The Tooth Fairy bids adieu

Offtopic, but … Last night marked a momentous milestone in my house: the Tooth Fairy’s final visit. My younger son’s last baby tooth came out, pushed aside by the grown-up tooth eager to replace it and spurred by his wiggling and prodding. Then came the ritual of placing the tooth in a small pouch and sliding it beneath his pillow at bedtime. At the ripe old age of 11, his belief in the Tooth Fairy is doubtful, as evidenced by his nuanced negotiation with me over the amount the Fairy should leave. But he plays along. And, in this final stretch of his childhood, I doubt he fully disbelieves. I imagine him falling off to sleep with at least a remnant of youthful wonder at the uncertain notion that a fairy might enter his room this night. As I slip in later to swap tooth for cash, I realize that this will be my last-ever act of agency for the Tooth Fairy. I am sure it was only yesterday that my older son sprung his first baby tooth, yet here, all these years later, is my younger son’s last. There in his room in the dark of midnight, swap successful, tooth in hand, I am overwhelmed for a moment by the precious and fleeting nature of childhood, parenthood and life.

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  • When our second daughter lost a tooth for the first time, she was frightened by the idea of the tooth fairy coming into her room while she was asleep. Her older sister explained to her that it was okay because dad was really the tooth fairy. The younger asked tentatively “When dad is the tooth fairy, does he wear a costume?”

  • This dad in a Tooth Fairy costume would be far scarier than an actual fairy.

  • Anonymous

    When first son began losing his teeth, the Tooth Fairy would leave a note under his pillow along with the cash — and son would write back. After a few exchanges of teeth, cash and notes, son decided to speed things up: With the fourth tooth under his pillow, he left a note that said “Dear Tooth Fairy, I am billing you for all my teeth.”
    …surprise, surprise, 20 years later, he is about to sit for the LSAT.

  • Rob

    As the tooth fairy in our home – I can relate to this. I have about 4 years left in my role for my youngest yet, but I don’t look forward to the realization you shared here. It is touching and a bit sad at the same time. Thanks.

  • Kathleen Caldwell

    You drew way more comments here than you do on a typical post. So what does this say? Maybe you have missed your true calling, Ambrogi (as whimsical essayist, not as tooth fairy).

  • Anonymous

    I have just written a letter “from the Tooth Fairy” to my daughter Isabelle and inserted within it the picture from this website. So by way of thanks, I would like to share my creative efforts with you. Hope that you enjoy them:


    How gorgeous it is to have the opportunity to come and see you again. My, you have grown. And I must admit, though I did not think it was possible, you have grown even more beautiful than when I saw you before. You’ve lost your first front tooth and have your grown-up tooth coming through. I see looking in your mouth that you lost another tooth before and I was able to cross reference it against one I collected last year in Thailand. Thank goodness I now know. I am always besides myself when I get a tooth and I don’t know from where I got it. The other thing is, you benefit from the exchange rate. Australian dollars buy so much more than Thai baht do. Because I was only expecting to pay you for one tooth tonight, I only brought one $2 coin, but on finding I owe you for another one I had to scrounge around to get this odd assortment of other coins. They still add up to another $2 though. Hope you don’t mind. They will make your piggy bank seem fuller. I know it won’t be long before I see you again – your other front tooth looks like its ready to come out too.

    With lots of love as always

    The Tooth Fairy