without missing a beat I said, “It’s ok honey, sometimes it’s too hard to squeeze under the pillow and so the tooth money gets left by the door instead.” I directed my son to check all three doors to the house and as he did, I fumbled in my purse, only to come up with a $10 bill. Doh!! Needless to say, he was very happy when he found the money in the door…

  13. Sarah says...

    I forgot once so now I set an alarm on my phone for 9pm – after the kids have gone to bed but before I’m too tired! Sometimes they get quarters, sometimes a $2 bill, recently my daughter got $20(!) because she got 4 teeth extracted at the dentist’s office.

    • Jessica Brown says...

      I pay extra for dental extractions too!!

  14. Kat Rosa says...

    I’m from a family of 7, and my mother forgot all the time too. I ended up playing tooth fairy for my youngest sisters—I still have their baby teeth!

  15. Kimmie Rodriguez says...

    One year, I was feeling pretty bold by saying I wondered if the tooth fairy could get me a doll instead of money…and I was pretty adamant, according to my parents! That’s when we cut to “the talk” about the truth: that my dad was actually the tooth fairy! I had this wild idea for a while that he actually did dress up and leave money behind, and when I asked my mom where he kept the fairy outfit days later, she did the hardest face palm.

  16. Laura says...

    I’ve forgotten three times! The first time we’d had a really bad snow storm so we said that must have been the reason. The tooth fairy came the following night and left a note explaining that when she first stopped by my daughter had still been awake and then the snow had prevented her from returning. The second time the tooth fairy left a note to apologise because she’s been really busy, she hoped that children weren’t losing so many teeth because they’d been eating too many sweet things (it was right after Easter 😂) and the third time I remembered in the morning and had to attempt to replace the tooth under my daughter’s pillow with a pound coin before she woke up 😱

  17. Connor says...

    I was a weirdly secretive child and did not tell my parents that my tooth had fallen out until I was just falling asleep. My dad had to go out in the middle of the night for cash because he didn’t have any small bills, but it was impossible to get single dollars and so he got me a bracelet from who knows where instead. I got cool presents from the toothfairy instead of money ever since.

  18. I totally forgot when my son lost his second tooth. I put it together a few days later with a note from the tooth fairy to the effect that she has been traveling and apologizes for the delay. He bought it.

  19. Josephine says...

    Oh yes, we forgot with the very first tooth! My son came to us in the morning to break the news. My husband and I shared a momentary panic, but I got up and asked the boys to stay with their dad while I went to ‘investigate’, saying it might have moved in the night. I quickly pocketed a dollar coin and slipped in inside the pillow case. I called my son in to have another, thorough look. When he found it he was thrilled and none the wiser! It’s definitely going to happen again…

  20. Hahaha! This just happened to us the other morning/night. Eight year old stomped out of his room at 6am and was yelling that he looked everywhere and the tooth fairy didn’t leave him money. Oops is right.
    The tooth fairy may have dropped a bill back in his room at breakfast and asked him to look around later.

  21. Jen says...

    I never seen to have cash, so tooth fairy night is always a challenge for me. The worst is when I have had to stealthily raid the kiddo piggy bank to complete the transaction. Ugh, and then what to do with the baby teeth?? Must I keep them?? I am plenty sentimental about my children and their accoutrements, but I really don’t want to hang onto their teeth. I have enough jewelry.

  22. Shannon says...

    My sister-in-law is from South Africa and it’s a tooth mouse, not a tooth fairy. The tradition is still the same and there’s been a few times that she’s made the kids look for the crumbs to find the money. It means that if they don’t get the money that night, then she tells them to keep searching for the trail / makes the trail while they’re in school!

  23. Jane says...

    We’ve done it too often! While one of us pretends to help search for it, the other quickly grabs money and comes over to help find it and suddenly “finds” it in one of the throw pillows on the bed.

  24. Stefanie says...

    We always called it the tooth mouse – and she wouldn’t come if the cats slept on the bed.
    Not sure if that worked for the kids, but amazingly they would comment that there was nothing from the tooth mouse, by then the cats would be up and about and the “tooth mouse” would have dropped off the money while the children were eating breakfast.

  25. Veronica Aguirre says...

    What a cutie!

  26. Karen says...

    I play the hot and cold game with my boys (even my 24 year old son loved it and insisted I hide his presents until he left home 2 years ago!) – you know, the one where you hide the presents and they find them by getting warmer). And then when my 11 year old lost a tooth a few years ago, I forgot to leave a £1 coin under his pillow. .. aaaaggghhh! So I blagged it and told him that the tooth fairy wanted to play the hot and cold game too… giving me time to find a quid and hide it! I paid both sons £1 per tooth or whatever that is in dollars now, although I think the going rate might have gone up to £2!

  27. Evelyn says...

    I hope Toby doesn’t read this blog!

  28. Bethany says...

    As a super forgetful mom, I can’t tell you how many times i’ve gone into a bedroom with a bill palmed in my hand and then shoved it under the pillow only to refind it. My kids were none the wiser.

  29. Susan says...

    Almost 16 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, I was in the hospital giving birth to our twins. When my parents brought our older boys to the hospital to meet their siblings, my 7 year old showed me his latest tooth to fall out. He had to wait a few days for the tooth fairy to arrive after repeatedly wondering why she hadn’t brought the usual $1. The night we came home from the hospital, I reminded my husband that we had to leave money from the tooth fairy. I suggested that he be a little more generous given the added wait and recommended $5. The next morning, our son flew into our room holding the bill from the tooth fairy – $50! My husband’s excuse – he was tired and it was dark. Then he suggested that the tooth fairy probably wanted our son to pay for the Christmas tree we were planning on picking out later that day! Needless to say, there was a lot of assuring that this was an extra special experience because he had been so patient and that the tooth fairy would probably not be that generous in the future.

    • Diana L. Tisdale says...

      Bahahaha

  30. Eva says...

    My mom (left-handed) used to write us “notes from the tooth fairy” that went along with the 50-cent-coins we got. One day she wrote that the tooth fairy lived in Poland, so for the rest of the time thought up different Polish words to put in each letter. One day she put Polish coins under the pillow that she got from our Polish neighbor. We were thrilled, and told everyone at school about it immediately.

  31. Heather C says...

    Ugh, so many times yes. We’ve made so many and varied excuses for the tooth fairy between our four kids.

    When my oldest turned 10 and I forgot *again,* I finally said, “You know it’s me, right?” and handed her a $5 bill to cover the most recent two teeth. In the face of cold hard cash, all disappointment vanished.

  32. Lauren says...

    When I lost my first tooth my oldest sister, who was about 12 at the time, wrote me a note from the tooth fairy and left me a pack of gum. She was so proud that she had done something sweet for me, that she immediately told me the tooth fairy wasn’t real and it was really her that had left the gift. Nothing like kids wanting credit and ruining childhood traditions in the process haha! Needless to say my parents never let her help with Santa or the Easter bunny after that.

  33. Ramsey Fountain says...

    When our son was 7-years-old the Tooth Fairy left him a note one morning apologizing for the one-day delay (imagine that) in the delivery of the loot. Later that day our little darling came to me with a pen and a piece of paper and instructed: “Mom, I want you to write: ‘Love, the Tooth Fairy’ on this piece of paper.” I knew that I was about to be busted by an aspiring hand-writing analysis expert. Stalling for time I asked nervously why he wanted me to do that and he replied “Well…, because…, Mom…, I suspect that YOU are the Tooth Fairy.” Those were his exact words. Yup, I was busted. Oh well, I tried!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, hahhahaha, that is too funny and cute!

    • Alex says...

      My mum used to write us beautiful notes from the tooth fairy. She’s dyslexic and really can’t spell. Thanks to her hard work, I was a precocious reader. One morning, I noticed a mistake and asked Mum (in confidence!) if there was a way I could gently let the tooth fairy know. Mum was secretly mortified that her five year old corrected her spelling but rationalised that I wasn’t that impressive because I completely believed in the tooth fairy (and continued to for another five years!)

