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Matching Wits with the Tooth Fairy: My Daughter's Sneaky Search for the Truth

When my husband and I got a Tooth Fairy pillow to hang on the outside of our kid’s door, we thought we were being terribly clever in helping the Tooth Fairy escape detection. But we hadn’t counted on our 10-year-old daughter’s (obviously inherited) smarts. What she didn’t expect, in turn, however, was for the Tooth Fairy to match wits with her!

When Ms. Sherlock started getting suspicious of the Tooth Fairy, she asked us some sneaky questions to try to uncover the truth about the Tooth Fairy’s existence. One such leading question was, “So, where do you keep the teeth?” We played it cool and told her that only the Tooth Fairy could answer that one.

Her next question: “Why do I get one dollar when some other kids get five?” “Different neighborhoods,” I told her. “But some of the kids are on the same street!” she retorted. We’ve been dodging this, but the best line comes from one of our friends: “The Tooth Fairy is random.”

During one loose tooth period, our daughter confessed that she had tried to take her tooth out at night. Her plan was to take her Tooth Fairy pillow, put it on the inside of the door, and hide the tooth inside, unbeknownst to her parents. I simply warned her that the Tooth Fairy knows everything.

When that tooth finally did come out, Ms. Sherlock left a note with it, which said: “Tooth Fairy, can you please draw a picture of yourself and write a note for me by hand? I am taking a quiz, and it rates you on your drawing and your handwriting…”

The Tooth Fairy, however, was not deterred, and produced both a crude drawing and a handwritten note with the requisite dollar. (Rumor has it that the Fairy may have had to get some advice via Facebook on how to accomplish such a task.)

The next morning, she asked how the Tooth Fairy knew this particular tooth was difficult — something that had been mentioned in said handwritten note. “The Tooth Fairy knows everything!” I reminded her.

But then the next tooth became loose, and Ms. Sherlock resumed her efforts. She pulled the tooth out herself, and left a note: “Instead of $1, can I have $10 because I pulled my own tooth out?” She received a note from the Tooth Fairy that congratulated her and blamed the bad economy. She was generously allowed to keep the tooth.

The next morning, our daughter came into our room with a note printed in a fancy font and cut with a crimping scissors that looked suspiciously like one from her scrap-booking kit. It read: “Too bad! We can’t find your tooth so you get a dollar! Love, the Tooth Fairy.” “Who is this ‘we’?” she asked. I told her I knew that wasn’t the real Tooth Fairy note, because we had looked in the pillow and seen the actual note. Good try, though, no?

Her sleuthing methods got sneakier. She took to asking my husband and I the same questions separately. “If I put my tooth in the Tooth Fairy pillow last night, why didn’t the Tooth Fairy come?” That’s right — the tooth she was allowed to keep was now being used as bait. My response was that the Tooth Fairy had already come, which, thankfully, was similar to my husband’s answer. He told her that the Tooth Fairy only comes once. And again, we both had the standby response: “The Tooth Fairy knows everything!”

Recently, Ms. Sherlock pulled out another tooth by herself, and didn’t tell us, even though it “bled a lot.” She revealed the new gap to us the next morning and asked, “So why didn’t the Tooth Fairy come?” I didn’t have a good answer and neither did my husband, but we eventually distracted her by getting on her case for not telling us about the bleeding.

The next day, the following letter appeared in our mailbox:

The return address label said: Quality Assurance Department, Form 10-V, English. In lieu of a stamp, a label that said, “Presorted First Class Mail Postage Paid.”

Ms. Sherlock looked guilty as she started reading the letter. Then she immediately doubted its veracity, because her name wasn’t written out. I took the letter, looked at it, and explained why handwriting wasn’t required. “I bet Dad did this,” she said. After the whole exchange, she promptly put it … in the recycling bin. At least she was green!

Now she has two more loose teeth. Everyone knows what’s really going on but she’s learning valuable skills. A part of me is also sentimental. I fondly recall the very first visit from the Tooth Fairy, who left footprints in pixie dust (that smelled a lot like baby powder). Where is that sweet, wild-eyed awe? Is her childhood coming to an end?

At least our son hasn’t lost any teeth yet. The question is, when the time comes, will he ally with his sister — or with the Tooth Fairy?

— Lisa A. Goldstein

About the author: Lisa A. Goldstein is a freelance journalist with a MJ from UC Berkeley, or as her son says, “She works on Facebook.” She is also bionic, but at a far lower price than six million dollars. In her spare time, she runs interference for the Tooth Fairy.

More on Babble: A Pearly Price — The Tooth Fairy’s going rate

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