Friday, January 14, 2011

One Stinking Dollar

Maggie's loose tooth finally came out yesterday. That damn thing had been hanging by a thread for what seemed like forever. So she put it in the designated area (the tooth fairy actually comes to our kitchen where the tooth is in a plastic tooth box suspended from a cabinet door - she tends to forget less this way) and waited for the magic visit.

When she opened the box in the morning, she huffed, "All I got was one stinking dollar." Which led me to inquire, what on earth do other kids get? Color me flabbergasted when the answer was "between $10 and $20." Per tooth!

Alright people. We're going to have to have a talk. And I'm going to apologize in advance because I am sure there is a reader out there who is generous tooth fairy.

This needs to stop. What you ask? The escalation of everything in our children's lives.

The $20 visits from the tooth fairy.

Every birthday party having a circus, magician, spa day and swag bags for the participants.

Bribing our children for doing that which is required (ie the Mom the other day who had to go buy her kid a toy for participating in their after school activity.)

You get the point. Add more examples at will. As parents, and I've been guilty on occasion, we've over-hyped everything. And I know that we're all doing it ostensibly to make them happy. But you know what? It doesn't work. The more you amp things up, the more they expect the next time and the less they can be made happy by the small pleasures in life.

If we give them "stuff" to make them happy, they will have the misconception as they grow older that "stuff" will make them happy. And it never truly will.

So let's make a deal Moms and Dads, let's dial it back. Let's reserve the gigantic parties for milestone birthdays, make the tooth fairy a token amount of money and try a little more "stick" with the after school activities rather than "carrot." It may seem like sacrifice in the short term, or too difficult, but I think we're going to raise a better crop of kids because of the effort.

As for me, we started already. We let the minions know this morning that bad-mouthing the spoils from the tooth fairy means you'll get passed by next time. Trust me, this tooth fairy is tough enough to do just that.


  1. I'm on board. Shocking, I know... but I will try to dial it back to an appropriate level ;)

    The tooth fairy here at Chez Fraught brings one stinkin' dollar too, and 'twill ever be thus. Living in the Bubble brings its own set of difficulties in child-rearing, for sure -- M was complaining yesterday that she is the ONLY one in her entire class without an electronic play device of some sort.

    ps, my word verification is "dfine" -- should we ask Ann, is that one of the names in her NICU this week -- D'fine?

  2. yep, we're on the dollar train as well. you can't tell other people how to parent, so you just have to do what you feel is right, instill the values you believe in, and surround yourself with like minded people. Oh and birthday parties? Our best party ever was Sophie's 10th. We hiked the Star Trail, had a picnic and gave trail mix out for a favor. The girls all loved it, so it just proved to me that it is the experiences that count, not the THINGS.

  3. Love this post! We live in a area where kids are "entitled" and it's downright scary to watch. What ever happened to delayed gratification?? My kids often wonder (outloud) why they don't get to see that new movie the day it comes out or why they don't have the newest DSI or why we don't have a TV in our car, etc, etc. However, I do enjoy planning a birthday party. :) My reasoning behind all the party hub-bub is that I like to give my kids an experience rather than a bunch of spendy gifts. So we throw the fun themed-out parties and skip on all the "stuff giving". As for the tooth fairy, totally with on that one. We give 2 bucks for the first tooth and a buck for all the rest. ;-)

  4. @ little irish - I love a good birthday party too! As I recall from your spy party, it was elaborate but all home grown which was the perfect mix.