  34. t says...

    This is why I had to get rid of the elf on the shelf. same issue different item. If you are unfamiliar the elf is supposed to get moved each night for nearly a month before christmas. it is the WORST.

  35. Sarah Moya says...

    Yep, we’ve done this too. I think I said the same thing – Fairy was sick. I loved reading Rob’s story again and can’t believe Ella is already 13! Would love for Sharon to write again.

  36. Oneida says...

    This summer, we recently moved to a new city. In the last week of school, my daughter who was in first grade was upset while I was putting her to bed. “I haven’t lost a tooth all year!” she cried. I asked her why she wanted to lose a tooth so badly and she said the teacher had a special song she sang whenever a kid lost a tooth. I told her she could probably ask since we were moving and she wouldn’t be able to see her again. “But it can’t be FAKE, you REALLY HAVE to lose the tooth.” I’m assuming a lot of the kids probably asked, plus, ahem my kid is a RULE FOLLOWER. So instead, she taught our family the song (which is super cute by the way and involves motions!) and we promised to sing it to her whenever the next tooth fell out. It seemed like such a cute and fun way to celebrate!

  37. Morgan says...

    Oh yeah we have totally done this. My daughter was so surprised and somehow we managed to distract her long enough to stash it buried way under her pillow, encouraged her to check again, and lo and behold there it was. Our thing is to give foreign currency because, well, you never know where the tooth fairy was just before coming to our house.

    • alexis says...

      I have a lot of foreign money and I was planning to do the same! It’s also a really good lesson on different countries, etc. around the world.

  38. Susanne says...

    I did this exact thing about a year ago. It is really a terrible feeling to awake to a sad child. The next night, the tooth fairy left her usual $1, but there was a small, official looking notice in her tooth pillow . It was from the Dept. of Tooth Fairy Safety that let my daughter know that due to high winds around our house the night before, they did not permit her fairy to fly. She was so relieved to know what had happened!
    P.S. I now set a reminder on my phone for after she goes to bed so this doesn’t happen again.

    • Lizzie says...

      So sweet! And a phone reminder sounds tres helpful.

  39. Sasha L says...

    Yep!!! So many times that my kids just knew “she MIIIIIIIGHT come tonight, or the next night, or the next. You never know!!” She’s REALLY busy apparently.

    Pathetic. I am useless past nine pm.

  40. miss tall says...

    I have done that at least once with one of my 3 children. They go to bed so early, it is hard to remember a coin from 7 until midnight!

    Once my boy swallowed his tooth, and in stead of waiting for it to pass (NO WAY!) I made up a story about how the tooth fairy could smell the blood form where the tooth had been, so she would still come, for sure. And, luckily that night she did.

  41. The tooth fairy has dropped the ball a couple of times at our home. We never found our daughter’s first tooth, and the tooth fairy kept forgetting to visit until she drew the sweetest picture explaining the situation. And then earlier this month she finally lost her 3rd tooth, which had been hanging on by a thread. Sure enough, the tooth fairy forgot again. We chalked up to being out of town, and the next morning she received a note and a dollar (a big raise from the usual quarter) mentioning that her mommy had emailed to let her know where to visit.
    The best part was the conversation she had with my husband. Apparently, she told him that she knew the tooth fairy wasn’t real. He asked her who delivers the notes and money. She said that she wasn’t sure, she just knows she is called the tooth fairy. It still makes me laugh to think that my introverted six-year-old that still crawls into bed to cuddle is perfectly comfortable with a stranger walking into her room at night to take her teeth and give her money.

  42. Talya says...

    Oh, so many times!

    My mum actually tells a great story about being woken up in the middle of the night by my sister who had thrown up all over her bed. Half asleep she stripped the bed and put on fresh sheets and settle my sister down, but as she was walking out of her room and back to bed she heard my sister say “what about my tooth?” and had to go digging threw the dirty sheets for the tooth to leave for the tooth fairy!

    Also – reminded me of this great This American Life story: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/188/kid-logic/prologue

  43. Courtney says...

    Sweet Toby – every time you post of a photo of him I just want to gobble him up. He looks like such a lovely little dude.

  44. Oh, I definitely relate. I suppose it is an inevitable milestone of parenting? Our daughter finally lost her 3rd tooth earlier this month, and we completely forgot too. We were out of town, so we played that angle. The next night she got a note mentioning the fact that her mommy emailed to let the tooth fairy know we were away from home.

    Later on she was talking with my husband and told him that she knows that the tooth fairy isn’t real. He asked who brings the money and leaves the note. She said she didn’t know. She just knows she’s called the tooth fairy. It still makes me smile to think that our introverted kid that still crawls into bed with us every night to cuddle had no qualms with some stranger walking into her room to take her teeth and leave her money.

    • Eliza says...

      My nephew is terrified of the tooth fairy for that reason. How could his parents let an intruder come in TO HIS ROOM? How does she get past the alarm? If the tooth fairy can get past the alarm, surely a robber could too?! He leaves his teeth under his brother’s pillow so he still gets the money but no terrifying tooth stranger is coming into his room at night.

  45. Nicola says...

    I have forgotten so many times, but the kids love it because they know the tooth fairy pays interest-they now hope she’s a little late as it’s a great boost to their savings!

  46. Audra says...

    I hear parents telling of the insane prizes (monetary and other) they give their children per tooth and am happy to see you’re keeping the tradition simple–like my childhood was!

    **And even though this was a gaffe, it’s one that will stick out in his memory forever. What a story to tell at school!

  47. Kate says...

    Ahhh the tooth fairy! As a daughter of a dentist my tooth fairy experiences were nothing short of extraordinary. Before bed on the day that we had lost a tooth, my dad would let us know he was going to make a call to the tooth fairy. Of course he knew her he insisted, all dentists know the fairy and have a direct line to her. He would pick up the phone and have an elaborate conversation about how I had lost the tooth and where we lived. It was amazing, one of my favorite childhood memories.

  48. Jenny T says...

    We have 5 kids and our last came 6 years after the others (our long-awaited blessing). Our kids knew all along it was me and knew that sometimes I either forgot, didn’t have change (teeth go for 50 cents here), or was too tired. So they just left it there and reminded the tooth fairy. 😁 I eventually got to it and they still loved the note and money and night secrecy of it all. “How do you so it without me waking up!?)

  49. Emma says...

    My mom ALWAYS forgot– I got so many $20 (in the early 90s, that was a small fortune to a kid!) because that was all she had the next morning to stuff under my pillow, lol. I also became suspect when both the tooth fairy and Santa had the same messy loopy crazy handwriting as my mom— my inner detective was awfully curious at the similarities.

  50. Cynthia says...

    I did. I think I forgot with my youngest daughter once, and I told her since it rained during the night (which it did) the tooth fairy couldn’t fly. I made sure to remember that night.

  51. Kim says...

    Ha ha, I love hearing about tactics when you forget the tooth fairy duties. I’m eagerly prepping for the first tooth out, in about two years!

  52. Cynthia Miller says...

    I forgot All the Time with my first two children!
    I would help them look and “find” the money on the floor under their beds.
    With my youngest’s first tooth loss I got 4 quarters, put them in a plastic bag, and put them under his pillow right after he fell asleep.

  53. Jaclyn says...

    I was staying with 2 kids for a week, while their parents traveled on business. One night the little girl was saying her bedtime prayers and said “God – I hope the tooth fairy remembers to leave money tonight” turns out she had lost it a few days prior and through the chaos of her parents leaving and me staying no one remembered. I left her a $5 bill – cause that’s what I had. The next morning the kids were running around screaming and one yelled “That’s how you know God exists.” felt mildly guilty about possibly confusing their idea of God or a creator but it seriously was such a sweet and funny interaction.

