Erica Gourley is a mother, teacher, aspiring author, and poet of misfortune.
The Tooth Fairy Forgot to Come—What Should I Do?
Two days ago, my eight-year-old daughter lost a tooth at school. It was not the first tooth she'd ever lost, nor was it the first time she lost a tooth at school. Last year, one of the first-grade teachers pulled two of her teeth for her, and two days ago, that same teacher pulled a third.
My daughter's "act of bravery" was witnessed by a classroom full of first-graders, and as a result, she instantly gained "near famous" status among her second-grade peers. To add to the effect, the teacher held the tooth up in front of her entire class and said (and I quote my child's retelling of the event),
"Behold . . . the first tooth of the new school year!"
After school, she eagerly pattered about in preparation for the visit from the tooth-toting fairy. She made a nice resting place out of a tissue and cotton ball, filled a coffee mug with water in case the fairy wanted to swim, and left a healthy snack for her fairy to munch on in case her energy needed to be revamped. Finally, she placed all of those things on a nightstand next to her bedroom door with an envelope containing the precious tooth.
When the Inexcusable Happens: The Tooth Fairy Didn't Come
After I kissed her goodnight, I decided I'd give her half an hour to fall asleep before I made my mad dash for the tooth. However, about five minutes into my countdown to action, I plopped down on my bed and . . . I fell asleep. I didn't make it to the thirty-minute mark, nor did I wake up in the middle of the night to ensure I took care of my tooth fairy duty. I slept straight through the night.
I have never, ever done something so irresponsible!
When I woke up around 6:00 yesterday morning, I groggily took my spot at the kitchen table to drink my coffee. Within fifteen minutes of taking my first sip, my silent morning ritual was brought to a screaming halt.
"The Tooth Fairy did not come! She didn't take the tooth or leave money!" My child bawled to me as she ran, tears flying, down the hall.
Instantly, I began chastising myself, silently ranting a plethora of explicit curses regarding my inept parenting. Then, my mind went into overdrive as my heart broke with my child's tears of disappointment. I knew I had to do something immediately. What was I to do?
"Mother's intuition, don't fail me now!" I pleaded to the greater goddess of all maternal instinct (in times like these, I like to think she exists), and this is what I did (and you can too).
Step One: Distract Your Child and God Speed Ahead
I assured my daughter that there were only two possible excuses; either the Tooth Fairy came while she was still awake and she was scared to go for the tooth, or one of our four pets could have scared her away.
Either way, I told her, I was sure the Tooth Fairy would be back that night, and we would be prepared the second time around. I have to be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do to rectify the forgetful fairy mishap, but I did know that I needed to do something to distract her so I could come up with (AND PULL OFF) a plan. So,
- I told her to lie in her bed and rest while I fixed breakfast.
- Once she was preoccupied, I found a random glitter crayon in my office and began writing. The note read (in a very creative spirally manuscript I have to add) something to the effect of, "I saw your dog- it barked and scared me. Here is the money I was going to leave you for the tooth. Can you have the tooth ready for me tonight? Is your dog nice? Love, TF"
- Once the note was complete, I placed a few dollar bills inside of it and folded it neatly.
- I taped the letter to my front door.
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Step Two: Set the Scene and Stretch the Truth
This step involved some impromptu storytelling on my part. I told her I had been researching the Tooth Fairy, and I had found out some reasons why her visits may be delayed. Sometimes she has to come another night for reasons such as:
- Running out of room in her bag (or ran out of goodies to leave for the goods).
- A child still being awake when she came for the tooth.
- She was startled by a parent, sibling, or pet.
I used the daunting pet excuse because it was the easiest for me to explain, and it was the most believable. I also added that some websites said sometimes the Tooth Fairy leaves a note somewhere around the house explaining why she left before getting the tooth.
And, in some rare circumstances (only when a tooth is in pristine condition and Tooth Land wants it badly), she has been known to leave a note OUTSIDE of the house because she was too afraid to even attempt to come inside to make sure the child takes care of the tooth until she comes back for it.
Step Three: Trick Your Child Happy and Pat Yourself on the Back
As I had anticipated, my daughter was certain her situation fell under the pristine tooth scenario. Her tooth was perfect. Not only was it clean, it "didn't even have some of the roots left on it" like so and so in her class did on her tooth. Since the tooth was still on the nightstand in the envelope labeled "TOOTH," she didn't bother looking around inside of the house. She ran, pajama-clad, straight to the mailbox.
When she found nothing in the mailbox, she stood crying in the middle of the driveway. I threw my hands up in dismay and claimed I didn't understand what was going on with that darn fairy. At that moment, I went all or nothing with the final SHABANG!
"What's that?" I pointed toward the front door.
She ran for the note, pulled it off of the window, and grabbed the money without unfolding the paper. Cash in hand as evidence, she yelled, "It's from the Tooth Fairy," before she read the note.
