By Diane Ako
My daughter is a little ways away from losing her baby teeth, but someone at school taught her about the Tooth Fairy already. And with the patience of a four year old, she asks every week now when she will lose her first tooth, and how much will the Tooth Fairy pay for said tooth?
The first mention of this came at a time when I was not present, but the two guys were. Olivia's dad and babysitter are both Danish, and this was not an automatic response for them. It threw them for a momentary loop. There is no Tooth Fairy in Denmark, they tell me, but they did a literal translation of the words into Danish so they can continue speaking in Danish to her.
As such, they also had no idea what the Tooth Fairy pays for a tooth, and if it's the same amount each time. They asked me when I returned home for advice, but honestly, it's been too long since I lost my teeth. I can't even remember what I did last weekend, much less 30 years ago when my teeth were coming out.
As it happens, a recent Visa Inc. survey discovered that even the Tooth Fairy is not immune from the country's lingering economic challenges, leaving an average of $2.60 per tooth, a 40 cent decrease from last year's $3 per tooth.
Other interesting tidbits from the survey:
-In the Eastern U.S., the Tooth Fairy now leaves just $2.10, a 38% cut from the $3.40 she left in 2010.
-Southern states also saw a significant decrease in the Tooth Fairy's largess, $2.60 in 2011 versus $3.30 in 2010 – a 21% reduction.
-Midwestern children receive an average of $2.80, a modest 3% decrease from last year's $2.90.
-The West bucked the national trend of a belt-tightening Tooth Fairy, with children pocketing $2.80, up 4% from last year's $2.70.
As the sole American in my household, I'm going to make an executive decision to contact the Tooth Fairy and recommend a $2/tooth payout, consistent across the board for all 20 baby teeth. I know some parents prefer to use a declining pay scale for each subsequent tooth, but that'll be too hard for me to remember each time. Simple. I have to keep it simple.
Any suggestions on how much the Tooth Fairy should pay per tooth? What did you get for your baby teeth?
Also reach me via DianeAko.com