life on the funny farm

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tooth Extortionist

Fred was reading the news on his iPad the other night when he came across this little gem in USA Today.

It's all about the Tooth Fairy's going rate.

And I learned that apparently the TF round these parts is a cheap skate.

For, according to the article,

"Kids found an average $3 per tooth under their pillows this year, up 15% from last year..." and "...some received as much as $20 per tooth".


In sidebar articles, there were even tips on teaching your child about saving and investment.

Once again, I feel like the odd man out. Let me count the ways I have failed my children in the realm of the Tooth Fairy:

1) My kids were lucky if they got a dollar, forget three, and certainly never 20.  More often, it was whatever change we could scrape up out of the junk drawer, with little crumbs and twist-ties picked out of it before being hastily thrown under the pillow.

2) I don't believe I EVER, not once, turned the Tooth Fairy leavings into a discussion on investment. I have ill-prepared my children for the world, and they are sure to be cardboard box inhabiting vagrants when they grow up.  That's alright.  With any luck, one of their twenty dollar-a-tooth peers, educated in the principles of investment, will drop some change into their tin cup as they walk up Wall Street.  All my kids will have to do will be to pick the pocket lint and paperclips out of it.

3) I'm not sure what my ratio of nights-the-money-got-put-under-the-pillow-the-same-night-the-tooth-was-put-there to nights-the-money-was-completely-forgotten-about-and-I-had-to-cover-the-Tooth-Fairy's-ass-the-next-morning are, but let's suffice it to say it's a number I'm not particularly proud of.

Now, for me it's too late to reform. My kids are all teens and have bid their baby teeth goodbye. But for those of you out there who still tote around little gap-toothed urchins, the article spelled out some helpful advice for you.

It would seem there is, you guessed it,

an app for that....

To help parents calculate the going rate for teeth, Visa on Tuesday is launching an app for iPhone and iPad and a calculator on its Facebook page. The app uses the survey's data to determine the average payoff a child can expect based on a parent's gender, education, location, age and income. The app also shows how much the recommended dollar amount was worth when the parent was 8.

While the app aims to promote fiscal responsibility in kids, financial gurus say it may encourage parents to try to outdo one another. "The app would be a driver of tooth inflation, not a tracker," says Charles Green, CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, a management consultant. "I would predict a psychological bidding game."

"The app would be a driver of tooth inflation"

When I read that, I hoped against hope that a dental implement would magically appear in my hand so I could gouge my eyes out.

For if I live in a world in which I have to add "the potential for a tooth fairy app to drive tooth inflation" to my Parental What To Worry About List, which includes stranger danger, cyber safety, and lice prevention, well then just kill me now.

And psychological bidding game? Am I supposed to be concerned that my kid might not get as much from the tooth fairy as the next kid? Is that couch material for the shrink when they grow up?

Trust me, trust me, if that's the worst damage I did to my kids, I will pat myself on the back, pour myself a drink, and congratulate myself on a job well done.

If those app inventors want to make something useful, they should come up with an app that finds better things to worry about than how much money to give a kid for a lost tooth.

That would be something I could get behind.

Image courtesy:


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In case you didn't know it, I'm like the queen of blog-hoppin' lately. It's kind of like square dancing but without the dated outfits, smelly gym, and elderly caller.

Here's the schedule I keep:
Monday: Homestead Revival's Barn Hop and A Cat-Like Curiosity's Monday Mantras.
Tuesday: Heavenly Homemaker's Gratituesday
and Wrinkled Mommy's Tuesday Archive Link-Up
Wednesday: My Life and Kids Finding the Funny
Thursday: A Rural Journal's Rural Thursday Blog Hop
Friday: Deborah Jean's Dandelion House's Farmgirl Friday
Saturday: Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop and Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up

Since today is Saturday, that means I'm linking my post "Pumpkins. Bleh." with Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up, and "5 Things Children Learn From Their Pets" with Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop.
Come join the fun!


  1. Oh, don't feel bad, the oral surgeon I once worked for grew up in a neighborhood where there were no Fairies. They had the tooth rat, so they had to hide their teeth because the rat would steal it and not leave anything! It really left an impression on

    1. Yikes, how grisly.
      (Picks up phone, dials number)
      Hello, Stephen King? I have an idea for a book/movie....