  54. Lane says...

    My oldest son lost his first tooth at school and, instead of bringing it home, THREW IT IN THE TRASHCAN! When we were shocked about it because of the tooth fairy that night, he just asked if he could write her a letter instead. But after he lost his second tooth, he totally lost interest in the tooth fairy. He’s 9 now and still all in on Santa and the Easter Bunny, but he said the idea of a fairy who wants to collect teeth is too creepy and he doesn’t want to encourage her. :-D

  55. Olivia says...

    Yeah, my parents forgot once or twice too :)

    But when they didn’t, they were really fun about it. One time, I lost a tooth after eating blue water ice (Italian ice to those non-Philly people) and so my tooth was completely blue.

    The next morning, a little note was next to the dollar. The tooth fairy—aka my stepmom—had written with her left hand (to make it look scribbly) telling me that she’d seen allllll kinds of teeth before…but never a BLUE tooth! :) I still remember finding that so funny and feeling so special. And I completely believed the fact that I had the only blue tooth in the world.

  56. Denise says...

    I once forgot and told my daughter the Tooth Fairy was at a convention, and would take care of it when she returned.

  57. Andrea says...

    I love this one! You’re parents are hysterical. Recently I was puppy-sitting and found a little doggy tooth on the floor the next day! So cute and gross at the same time.

  58. Carrie says...

    My parents would tell me that the tooth fairy couldn’t get into the house because they had set the alarm. I had visions of her trying to open a window but fearing tripping the alarm and waking everyone up! The next night, I would remind them every 5 minutes to NOT set the alarm that night so the tooth fairy could get inside.

  59. ALEXANDRA PAPPAS-KALBER says...

    My daughter is too young for the tooth fairy yet, but I am sure there will be nights where we forget to hide the dollar under her pillow!

    On another note this made me think of my childhood when my mom and I found an envelope of my baby teeth in her dresser while were looking through some costume jewelry. We had just been assigned our open 5th grade science experiments so I decided to test how different drinks (water, juice, soda…) corrodes teeth. I used my own baby teeth. So gross!

  60. sigh – yes, the tooth fairy has been remiss at our house, too. Fortunately, I am NOT involved – that is my husband’s territory!! But he would tell the kid to write a note to the tooth fairy and they would write very indignant notes and usually the tooth fairy would remember the next night. (I think your friend Rob’s idea is GENIUS and I’m going to tell my husband – we still have a 3 year old, so will need some excuses!).

  61. Carly says...

    That happened when I was little and my parents said the tooth fairy was on vacation, but would leave a gift when he/she got back. A week later I received a postcard from Florida, probably sent by my grandparents, and money under my pillow.

  62. Natalie says...

    I have to share my brother’s sweet story here. They forgot to play tooth fairy when their little girl lost her first tooth and felt awful when she came downstairs bawling the next morning. Her older brother (who is 11) heard her crying, ran downstairs and told her, “sometimes the tooth fairy puts money under the wrong pillow. I’ll help you look again!” My sweet sweet nephew had taken a TWENTY dollar bill from his own wallet and hidden it under her other pillow! He didn’t want her to be sad. Makes me cry every time I think of it. And laugh because her parents had to tell her it’s $20 ONLY for the first tooth!

    • Rachel says...

      This is SO cute.

    • Jess says...

      That is the sweetest thing ever! What a great brother :)

    • Kim says...

      Oh wow, how generous!

  63. Colleen Wenos says...

    I’ve done this two nights in a row before! Second child syndrome!

  64. Jo says...

    For the 1st tooth I left a $1 bill under my son’s pillow and he was thrilled. He didnt have any plans for that money and just gave it to my husband who put it in his wallet.

    A week later, for the 2nd tooth, he got a $1 again.. we were almost busted when he found the $1 bill and said “this looks exactly like the one I got last week.. see.. its torn in the same spot.. dad, can you get me the $1 I gave you last time so we can check”.. lo & behold, it was the SAME $1 as my husband admitted to reusing the $1 from his wallet.. we somehow distracted him but he didnt seem very convinced LOL!

  65. Christine says...

    I’m not a mother, but an aunt. Once I had my sisters kid and she lost a tooth. I just put som money under her pillow, turned out it var 8 times the going rate.

    My sisters girl still talks about the tooth fairy in the mountains being the very best one.

  66. Ha, the idea to put the money under another pillow and tell the kids she must have missed theirs cracked me up! Excellent solution :)

    Here in the Netherlands the toothfairy isn’t really a big thing, and as I don’t really support the make-believe in these sort of traditions I will choose not to create the idea of a toothfairy for her. I will make a festive occasion out of it, but tell my daughter she’ll get a euro for her tooth from me instead (just like my mother did). I bet as she’ll know where to reach me, she’ll nag me into never forgetting!

  67. Nina says...

    Every parent has forgotten. I literally threw money over my child’s head once…he was all sad and I was like LOOOK it’s behind you.

    • Anne says...

      Hahahhahahha

    • This will so be me. Ha.

    • Martini says...

      Laughing so hard picturing you quickly tossing the money over your child’s head…and it will be on my mind the entire evening. Hilarious.
      The things we do!
      Thanks.

  68. Cindy says...

    Done it! And handled it in the exact same way.

    What a fun read through the comments section this morning. Thanks Cup of Jo!

  69. Joanne says...

    Oh my goodness, I forget ALL THE TIME. You’re not alone. :)

  70. Ashley says...

    We don’t do the tooth fairy (or Santa!) but we bought Throw Your Tooth on the Roof!, which chronicles what kids from around the world do with their lost teeth. My kids love to debate which country has the coolest tradition. Come to think of it, I may have discovered the book through this blog!

  71. I think every parent has done this and I consulted a friend when this happened to me. She said she had recently seen an idea of leaving a letter the next day. I concocted a scenario…the tooth fairy was on her way to the house in the early morning hours and came upon a mouse who had hurt his tooth eating the bird seed from the feeder in our backyard. She lost track of time, and pretty soon, it was too late! Even though my daughter now knows that the tooth fairy is not real, she still talks about that letter.

  72. Shannon says...

    When my sister turned old enough, my mom broke her the news. My mom thought that my sister should know, so she explained that she was in fact the tooth fairy. My sister didn’t understand though, and she believed that our mom was *the* tooth fairy and that she was flying around all night giving money to other kids and that was the reason she was so tired all the time. Hahaha.

  73. I’m totally filing your genius friend Rob’s trick away for when I inevitably forget to fulfill my Tooth Fairy duties next time!

  74. Lacy Rohre says...

    Solidarity sister! I have totally forgotten. Luckily, our tooth fairy has always been an international tooth fairy, leaving pesos and yen and euros from any international vacations we’ve taken. She also leaves a note with a short story about where she’s come from and why (like when she had just come from a palace where she procured the tooth of an English prince!) When she forgot to come, we were able to say “I bet she had a long flight from some far off place! Let’s see if she turns up tonight and where she will have come from.”

  75. cgw says...

    Part of the rite of passage of losing a tooth is the parent forgetting the loot. BTDT… more times than I care to admit. One lesson learned, and I suggest this to new TFparents: Don’t start handwriting special notes from the tooth fairy, and trying to disguise your writing or use fancy writing -it means you’ll have to continue doing that for every next tooth lost until the gig is up. Not only did I have to remember how the TF wrote, I also had to make sure I never used that fancy writing any other time -which I started to once and caught myself. Keep it simple, there’s a lot of teeth in those little mouths.

  76. Yep, and my eyes have shot open just like yours did. I think the first time it happened, I said that probably the Tooth Fairy had had an emergency and, who knows, had to be in Japan or something and would surely come the next day. I think that was when I decided I’d better make it into something special, so I painstakingly cut tiny stars out of an index card and colored them yellow, and put about 5 of them in the envelope with the $ and sprinkled the rest by the pillow and on the floor. In the morning my son was SO EXCITED. Of course I also then felt I had to do the stars for the next few teeth. Hopefully his excitement made up for the heartbreak the day before. It did make ME feel better — It’s so crazy what we do, isn’t it?? My parents never would have gone to the trouble!