"Who else would leave cash in a note taped to our door?" she asked.
I smiled. I had pulled it off. Whew! (And remember . . . so can you!)
Step Four: Optional Yet Highly Recommended
While she was at school, I did a few more things to solidify the credibility of my “research” findings, and I created further evidence.
- The Tooth Fairy left a second note while we were away during the day. It read, “Dog was nice, thanks for the treat!” (Your child’s note should address whatever off-the-cuff idea you so cleverly came up with on the fly.)
- I removed the tooth envelope (and tooth) from her bedroom. Poof! Gone.
- I sprinkled glitter all over the area where the tooth was located. (For those cleaning-conscious parents, as you already know, glitter is messy. My advice to you? Get creative! Foil string remnants of fairy hair, perhaps?)
- I left a sweet treat- a Hershey’s Kiss. (The rest of those baby teeth are going to fall out one way or another. Give your kid some candy!)
When my baby girl returned from school, she was thrilled to find evidence of a fairy visit all around her room. I have to admit (with a big smile on my face), I was very impressed with what this momma pulled off. My baby girl was happy—and I felt good!
Guilt-Free Parent + Happy Child = Peace of Mind
Isn’t that what parenting is all about? A happy child, a guilt-free conscience, and peace of mind. Oh, the little things in life!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Meep on July 19, 2020:
I lost a tooth 2 days ago and she toke my tooth but no money I looked all around the house for money but none.
briamax on July 07, 2020:
We lost tooth she didn’t come maybe because she might wake up when she puts The Tooney
under her pillow instead of the tooth
Gianna on June 09, 2020:
I lost a tooth two days ago and she did not come today or yesterday.
Veera Patel on May 28, 2020:
I am a child I lost one of my tooth on Wednesday but the tooth fairy didn't came
Devianna on May 13, 2020:
I lost a silver tooth but the Tooth Fairy didn't come
Tia on January 27, 2020:
I lost my tooth and the tooth fairy didn’t come
Andrew on January 06, 2020:
I just got my tooth pulled an the tooth fairy gave me nothing an I am a child
Simone on November 24, 2019:
I am a child and my tooth fell out on Friday but the tooth fairy didn’t come.
Leo on April 28, 2019:
My parents forget to put it under my sister bed should I try to play rescue and throw money under there or like watch the show
nina on April 03, 2019:
My daughter losted her tooth at school and it happened yesterday . At the morning there still was the tooth and her note.
Erica on November 20, 2018:
Erica your daughter was so sad because this morning mine did not come to!! SO SORRY FOR YOU !!!
Ny'asia on August 24, 2018:
I'm a child my tooth fell out yesterday
Giraffe on May 17, 2018:
I lost my tooth about a week ago (a week ago!) (I'm 14, I know, it's late) and my mom completely forgot about it. Yep. Tooth sitting there for a week. Then I took all my sheets and covers off and didn't realize it was still there and... it's long gone. I'm not sure if I should tell them or not but I think I'm just going to stay put and pray they forget about me. Wish me luck.
Frog on April 30, 2018:
It's been about four days and yet still the tooth fairy hasn't payed me a visit
Bridget on February 17, 2018:
I lost my tooth On Monday and it's Saturday right now and the tooth fairy hasn't come yet so that means I lost my tooth about a week ago and there's no money under my pillow and my tooth is still under my pillow. :(
Mary on August 25, 2017:
My daughter didn't get money so thanks for it
M&M's Mom on February 04, 2017:
I just woke at 6...just like you....On my way down for my coffee....it hit me....I fell asleep on the sofa and went straight up for bed. She will be devestated. Thank you for step 4...I will go with this. But what happened to step 3? LoL
Zara on April 26, 2016:
Good thinking thanks for sharing.
brooke on December 09, 2015:
I have a little girl and she didnt get any money
Erica Gourley (author) from USA on August 28, 2012:
Thank you! I have vivid memories of the Tooth Fairy leaving change under my pillow and waking up so excited to see if she replied to my note. This is a tradition that has brought me as much joy as a parent as it did as a child. Thanks for sharing!
aykianink on August 28, 2012:
Very rarely do I click on all the options. But this really was useful, funny, awesome, beautiful, and interesting. I grew in a home without a tooth fairy, so I highly, highly support this article. Thumbs up, Look:-)
Erica Gourley (author) from USA on August 27, 2012:
Thank you to both of you! Time flies that is for sure. My goal is to capture those fleeting moments in writing so my daughter can see them from my adult perspective in the years to come.
bonnie on August 25, 2012:
This is a very good story. Brings back memories of when my girls were little.
sweethearts2 from Northwest Indiana on August 25, 2012:
And, you can remember with a smile when that same daughter needs this advice. Oh, happy day.