How the Tooth Fairy Just Ruined it for All of You

Fifteen minutes away from school with five minutes until a golf practice that’s twenty minutes away from school. “Late” wasn’t even really where I was. I was in a place called “panicking over being late for golf practice.”

I kicked myself in the butt for choosing a school that didn’t emulate a fast food joint by having the teacher stand outside with my kid while I leaned out of the window, grabbed her and threw her in the back seat. I broke with routine and dispensed with walking up the sidewalk, parked behind the principal’s car, stood by the driver’s side and screamed my child’s name repeatedly. Luckily, I have enough volunteer hours in the school that I can get away with this.

“Hurry, hurry, hurry… HURRRYHURRYHURRY!!! We’re late, we’re late, we’re late… LAAAAAAATE!!”

Yes, for golf practice.

I once read an analysis of slavery in the American South that postulated that slave owners thought slaves were lazy because they didn’t realize that slaves intentionally worked slowly and broke tools as a form of resistance. It wasn’t that the slaves were lazy or stupid, it was that the masters were morons for not realizing they were being made fools of. While this seems peripheral, this thought popped in my head as I screamed “HURRYHURRYHURRY!!!” and watched my daughter walk towards me at a pace that made the a slow-motion replay of [insert super famous golf player here doing something famous here] look like the Road Runner ditching that sad, sad coyote.

She got into the car made a colossal announcement.

“I lost my tooth!”

Okay, I knew it was loose, but this wasn’t a good day for losing a first tooth. People need to schedule things like that. Our plan today was golf practice, driving forty five minutes away to eat dinner with a friend and then coming back to our place and have grown up conversations after the kids went to bed. Playing tooth fairy wasn’t on the schedule. I had wanted to do something special with envelopes and special coins and I don’t know… more magical stuff.

The night ended. With the kids in bed and inappropriate jokes laughed at, I was off to bed. Suddenly, I remembered the tooth and panicked. I had no plan. NO PLAN!! I searched my wallet for something, anything…. all I had in there was a quarter and a twenty dollar bill.

I hear you. Put a quarter under her pillow and be done with it.

First of all, when I lost my first tooth back in 1982, I distinctly remember getting five dollars. By my calculations, if I want to propagate the idea of upward mobility in immigrant families, I’m going to have to give this child something like $50 for that tooth. If I put a quarter under my child’s pillow, I would be telling the world, my child, and America itself that all of the trials and tribulations all of those hundred of thousands of huddled masses who had immigrated to this great nation in the hopes that their progeny would create lives of a quality that it all meant absolutely nothing.

If I didn’t put that twenty under my kid’s pillow, it would make America mean nothing.

I put that twenty under the pillow because I love America. Don’t you judge me.

I think we’re on the same page, now, my friend.

About Faiqa Khan

Mother of two, wife of one, master of none. Trying madly to be prolific on her personal blog at Native Born and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she's not a racist on Hey! That's My Hummus!


  1. Sybil Law says:

    I put a ten dollar bill under my kid’s pillow, and for the same reason as you – it was all I had besides change. I don’t regret it for a second. The first tooth is special (which I also made sure to explain to my kid ’cause no other tooth was worth ten bucks)!

  2. Okay so our kids can never have play dates. Mine get $5 tops. However, my husband made the mistake of writing a letter to our first kid from the tooth fairy. Her name was Grynn. Because Fairies always use “y’s” instead of “i’s.” And the fucking tooth was going into a “Smyle garden” and on and on. That Fayry note was the Odyssey and Illyad rolled into one. Then it got to where our daughter was leaving notes for Grynn that she wanted answered even when there wasn’t a fuckyng tooth. Forget what I said. Just give your kid the 20$.

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  3. Wendy Greenway says:

    Oh my god! Thank you for making me feel like I am not a complete weirdo over-parenting nightmare who is ruining my children and making sure that they are totally unprepared for the “real” world. I had almost this exact same experience with Joseph. I knew the tooth was loose. I am normally a “planner”. I don’t know what happened. On top of being unprepared for the main event, the little tooth-shaped holder that the school nurse gave Joseph to keep the tooth in (super big deal, let me tell you!), popped open as he joyfully skipped towards the van, slinging his tiny tooth who-knows where. Talk about slo-mo. There were about five teachers there smiling. Smiles turned to open mouths and then looks of horror as they went scrambling around on the ground and in the bushes looking for this tooth. All the while, Joseph’s face got sadder and sadder. He lamented that the tooth fairy was not going to come to our house, because he didn’t have a tooth for her! And I had nothing for her to give him!!! Of course, we had to go straight from school to an appointment, which of course, went past five PM, so no trips to the bank for special coins or bills (we got $2 bills, some times, as children). After bed time, I went to every store in our area begging for strange coins. At that point, I would have been happy with a .50 cent piece. After experiencing total and complete failure, I did what any good southern girl would do. I called my daddy for advice. As any good southern daddy would do, he drove down to my house at 9:30 with a small handful of gold dollars. I felt so badly that Joseph got a gold dollar, plus a little lego set. And we thought that cleaning up messes would be the hardest part of caring for children.

  4. Andrea says:

    All of us make choices with the intention of creating fond childhood memories for our kids – the Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Lucky the Leprechaun – without really thinking it through that these fairytales must be perpetuated for years and years and years. It’s like busywork for parents, and I’m exhausted.

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