  77. Sorrel says...

    When my son was 5 or 6, he came home asking a lot of questions about whether or not the tooth fairy was real. I evaded and volleyed his questions until he finally just came out and asked me, “Mom. Are YOU the tooth fairy?” The look on his face was so earnest, I had to come clean. “Yes. I am the tooth fairy.” When he first heard the news, he then thought that I was the tooth fairy for everyone. :)

  78. Jennifer says...

    I’ve so done that! And covered by saying perhaps the tooth fairy was feeling sly and hid it somewhere special. While child was brushing teeth I snuck into the bedroom and put money and a hastily scribbled note into a book on her bedside table (“Horray for your tooth, and I stayed a while to read beside you since your book looked so interesting!”).

  79. Elena Gekker says...

    The Tooth Fairy is a very odd concept if you didn’t grow up in the US. I mean, having lived here for two-thirds of my life now, I GET IT but in the former Soviet Union, you just lost your tooth and that was that. As a result, I’m really not certain how I would approach it with my own kid(s) in the future. A big part of me doesn’t really love the message it sends – the experience is an unfortunate one but you just muster one. Why the reward? And, more importantly, why the added pressure/guilt on moms? That’s just further mental load on women.

    It’s certainly a tradition here resulting in the kids’ expectations but… it’s a bit odd, no? (Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this! Maybe I’ll be outvoted!) :)

    • Lily says...

      Same. I was born here, but raised by two immigrant parents, who totally did not buy into the tooth fairy, Santa, Easter bunny, etc. I have a six year old now, and don’t plan on recreating any of the “presents from magical beings” for her either. It’s going to be exciting when she loses her first tooth, but I don’t want to make it seem like we’ll always celebrate life’s milestones (big or small) with money and/or gifts.

      (On the flip side, every culture has its own traditions that seem “weird” to those who weren’t raised in that culture. I personally think the tooth fairy is kind of strange, but I’m sure people would say the same thing about us lighting firecrackers on Chinese New Year to scare away demons and evil spirits…!)

    • Anonymous says...

      I’m American, my husband is not. My mother-in-law has made me feel awful over the years for “lying” to my children about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus , and oh, trick or treating is stupid, too, according to her.

    • Miruska says...

      I am from former Yugoslavia, and we didn’t have it either. Losing teeth was noted but it wasn’t made into a big deal. Just one of those things that happen as you grow up. I was puzzled by this when I moved to Canada as well. Why make it into a big deal?! But also why make a lot of other things that happen to kids into a bigger deal than it needs to be as it definitely puts really big expectations on both parents and kids.

    • Sara says...

      Elena, I was born and raised in the U.S. and agree that it’s odd! I actually struggle with all of the fantasy creatures we create for our kids. I don’t really want to do Santa or the tooth fairy because it feels like lying, but my husband is worried our daughter will resent missing out on it. I think we’ve decided to do it, but keep things simple and be honest when she starts asking questions.
      This is a long way of saying, yes, even to natives it sometimes feels strange, but I get why it’s fun for the kids.

    • escondista says...

      I think this absolutely ties in with Cupofjo Parenting Around the World posts.
      This is my personal reason for doing it as an American mom:
      Adulthood can grind. With its many losses, daily hard work, and social pressures and privileges it just doesn’t seem very magical.
      There is this wee window that children have where their imaginations and trust align to make a perfect Tooth Fairy/Santa/Easter Bunny lore candidate.

      My mom died in January and all of these experiences add up to a joyful childhood that I now understand she crafted just for me.

    • Emma says...

      Love to hear this perspective! My parents sat me down when I was about 3 years old and summarily dismissed Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy. It was a non-issue in our household, and I can’t imagine indulging this concept as a parent (though I’m not a parent).

      My parents also never did anything just because other parents were doing it or allowing it, so that’s probably part of it. (Actually if I ever tried the “but everybody has one/does it” line, that was a guaranteed reason that I should NOT have/do the thing.)

      I have conflicted feelings about stuff like the tooth fairy, because I spent my childhood yearning to be an adult. On the one hand, I learned a lot of really important adult skills young (like managing money), but I had almost no self-confidence until my early 20’s. I really hated being a kid, because being a kid meant not being able to do a lot of important things adults can do (like vote! lol). My parents could be very harsh, and didn’t do much for enjoyment themselves. Most family holidays involved different combinations of people fighting–not a lot of good memories there.

      I hope that if I ever have children, I will be able to better balance pragmatism and fun. I definitely want my children to feel competent and prepared for adult life when they are adults, but I also want them to experience joy and the sense of possibility that seems most deeply felt in happy children. (I still don’t think I would bother with the tooth fairy stuff though–I just don’t get it!)

    • julie says...

      Elena, I was born and raised here, and I too find it…odd. (I also don’t do Santa, Easter Bunny, oh hell we don’t do religion either.) I just can’t lie to my 3-year-old. I don’t see why they can’t participate in the excitement while also knowing the truth. Plus it all seems like too much focus on material goods and cash. I don’t know, he might resent it – but I’m willing to take the risk, and start a conversation on privilege, haha. Good luck navigating these issues! And I agree: my mental load is currently at capacity.

    • Same here! Former Soviet Union, living in France for the past two decades – here the money is brought by a little mouse. When I was little, we had actual rats in the apartment (old buildings in St-Petersburg and bakeries on ground floor…), and I certainly would not want a mouse to bring me anything under my pillow :-D
      It’s a very weird tradition and I don’t get why kids get a gift!
      Would love to hear from people who grew on other continents!!

    • Eliza says...

      I’m in it for the beauty of “magic.” I don’t resent my parents at all for ‘lying’ to me (and actually, I’m quite sure that if I asked my dad now, he would still tell me Santa is real.) I lie to my kids all the time about things – “no, there’s no more cookies left now” “no, your dad and I don’t do anything very fun after you go to sleep” “yes, the outfit you painstakingly and proudly put together is fine” – so I have no qualms with lying to my kids to make a few certain aspects of childhood more magical and fun and imaginative. I think imagination is a very important part of being a kid; it fosters innovation and confidence. We don’t go overboard with candy or gifts , we don’t try to match what other families do, we don’t threaten Santa withholding gifts, and I don’t find fairies, Santa, or the easter bunny to be stressful (I refuse to do elf on the shelf though..that stresses me out). I find there is plenty of time for the dark, grey, real teen then adult world where there’s very little magic and a lot of heartache. (I totally get it for parents who don’t want to lie or trick their kids or add fairy tale magic where there is none – but just an explanation about why I participate and enjoy it!)

  80. Raquel says...

    Guilty :| When the kids couldn’t find their dollar – I’d grab one and say lets look together. Sometimes the dollar would ‘accidentally’ show up behind the pillow or ‘lost in the sheets.’

    Going rate at our house is $1

  81. Katherine says...

    I forgot and felt my heart sink when my son woke up and crawled into my bed saying he couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t made it. Luckily there was a big snowstorm the night before so we hatched a story. We said she was likely stuck in the next town over due to the crazy storm. Planes were delayed, highways closed, so it was totally believable. Mother nature was on my side that day!!

  82. Kay says...

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find the tooth fairy thing a little creepy? Cash for teeth seems like a spin on a Grimm fairy tale to me, and this is probably because of my eastern euro background. Growing up in Canada, my sweet new immigrant parents went along with the whole thing, but the three of us joke now that it’s kinda weird. I have two little ones now who are just growing their first sets of teeth, but am wondering if the tooth fairy tradition can be skipped at our house. Probably not, because it’s so ingrained in North American childhood! My kids will have to thank Donnie Darko for blocking that tradition for our family…

  83. dean says...

    my mom left us a $2 bill under our pillow and sprinkled a little confetti from a slightly-cracked window to our bedside. it felt SO special!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, so cute!

