time v money

The best gift, and investment, you can give your child is your time.

— Kevin Heath

Driving to the shops this morning, listening to the radio, the topic of conversation was the Tooth Fairy.

The question: ‘How much does the Tooth Fairy pay for your child’s teeth?’

Twenty dollars …

Um … pardon?

That was for the first one … she was only four.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I nearly ran off the road. What insanity was this? What 4-year old needs $20? Where do you go from there? Admittedly, four is a very young age to be losing your first baby tooth … but twenty dollars?

Five hours later and I am still reeling from this revelation.

Thankfully, the remainder of the people who had called in were more down-to-earth. Tooth Fairy payouts ranged from a gold coin to four dollars (half to donate to charity and half for the canteen at school). Still, that’s more than I received; inflation has a lot to answer for it seems.

Depending on which internet article you read, the tradition of the Tooth Fairy handing out per tooth payments or gifts started somewhere in Europe during the 17th Century with America (and possibly Australia) adopting the practice in the early 1900s. The myths surrounding baby teeth go back much further and many countries have different ways of disposing of baby teeth so as to afford on-going good luck to the child.

Whatever its origins, the Tooth Fairy has gone the way of other magical beings, i.e. the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, becoming more commercial than anything else.

When I was of tooth-losing age, the fallen baby tooth would sit in a glass of water next to my bed awaiting collection from the Tooth Fairy who would reward me with twenty cents. (Note: cents not dollars.)

My own children, on the other hand, had little specially made tooth treasure chests. The tooth would be carefully laid inside the treasure chest at night, placed next to the bed, and opened in the morning to reveal a gold coin. (Note: coin not note.) My daughter also had a tooth fairy light, lest the tooth fairy not be able to find her way to the tooth in the dark.

My question is: why do we do this?

I am as guilty as the next parent of perpetuating these lies in the name of a magical childhood. We teach our children not to lie, yet we do so ourselves; the line between the two is exceptionally slim.

Magic in childhood is fine — if it works for your child. But, what do you do with the child who finds out the truth before he is ready? Or with the child who fears unknown people coming into his room at night? Or with the child who boldly asks, ‘Why did you tell me that stuff if it wasn’t true?’

One caller to the radio this morning spoke of leaving her son a letter from the Tooth Fairy, thanking him for keeping his teeth clean and offering suggestions as to how he could continue to look after his teeth.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There may have been a small amount of money involved, I can’t remember, but that is not the point.

This parent took the time to compose the letter; rather than hurriedly chucking out the old tooth and rummaging through her purse for a coin (or a note) at 3am because she had forgotten about it before she went to bed.

You may well ask, where’s the magic in that?

The magic was still there; the letter was from the Tooth Fairy.

I would imagine this letter would be remembered long after the money was spent.


5 thoughts on “time v money

  1. Words from a well known song from the past immediately come to mind: ‘Money can’t buy me love!’………
    My mum’s words also come to the forefront of my thinking: ‘Money is the root of all evil!’ Strong words, but the more I reflect on them, the truth that they demonstrate to me is very real and legitimate!!!
    Society unfortunately reveres money as a god in our lives. Like you, Kellie, I have been amazed how it has eroded a simple custom or ‘magic’ of the Tooth Fairy. Rewards for lost teeth have reached a ridiculous level in our society. Expectations for ‘correct’ or ‘acceptable’ reward amounts, in my opinion, are insane!!!!
    Immediately, I make a connection with education of our young citizens. Magic, particularly, has been taken away to be replaced with multitude assessments coupled with expectations to achieve academically acceptable levels much too soon. The word ‘Kindergarten’ for me has been erased from our schools with many young people being deprived of investigating, exploring, building, playing and communicating with each other. No wonder there are so many needy children who do not fit into the expected mould. ‘One size does not fit all!!’ Monetary rewards are often given by parents for achieving ‘applaudable’ attainments. No wonder children with disabilities struggle to make sense of what concepts are placed in front of them…………Oops!!! Off on a tangent, again!!
    In our effort to create a ‘perfect’ world, maybe we could keep in mind:
    ‘Water that is too pure has no fish’.

    Keep writing, Kellie!! I love the way you make me think, the way you write so powerfully!! No gold coins for you from me, except high levels of admiration!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man – we could go on forever Janet. $50 for every ‘A’ (that one particularly grates with me); ridiculous amounts of pocket money; birthday parties costing in the $1000s … it’s like parenting is a huge competition, which is so sad. Some of Ashlea’s friends have had ‘archery’ parties, go-karting parties and parties that have lasted the whole weekend (others, I am happy to say, are more realisitic) … neither of my kids want big parties, preferring to have a couple of friends over and go out for dinner somewhere. I have to wonder where the commercial side of parenting is going to stop. I could say it is like ‘buying love’ … but I think it is more than that … the need to ‘one-up’ fellow parents.


    1. ‘One-upmanship’ !!!!!!! Yes, that’s the word for today’s society!! You hit the nail on the head for me, Kellie. Brings to mind the quote, ‘Anything you can do , I can do better!’ How sad!
      Keep sailing/rowing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘paddling’ – there is this thing in dragon boating where some people get really irate when you refer to what we do as rowing … it’s paddling. (Which, to me, sounds like little kids in a paddle pool … but anyway …)


      2. Thank you for the correct terminology direction. I must keep ‘paddling’ and use the correct word!!!
        Had a senior moment!! Thought I’d sent you my reply earlier!! Hi,hum, must have been rowing instead of paddling.


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