Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Tricking the Tooth Fairy: Inside a 4-Year-Old’s Mind
Forget that baby teeth last until the sixth birthday.
My 4-year-old daughter told us one of her friends placed a rock under her pillow, fooled the tooth fairy and received a coin in return.
The child’s parents say it was merely a memory of an episode of the PBS show Caillou involving a tooth-shaped pebble. This may be a plot rehashed in children’s stories. I found a children’s book, Arthur Tricks the Tooth Fairy, which employs a shark’s tooth for nefarious purposes.
In any case, my daughter has become inspired to sharpen her skills of deception. She’s going to challenge the Tooth Fairy in her own way using the tools and knowledge available to her.
Two days ago, she grabbed four empty boxes of mini-Nerds candy (“Honestly honey, I don’t know where your Halloween candy went. These, umm, boxes contained medicine. Yeah, that’s it, medicine.”) Not that we’d let her eat candy anyway. One Kit-Kat on Halloween Night, that’s it.
So… she colored two yellow Nerds boxes with green highlighter and two red boxes with blue highlighter and taped them together as one block and placed it under her pillow. Only eight more hours until bedtime!
She checked her pillow about every half hour for the first few hours to see if… I don’t know what…?
Eventually, the following exchange occurred with her mother:
Daughter: “I don’t know how the Tooth Fairy will leave anything because I taped it up shut.”
Mom: “Don’t you think the fairy is smart enough to figure it out?”
Daughter: [shrugging shoulders] “Hmmm.”
That night, I cut open one of the boxes and inserted a tiny note that read:
The next morning she promptly forgot about her cunning ruse. At 10 a.m., my wife called from work to ask how things went.
“Nothing happened. She forgot about the box. No, I won’t remind her. I will not be a party to swindling the Tooth Fairy. Goodbye!”
That afternoon my wife came home and couldn’t wait any longer:
Mom: “Are you sure you didn’t find anything today?”
Daughter: “No, I haven’t lost anything.”
Mom: “Isn’t there something you hid that you’re supposed to look for?”
Ding. My daughter ran to her pillow.
We required that she read the note herself. She was successful thanks pretty much entirely to her ongoing reading of Bob Books. She read the whole note.
Her reaction was a mixture of excitement, laughter and glee at the prospect of thinking up a way to respond to her nemesis.
“If I keep putting something there, eventually the Tooth Fairy will be tricked.”
Aha! An opportunity to teach her the value of persistence.
Fast forward to last night. The box was under her pillow again, emptied, and she placed a note on her nightstand. It read:
“Dear Tooth Fairy.
You cannot fool [Little Miss]
Luv, The Tooth Fairy.”
Huh? Okay, maybe her plan is to confuse the Tooth Fairy into giving up its bounty.
I inserted a new note into the box that read:
And that ends Night #2. Stay tuned.
Incidentally, it’s stuff like this which is pretty much the reason you have kids.