    • Brooke says...

      Noting this for when I become a mom someday!

  84. DM says...

    Both of our kids lost their first teeth by knocking them out (jumping on the bed and jumping on the couch). Which left me sufficiently distracted / concerned to do a pretty lame job of the tooth fairy gig. My girls are 6 and 4, and the 6yo has long since figured out that anything this inconsistent must be her real mom ;-)

  85. Julia says...

    I always set a tooth fairy alarm on my phone (for 9:30– halfway between my kids’ bedtime & my own) as soon as the tooth comes out! Parenting hack!

  86. Paula says...

    Same. Forgot once, child was super sad. Next night fairy left more money with a note about travels and being tired and apologies!

    On another note, we don’t leave anything for the kids’ teeth where I’m from, so this was a new idea for me. Since we don’t do elf on the shelf, or the advent calendar, I decided that I will do the tooth fairy since their little friends were getting money and talking about it. Upon losing the first tooth, I promptly googled fairy letters for kids and you can imagine the Pinterest rabbit hole that created but I slaved with all my glittery nail polishes, and fancy markers, and cursive writing (which I too, had to google, since I haven’t used it in 20 years). All in all, the kids were thrilled but holly cow, what a time consuming labor have I created for myself!

    • KL says...

      ugh! I made this creative mistake too!!!! And henceforth had to travel with tooth fairy supplies and when I was away for work ensure my husband had the cursive down pat. TOO. MUCH. ROOM. FOR. ERROR!!!!!

  87. Cait says...

    My oldest is due to lose her first tooth any time now, and I’m so certain I’ll forget! I think my husband will actually be better at that. I don’t think my parents every forgot! I wanted to keep all my teeth though ;)

  88. Milou says...

    It was so fun to read everyone’s stories!

    When I was 7 my tooth fell out on a Saturday night while my parents were out and my 14 year old brother was babysitting. I thought I was very clever and told him that I was going to discover if the Tooth Fairy was real because I wasn’t going to tell my parents (Ha!).

    My sweet brother put a dollar under my pillow that night and didn’t tell my parents a word. When I woke up on Sunday, my Mom immediately asked for an update on my loose tooth. When I showed her my gap, she was genuinely surprised and inquired when I lost it. I told her that it had happened the night before and the Tooth Fairy had come and left me a dollar!

    You can imagine how magical it felt the next morning when I really believed the Tooth Fairy was real AND that I had used my superior scientific skills to prove it.

    When I was a teen I asked my Mom about this and she admitted that she had no idea and that it was all my brother. Whenever I think of this story it makes me smile and feel grateful for having such a kind and thoughtful older brother.

    • lily says...

      That is so sweet! What a good big brother you have!

    • jac says...

      That is very sweet! <3

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Love this story!

    • T says...

      That is so sweet. What a loving brother.

    • mariel says...

      Aww, this warms my heart! :)

    • Kristi says...

      That is so sweet :)

    • RF says...

      This is such a sweet story, it made me tear up! Older siblings are the best :)

    • Ki says...

      Such a sweet story!

    • Meredith says...

      Milou, this made me feel so happy and so homesick at the same time – I have a similarly kind and thoughtful older brother who TOTALLY would have done the same for me. I now live very far from him, and don’t get to see him often, but he’ll be getting a grateful call tonight when I get out of work :)

  89. Lizzy says...

    One time my mom had to “chase” the Easter bunny after I woke up… right into our laundry room (which had high shelves where secrets were kept from us kids). And another time I opened my Christmas stocking to find it filled with random stuff that I had seen around the house: nail clippers, an already-opened tube of hand lotion, etc. I still love my parents!

  90. I will never forget losing my first tooth…and finding a $10 bill under my pillow the next morning! My parents, who had recently emigrated from to Canada, had no idea of the going rate as it wasn’t a tradition that they grew up with in Singapore. Needless to say, when word got back to them from other parents about the rate – they told me that it was a special gift for my first tooth and that the tooth fairy was paying me all at once for the subsequent teeth I would lose :D

  91. Melinda says...

    When I was little I found a tooth on my bedroom floor. And seeing as I was at the age of losing teeth, I assumed (and hoped!) it was one of mine that I somehow hadn’t noticed falling out (I was convinced it was a molar). I showed it to my parents and they stated that it was likely our puppy’s tooth as I was not aware puppies lose teeth just like humans. But nope, I was convinced it was mine. So my parents said “well, why don’t you leave it under your pillow and see what the tooth fairy brings.” In the morning, there was a dog treat under my pillow :) I can only hope I’ll be as creative when I’m a parent.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what funny parents!!

    • Kay says...

      LOL that is awesome

  92. Margaret says...

    I have TOTALLY been there!!! The first time it was a Sunday night/Monday morning situation, and I said that the Tooth Fairy doesn’t work on weekends. The second time the tooth had fallen out at dinner, and I said that the Tooth Fairy comes the next day if teeth fall out after 5pm! My kids seemed to buy it, but I definitely added some working mom-esque embellishment to the explanations (she’s running her own business, she has to set rules and limits so she doesn’t run herself ragged…). I agree with the commenter who said that forgetting helps teach the kids patience!

  93. Meg says...

    EVERY FREAKING TIME. When it first happened with our oldest we explained “She has so many kids each night all over the world – we must be at the end of her route! Let’s give her a little extra time this morning by having breakfast and then see if she comes.” It was the best story because then our oldest would tell her younger siblings, “Don’t worry if she didn’t come in the morning – she’s tired and we’re her last stop. Be patient and she’ll come through!” Kids are the best even when we’re the worst haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwwwww :) :) :)

  94. Jessica says...

    My son lost his tooth at his school playground and he was so worried going to sleep that the tooth fairy would not come if there was not an actual tooth. When I went to put a dollar under his pillow, I found a little map he drew of the playground where he thought his tooth would be so she could collect it. I loved it! The next morning, we imagined her looking around his school for his tooth and finding it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what an adorable story :) :) :)

    • Kelli says...

      When I taught first grade, I had a student come in from recess in tears. Her tooth fell out on the playground and she was so worried the tooth fairy would come. So we make an attempt to find it with know lucky. I wrote a letter to the tooth fairy letting her know what happened and the location of the playground. Sure enough the next morning she walked into class with her big toothless smile telling me the tooth fairy found the tooth and left her a dollar.

  95. Amanda says...

    Apparently I was a late tooth bloomer, because I didn’t lose my first tooth until I was 9…. I’m the oldest of 6 and apparently my parents figured they needed to set the bar low because I received a quarter under my pillow that night. When I found out that one particular friend (whose parents were, frankly, rich) received a twenty every time she lost a tooth, I realized then and there that (unlike Santa!) the Tooth Fairy could NOT be real because that kind of inequity sounded more like my frugal parents than a magical being LOL :)

  96. Gill F. says...

    As a single mom to 4 kids, I don’t know how my mom remembered to always put money underneath our pillow, but I never remember her forgetting. She did start a tradition that was a tad tough to keep up with though. After tooth one or two, I started writing long letters to the tooth fairy and leaving them with my teeth. I asked her what she did with the teeth and how she got into my house and where she lived and what she liked to do for fun and if she had any pets and on and on. And I expected her to answer (of course!), so she recruited my older brother to write back to me. I always received these magically detailed letters along with my quarter. But that meant when my mom forgot the money she couldn’t just grab a quarter at midnight and rush into my room. She had to shake a groggy teenager up and hand him a pad of paper and a pencil too! I like to imagine them sitting at the kitchen table together, eating snacks to stay awake, brainstorming answers to my pressing questions. I thank my mom and brother for keeping the magic alive :)

    • Ashley says...

      I love this. What a sweet big brother to write the letters AND keep the secret. I hope my boys are that sweet as teens.