  2. Who in the world actually downloads these things onto their phones???? What are we coming to that a parent can't make a decision on the amount a tooth is worth on her own??? I had no idea that there even was such a thing as tooth inflation. My poor kids have been living on a fixed tooth income for their entire lives. $1/tooth, and they are beyond fortunate if it comes that first night under the pillow. Half the time I forget until I find the tooth when stripping the sheets to wash them.

    1. Love the "fixed tooth income", Coop!
      My favorite is the creepy old uncle magic trick I used to pull:they would come to me with this sad little face b/c the tooth fairy didn't come. So I would go upstairs with them and say, "Oh, here it is!" with a little slight of hand in their pillow case. Worked every time! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. It's ridiculous... for ND if you have less than 25k household income and just a HS degree they recommend $4, but if you have greater than $75k for college grad+ they recommend $1. They say it's based on what other people in that bracket already give, but to me that's ridiculous. If you want to recommend an amount, why not say your first baby tooth is worth x, molars are worth y, the rest are worth z... Not based on income or age or degree? That would be a lot more helpful to prevent all the "keeping up with the Joneses" issues that people would even want an app like this for. Basing it on age/degree/income doesn't help me know what other kids are her school will be getting. Cause that's really what it's about, yes? You don't want it to be too little so that she thinks the tooth fairy skimps on her, or too much so that it causes problems for her friends parents.

    Here is the calculator it's going to be based on...

    As always, adore your blog!

    1. Good idea, Barbara! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Wow, $3!?!? Not to even mention $20! They must've polled the wrong people. I don't know ANYONE who gives that much!

  6. Wow it is possible to over think everything these days! Found you on the moms mingle

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. It truly is, Julia. Do you have a blog I can hop to, as well?

  7. Wow, someone thinks of everything. I once told my younger daughter that I was the Tooth Fairy, and flew around at night while she was sleeping. She believed me. We didn't do the Santa myth, but I lied about a fairy. Wow, I can't believe I am admitting to that.
    I am a new follower from the blog hop.

  8. Lisa, that's pretty funny! So glad to have you here as a follower!

  9. hahaha - there is an Ap for everything that is for sure. I had to pop over and read this after your *cough* shameless plug. lol
    And $20 for a tooth? Pleeease...
    I'm like you and always just scrape up a couple quarters.

  10. Holy cow! And I thought my kid was crazy! My youngest is under the impression that the tooth fairy brings video games and "cool toys." it is all my in laws' fault. My nephew was staying with them when he lost his first tooth and instead of leaving him a buck or two they bought him a video game!!! Well, for my youngest the precedent was set! Unfortunately for him, the tooth fairy that visits him isn't usually that generous or organized. In fact, it is NOT unusual for him to wake up with nothing under his pillow and for me to have to go in and help him search his room only to find the tooth fairy "accidently" dropped the money under his bed

    1. Oh boy, I would have a few choice words for the in-laws if that was me. Don't they understand about precedents?! Thanks for coming by, Tracey!

  11. Not having kids, I don't have to deal with this issue, but seriously?!? $20 for a tooth?! I think if the app did drive inflation for some, this would surely be the limit??? I never stopped to think about it before, but how did the Tooth Fairy leaving money start in the first place? I'll have to do a little research on that. Personally, I like the idea of a .50 piece or silver dollar because kids don't normally see them, so it makes it seem a little "special." Looking back, I wish I HAD invested my Tooth Fairy money. Just spent an arm and a leg on a root canal, and right before I had the final tooth put in, an ancient one fell out and now I might need an implant! Could be using that investment right about now LOL. ;) (#TALU)

    1. Chris, that's too funny: saving tooth fairy money for future middle/old age dental work! I love it. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  12. I would never give my child $20 for a lost tooth. That seems kind of hilarious to me. From TALU.

    1. Patty, I know, right? Crazy, crazy. Glad you could come over for a visit!

  13. I obviously should win Mother of the Year because one time when my pockets were empty I had to "borrow" money from my kid's piggy bank to play tooth fairy. And yea, it sure wasn't anywhere near 20 bucks.

    1. Um, yeah. I've done something similar (blushing). Guess I'm in good company, JKIRF!

  14. New follower here stopping by from the Mommy-Brain Mixer, Blog Hop!



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