Monday, December 7, 2009

The Tooth Fairy ROCKS!

Ever wonder about the origins of the tooth fairy legend?

I mean really, think about it for a moment. Our kids lose a tooth and we tell them that this mysterious pixie with a bicuspid fetish is going to trade them canines for cash. What up with that?

One theory is that the whole story started back in the 18th century with a French fairy tale called La Bonne Petite Souris by Madame D'Aulnoy. Unforturnately the tradition didn’t originally star our familiar sprite with a bite. Oh no. Instead of a fairy there was a MOUSE. That’s right -vermin. A mouse that turns into a fairy to help the good queen by hiding under the evil king’s pillow and then torturing him by knocking out all his teeth.

Yes people, this version of the tooth fairy fable has its roots in domestic violence.

There are different traditions in other parts of the world. In some Asian countries the kid is supposed to throw the tooth on the roof or shove it into a space under the floor. If that isn’t weird enough while they dispose of their teeth they have to wish that their tooth be replaced with a mouse’s tooth. Again with the rodents. Supposedly having your teeth grow your whole life like rat’s teeth do is a good thing. It doesn’t sound like something I would want for my guys. By the time they were in their teens they would look like sabre tooth tigers. But we really should have followed the tradition of throwing baby teeth straight up and down in the air. Theoretically the permanent teeth would then come in straight. Wish I had known that one earlier, it would have saved me thousands at the orthodontist.

An older version of the story that says that the reason you have to dispose of the tooth is because of witches. These hags would use pieces of your body -teeth, hair, fingernail clippings- to curse you. Can’t you imagine? “You better pry up some of the hardwood floor Johnny or a witch will cast a love spell on you. All the girls in your class will fall in love with you.” That would drive my 1st grader to grind his teeth into dust and scatter them in the ocean.

Most kids lose their first tooth when they are five or six. To mark this occasion and to pacify kids that were afraid of the act of losing teeth the tooth fairy started dealing in cash. The amount varies; my kids get eight shiny quarters, some kids get stock options and a golden parachute.

But whatever the origin of the story or how much cash is left under the pillow, the Tooth Fairy will always be a magical part of childhood.

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