  97. Kate says...

    My cousin is a flight attendant for Virgin. On one flight a little girl had a meltdown because she just lost a tooth and didn’t think the tooth fairy would visit on vacation. My cousin was quick to think on the fly – she gathered all the details from the little girl and pretended to call the tooth fairy from the in-flight service phone – so sweet! Crisis averted!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so cute!!!

  98. Martha says...

    I can still remember how AWFUL I felt the couple of times I woke up and realized I had forgotten!! Once, we realized the gift was simply “misplaced” or got knocked under the bed due to a restless sleep. Another time the Tooth Fairy left a very apologetic (and glittery) note the next night along with their little gift. Luckily, my kids are forgiving (probably as a result of having a mama like me)!

  99. erin says...

    Also guilty! I will never forget the look on my son’s face when he woke me up to say the tooth fairy didn’t come. I told him we would just try again. After he fell asleep that night, I wrote a note in teeny print and left it with the money under his pillow. The tooth fairy explained that there were SO MANY lost teeth for her to collect that night and by the time she made it to his pillow, he was starting to wake up. Rather than get caught, she decided to come back right as he fell asleep the next night. I was so bummed when it happened, but now when any mother I know expresses guilt about something, I joke about dropping the tooth fairy ball.

  100. Elizabeth says...

    My mother was a single woman with a full time job and night school, so she often forgot the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, etc. My older sister and I would distract my baby brother while she ran around putting out Easter baskets and elaborate treasure hunts with clues she had come up with, but forgot to leave out. One time she forgot the tooth fairy, and sent a small floral arrangement to school in a ceramic frog! Getting a delivery at school in front of everyone was such a thrill, and I can still (30 years later) remember exactly what that frog and flowers looked like!

  101. Kerry says...

    I did the same thing with my 8yo last week and in the heat of the moment, I blew the lid off the whole shebang.

    “I’m sorry to tell you that the Tooth Fairy was me the entire time.”
    “… wait… YOU’RE the Tooth Fairy? Does anyone else know this?!”

    So I explained that the Tooth Fairy AND the Easter Bunny (because at this point, what the hell) were actually just parents pretending. But I confirmed wholeheartedly that the magic of Santa Claus is totally, 100% real. Because that’s a fact.

    • Maggie says...

      LOL! This!

    • KAtherine says...

      “wait….YOU’RE the Tooth Fairy? Does anyone else know this?”…………oh my gosh! That is funny and sweet beyond words.

    • Meg says...

      A bona fide fact indeed! Good job mama… nailed it. :)

  102. Caity says...

    We have forgotten a few times (we have 4 children), we just helped them find the money. Works every time.

  103. Kelly says...

    I have done this many times with my, poor, third child. What happened was that he must have knocked the tooth fairy’s money on the floor while he was rolling around in bed. I grab a dollar on the way into the bedroom and “find” it for him under the bed.

  104. This happened to me a few months back. After my daughter said the tooth fairy didn’t come, I told her, “well she probably took one look at that dirty room and didn’t think she could maneuver through to your pillow!” So that day she cleaned her room spic and span and the tooth fairy came that night with money and a special note (in tooth fairy letterhead, of course), thanking her for cleaning her room so she could find the pillow! Win for mom and win for kid!

  105. When I lost teeth as a child I had a special pillow that hung on the hall-side door knob to my bedroom door that I would put my tooth into before falling asleep. My parents said that it was so the tooth fairy wouldn’t wake me. Now I know it’s so they wouldn’t forget to slip some dollar bills in before going to sleep across the hall!

  106. Emily says...

    We’re a few years away from the reeth-losing years with our kids and I’m not sure I want to participate. Our older daughter (4) knows that Santa, Easter bunny, etc symbolize the spirit of the holiday but are not real. We dont do elf on the shelf. I promise we are not holiday party-poopers! But I dont like decieving my kids.

    I’m curious as to others thoughts on this…

    • Jessica says...

      I’m pretty sure I always knew each character was my parents (they also didn’t buy into the whole thing) and I still really loved holidays. The only downside I remember was being chided once for arguing about it with a schoolmate (who did believe)…

    • Elizabeth says...

      I grew up without Santa/tooth fairy/Easter bunny for religious reasons but my parents were still over the top with holidays. We talked a lot about where legends come from, why some families might do that (and how it was important to respect their traditions), and we certainly didn’t miss out because my parents LOVED celebrating. We got the same things, except we knew from the start all gifts were from mom and dad, money for lost teeth from mom and dad (they just handed it to us, no hiding…), Easter egg hunt was hidden by mom and dad, candy in stockings on St. Nicks were from them…and so on.

      I don’t feel like we were any worse for the wear by not having Santa and the Easter Bunny and we certainly didn’t feel deprived during the holidays or when we lost teeth because we received as much, if not more, than our peers got. We just knew mom and dad were the ones in charge of these traditions.

    • liz says...

      Reading all these sweet stories gives another perspective on the concern about deceiving children. No one here seems to have been hurt by the tooth fairy myth. Life seems hard enough without removing all the mystery and magic. At the same time, if elves or fairies aren’t your thing, don’t do them, find your own whimsical and magical traditions .

    • Amanda says...

      I’ve gone back and forth on how we will handle holiday/pretend characters with my daughter (1) because I prefer to celebrate what the holiday season is about. After becoming a parent, I’ve noticed that my cousins’ and sister’s kids want to morph into tiny adults so quickly; it makes we want to maintain some wonder and excitement for my daughter as long as I can. I used to view it as lying or silly, but now I wonder if it’s just the same as other imaginative play and fun stories. As a very pragmatic child I knew my parents were Santa very early on, yet, I kind of liked the idea of them scheming and planning it together trying to make it special for us… and undoubtedly enjoying it too. However, I’ll probably use the tooth fairy to teach some financial lessons on handling money though so how’s that for childlike whimsy …

  107. Diana says...

    Yes I did forget the tooth fairy once; don’t be so hard on yourself;
    My kids are very happy and productive adults! Actually a little disappointment occasionally is good for children. You are a wonderful Mom.

  108. Mine haven’t lost teeth yet- my son is 5 and I don’t think he even has a loose one- but I am 100% positive I will forget at one time or another.

    I love how Toby is balling up his fists in the photo. I do this all the time, and have to consciously remind myself “relax your hands, relax your hands!” It’s much cuter on him :)

  109. Lindsay says...

    Of course! I typically say Ohhh no I guess her bag was so full of teeth already she had to fly home!

    I feel your pain!

  110. Jess says...

    When my son, Atticus, lost his first tooth he left the tooth fairy a note.
    Dear Tooth Fairy:
    Do not take my tooth. Also, leave me a present.
    Leave me…..
    5 of $1
    1 of $5
    Also, give me a silver and bronze coin, not a chocolate coin.
    Love, Atticus

  111. GIRLLLLLLL you are not alone! I’m actually amazed with myself at how many on the spot excuses I’ve come up with…with impeccable acting skills, I might add. Such stories have included how there were probably too many kids who lost teeth that day and she couldn’t make it so we will try again tonight. The overworked fairy once also forgot that we moved so we will pray tonight that God will remind her where we live now. We’ve also managed to pull off hiding a bunch of quarters in a corner with glitter on them (because we couldn’t find a dollar bill anywhere) and explaining that sometimes the tooth fairy hides the money in their room like a treasure hunt. Somehow we’ve kept it alive all these years! The younger ones haven’t thought twice about it but the ten year old is getting suspicious.

  112. Alexan B. says...

    I once lost a tooth at my great-grandma’s house and, being the ever practical woman she was, I woke up with a new jumbo, big-button calculator under my pillow. For a bookish seven-year-old I felt truly understood by the Tooth Fairy but looking back I realize what an odd gift that was!

    • Sam says...

      That’s awesome ;-)

  113. Alma says...

    Every time I hear these tooth fairy horror stories, I laugh. My oldest son started losing his teeth late. Like, end of first grade, after the teacher had already taken down the lost tooth chart, late. I suppose this delay allowed him to really mull over the concept of the Tooth Fairy. When it finally happened, he surprised everyone by refusing to give his tooth to the Tooth Fairy. When asked why, he very matter of factly explained, “Why exactly does the Tooth Fairy want all these teeth? What does she do with them? I don’t trust it. She’s not getting mine.” When we tried to woo him with money, he calmly responded that he didn’t need the money. So, instead, I ordered a small wooden box on Amazon for baby teeth (yes, it’s a thing), and my son keeps every single lost tooth in there. It’s all at once gross and hilarious. I just hope he’s always so steadfast with his principles!

    • Amanda says...

      “Why exactly does the Tooth Fairy want all these teeth? What does she do with them? I don’t trust it. She’s not getting mine.” I love this!!

  114. Mak says...

    My child wakes up far too easily, especially when awaiting an exciting event ( a trip, Santa, a relative visiting, etc…)
    So I knew this was the case when thinking about how to get into her room and anywhere near the pillow. (Also the idea of someone else, in addition to Santa, sneaks into our house was a bit creepy to her anyways) SO…we have a Tooth Jar that is a little baby food jar that my daughter decorated with her name on it. It sits on the dining room table once she places the tooth in it. It is in plain sight for me–so once she is off to bed I am likely to pass it at least 10 times and at some point will drop some money in before she wakes up, or get to it before her in the AM if I DO forget!!
    It also got around the ‘how does a fairy get into my room’ and all those kind of questions.

  115. K says...

    In the days of instant gratification, I think a missing tooth fairy is an opportunity to teach patience – a win for all the moms and dads who occasionally forget!

  116. Mina says...

    You have to listen to the episode of This American Life where a girl’s friend tills her she caught her dad doing the tooth fairy’s job, and the little girl jumps to the conclusion that her friend’s dad IS the tooth fairy, like as a night job. So great!

    Here in Sweden kids leave their tooth in a glass of water and find the money there in the morning. Somehow this makes it easier to remember since I can just prep a glass with the money and make the switch as soon as they’re asleep. BUT we have no use for cash in Stockholm, so we are forever having to rush out to get cash after bedtime. Sometimes this has resulted in the tooth fairy having to leave 100 crowns (12ish USD) because it’s all we had…

    My 7-yr old says a kid in the second grade got 500 crowns when he left the tooth under the rug. I’d love to hear that child’s parents tell the back story on that situation!

    • Eloise says...

      I grew up in New Jersey (and my parents aren’t Swedish) but always left my tooth in a glass of water as well. This is the first I’ve ever heard of anyone else doing this. Thanks for the smile!

    • ClareV says...

      Same in Australia. It especially helped the year my mother dropped my tooth down the sink and then had to replace it with a piece of onion. The water had the distorting effect as desired!

  117. Nancy says...

    The tooth fairy is very bad at remembering our house. To help her “find her way,” our kids started leaving a camping lantern turned on in the hall and a sign on the bedroom door. Unfortunately for them, the tooth fairy sometimes needs 24 hours notice to get a $1 bill!

  118. Carrie says...

    Children are so precious. I can’t wait to have problems like this….forgetting to play the part of the tooth fairy :) It sounds wonderful.

  119. amanda says...

    My mom always remembered and I always got 25 cents. :)

  120. Julie says...

    My mom really got into the tooth fairy, she sprinkled fairy dust on our window sills and left us letters. But my favorite part wasn’t the $1 we got, but the book the tooth fairy left. Bless her heart for having hidden books for us in case of a missing tooth! I remember getting so excited for the next book the tooth fairy would leave me!

  121. Katie says...

    My son got upset because he wanted to keep his tooth, but he wanted the money, too. He was already wondering if there was a tooth fairy, thinking it was implausible, and I hurt me to think that I was telling him a lie and stealing his tooth for the sake of something he wasn’t sure he believed in. In the end, we told him the truth and gave him the money anyway. I hope that he’ll remember us being open and honest with him and weigh that as more important than manufactured magic for the sake of a stereotypical childhood. Not sure if we made the right call or not, though, since magic is so important to childhood.

  122. Sam says...

    My parents did this all the time. It was the less egregious thing they forgot- they regularly forgot to come get me from school trips and the like which was far more annoying and frustrating. Forgetting the tooth fairy is hardly the worst- they’ll get over it and won’t remember either. Just remember to come get them from school trips and they’ll be ok.

  123. Jamie says...

    I’m so grateful the tooth fairy gave $2. I know a tooth fairy or two who have given $20. It’s very frustrating to try and keep up with these unsustainable tooth fairies out there. :/

    • Sam says...

      Totally agree! Our tooth fairy is more thrifty ;-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we sometimes leave 2 quarters and 8 M&Ms, and it’s met with total joy haha. i think the M&Ms (before breakfast!!!) have ended up being met with more excitement than the money! :)

  124. Hilary says...

    For some odd reason I continued the tradition of my mother by keeping my oldest daughter’s teeth in a little container on my dresser. Helping me clean one day my daughters discovered the stash of teeth. Lots of creative explaining on my part helped ease the confusion but when I was picking up my younger daughter at school the next day I was informed by her teacher the jig was up and she had told her class I was the tooth fairy. For the class of K4 kids that year I was their favorite parent helper.

    • Paula says...

      lol! oh boy. I better hide the “tooth” stash in my dresser in a better place.

  125. Kate says...

    OMG I have 3 kids and have done it to all of them. This is when the slight of hand comes in handy. I have always managed to secretly place the $ or gift in between the mattress and headboard and just told the kids, you probably didn’t look hard enough. Worked every time.

    • Peg says...

      This. I only have one child and managed to have to go this route multiple times. :-o

  126. Nickie says...

    I don’t have to worry about that because my daughter insist on keeping her teeth. (forehead slap). She got braces early so we even have a few with braces on them. She keeps EVERYTHING! Does anyone have THAT parenting problem???

  127. Eliza says...

    Yes, been there and done that! I told my son that the tooth fairy had run out of the fairy dust she needed to fly and had to make a “pit stop” for a fill up. She came the next night and brought extra goodies, and he was fine with it. :-)

  128. Michele F says...

    I said,”maybe it fell under the bed?” We’d look and with a little slight of hand, the money would be found!

  129. Veronica says...

    When I was at the age when I was beginning to wonder about the truth behind the tooth fairy and Easter bunny (funnily enough, I NEVER questioned Santa Claus), I started putting my teeth under my pillow without telling my mother I had lost the tooth. When the tooth fairy never stopped by if I hadn’t previously conferred with my mother, I figured out the truth, but, because I shared a bed with my younger sister, I continued to get my day late visits from the tooth fairy for a couple more years.

  130. Our tooth fairy tradition was to leave a little gift — and once we were on vacation, camping somewhere remote, when suddenly we had a situation. I drove for miles til I found a craft fair on a country road. I told all my friends— money. Money is the way to go!

  131. Rachel says...

    Oh, yes! I’ve forgotten at least twice. Luckily we live in France, where people take vacation seriously: I told my daughter that the tooth fairy was still on break and would come in a couple of days. No questions asked.

  132. Lena says...

    Yep. Guilty.

    The toothfairy forgot to visit my son this past year (same age as Toby). It was a night that my son had been up and out of his bed at least a dozen times just because, well no good reason really. Bedtime with my boys has always been like that and it’s exhausting.

    So when my son told me he was bummed about the toothfairy not visiting, I told him she tried, but he kept getting up and she had to move on to houses with sleeping kids where she could slip in and out unnoticed.

    Fortunately, the toothfairy was able to visit the next night, cause you know my son got himself in bed and stayed there with all the newfound incentive. :)

  133. LeighTX says...

    I *never* remembered. Our tooth fairy was consistently several days late, but she paid well.

  134. Once I couldn’t find the tooth! Did it slip out from under the pillow? Was my daughter trying to catch me in a lie? Was it under a stuffed animal? I wrote a note from the Tooth Fairy saying she couldn’t find the tooth, but decided to leave the money in good faith.

  135. Tami says...

    This made me laugh out loud Joanna….I’m not sure which is worse, completely forgetting to put the dollar under his pillow or waking up in a PANIC at 3am, realizing you’ve forgotten and reluctantly use the only thing you’ve got in your wallet – a $20!
    Now our kid tells anyone who will listen how much he got and I basically get a look of disgust from everyone that he tells.
    Good times! #nogoingbackfromthe20

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahahaha that hashtag! laughing out loud.

    • Alice says...

      My mom did something similar! My little brother came into the kitchen upset that the tooth fairy forgot. I already knew she didn’t exist and started talking to him about it as a distraction while my mom went to put money under his pillow. She usually gave one dollar, but she didn’t have any this time. She thought she had given a five dollar bill when really she left 20! My brother was estatic when I went to double check with him and I was so mad at my mom because I never got that much and didn’t even get a little kick back for helping resolve the situation haha.

    • Natasha says...

      Haha. We almost always get caught off guard. Hence teeth are paid for interest.

    • Emma says...

      Lol, Tami, I just posted, but this was my mom’s strategy every time… she ALWAYS forgot and never had change, ,so I always got 20s, in the 90s!- I had a little hustle going with the tooth fairy!

  136. Sarah says...

    I lost my first tooth when I was little and my mom didn’t have any cash. She waited for my dad to get home with cash to leave me $1 for my tooth. It was really late and dark in my room and my dad left $20 by accident. I woke up the next morning ecstatic about what the tooth fairy left me. My mother was furious and told me that I must have gotten more for my first tooth. I went to school and told everyone about the first tooth bonus and my mother received angry calls from parents for WEEKS about how their kids were expecting $20 now. It wasn’t malicious, it was just an overworked, sleepy dad.

  137. Jen says...

    I did this all the time. I just told my kids, the tooth fairy is very busy so you have to wait like 2-3 days.

  138. Kit says...

    Hehe, oh Toby. My parents totally forgot once. But at that point, the jig was up – I’d woken years earlier when my mom slipped into my room, so I already knew she was the tooth fairy (though I didn’t have the heart to break it to her and kept playing along). Later, when they forgot, I hatched a plan to get back at them. I came downstairs wide-eyed and told them the tooth fairy had brought me a necklace! I’d grabbed a random necklace from the bottom of my jewelry box I didn’t think they’d recognize. I remember thinking: Aha! *I* will trick *THEM* into believing in the tooth fairy! I don’t think it made as big an impression as I was hoping ;)

  139. selby says...

    a couple tooth fairy stories from my childhood:
    near the end of my tooth fairy years, my mom was traveling for work and my dad forgot. in the morning, a similar thing happened, i told my dad how the tooth fairy didn’t come, went to the bathroom, and when i got back to my bedroom, she had miraculously delivered my silver dollar (which is what the tooth fairy normally gave me). that combined with seeing my mom’s cursive (which she used for the tooth fairy notes) helped me figure out what was going on.
    also, i always tried to wait for my teeth to come out for when we would visit my grandparents in chicago. the chicago tooth fairy gave me $5 instead of $1! i have no idea how that plan was hatched but it’s pretty funny looking back on it.

  140. Heidi says...

    My daughter’s fifth birthday was this past weekend, and we hired a woman dressed as Princess Elsa to come to the party, and I made everyone swear to secrecy not to spill the beans. We were setting up the party snacks and I said “that’s the chair where Elsa will sit” and my husband gave me the eyes like “YOU OF ALL PEOPLE.” Oh man. Recovered it pretty well though… I said ” YES! That chair is for ELSIE, ELSIE! (my daughter’s name) She can sit there while she opens her presents!” Luckily she didn’t catch on. Phew.

  141. Jamie says...

    YESSS!!!!! Tooth Fairy fails – and Santa fails too. The note that was supposed to mailed to the big guy was found by my son (but we spun a yarn about how Santa went digital and it was emailed). I have to say while I loved the stage of kids believing in tooth fairy and Santa, I am relieved to not have the pressure of being an imaginary character in addition to mom, wife, friend, worker, daughter…I wear enough hats. Thank goodness my kids missed elf on the shelf phase!

  142. Samantha says...

    This is too funny! My mom was a single parent and with that there were a few times the tooth fairy did not leave me something under my pillow. The first time she didn’t come in the night I cried and cried. I was dramatic even then. My mom explained to me that the tooth fairy was a very busy working woman with millions of children losing teeth daily. She assured me I had not been forgotten, and soothed me in the way only my mama could.

    The next day I got a letter in the mail with a crisp 2$ bill (I loved them), along with a typed note of apology and a tooth fairy business card. My mom actually had them printed at work! They were pink and contained all her information in case I needed to get in touch with her.

    My mom admits today that she cried on her way to work because of forgetting about my tooth. But I loved my letter and business card! I kept it for years! Makes me tear up thinking of my mom in the middle of her work day printing pink tooth fairy business cards!

    • What a sweet and kind Mom you have :-)

    • Danielle Marks says...

      This is so sweet!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i’m tearing up, samantha. what a sweet story and sweet mama/daughter. xoxo

    • Tonya says...

      What a wonderful story! I often comfort myself when I mess up parenting that it can lead to something even more memorable for the kids. I once missed my daughter’s theater performance because of a train delay, and then really knocked myself out to make it up once I finally arrived (ice cream! pedicures! bookstore!) and she still says that ended up being the greatest day of her life.:)

    • Alison says...

      well this made me teary-eyed! <3

  143. Frances ELeanor says...

    Love it!

  144. Natasha Ayers says...

    Way too many times I’ve been guilty of this one! :)

  145. If the TF ‘forgets’ I usually say it’s because she only delivers to tidy rooms. I have run out to the kitchen SUPER early and put a dollar on the fridge with a note a couple of times.

  146. Natasha says...

    My parents left me two dollars for the first two teeth I lost and claimed the tooth fairy only came once! 10 years later, my little sister had four teeth lost at once and got TWENTY DOLLARS! and then she got five dollars for her second set of teeth!! my complaint to the tooth fairy went unanswered, but i learned a solid lesson about inflation and sibling injustice…

    • Samantha says...

      This comment made me laugh so hard!

    • Elizabeth says...

      My parents had a standard rate of $5.00 per tooth and my mom said she and my dad kept an envelope of 5 dollar bills in a cubby in their bill paying desk that was never-to-be-touched in case of a tooth falling out. She had forgotten about the envelope but years later after we were done loosing our tooth she found the tooth money envelope again and used it to take herself out for a mani pedi as a reward for surviving the tooth loosing stage.

  147. Kelly says...

    haha i’ve lived that life! also with the blasted Elf on a Shelf at christmas…moving that little minx every night is TOUGH to remember. then (if I’m lucky) I bolt awake at some awful hour in the middle of the night and have to leave my bed and think of creative places to leave the Elf. If I don’t do that, then I’m making up creative excuses the next am.

  148. Samantha Blackmer says...

    Oh totally been there, done that!! I’ve slipped into the kids rooms and placed the loot inside their pillowcase once or twice and another time, placed it under their bed, as if it feel between the bed frame and the mattress. Whew!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      smart!!!!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Same! We also said once that she must have gotten the lost tooth notification late so will most likely come tonight….yikes. That moment of groggy sleep to shattered childhood dreams is harsh! Quick thinking prevails!

  149. Jill says...

    Guilty! Our tooth fairy left a note the next night explaining that she was on vacation in Timbuktu and couldn’t make it back on time but that my son was the lucky recipient of a vacation bonus ($5 instead of $1). Now my kids hope that the tooth fairy is on vacation when they lose a tooth so they can get a bonus!