The Legend and Charm of The Tooth Fairy
The legend and myth of the Tooth Fairy is a delightful part of our modern family culture. Kids dream about receiving a special gift or money from this charming, magical fairy. Adults fondly remember the Tooth Fairy as a wonderful childhood fantasy of their youth, and they pass on the mystery and charm to their own young children.
In most households, the Tooth Fairy operates under cover of darkness, coming to visit after a child loses what are commonly called baby teeth. Parents help perpetuate the fantasy by showing their children how to place the lost tooth under their sleeping pillow or in a special holder or pillow made just for the Tooth Fairy. Then, the Tooth Fairy herself visits during the middle of the night, exchanging the tooth for a gift or monetary reward.
The Tooth Fairy is a lovely fantasy, but how exactly did she originate?
FAIRIES, FAIRIES EVERYWHERE
The beginnings of the Tooth Fairy probably began many centuries ago in a culture that encouraged folklore, legend, literature and the arts. Historians believe that this would have been a culture where the concept and myth of fairies was widely accepted -- possibly in Ireland or England.
We do know that the word fairy is derived from the French spelling of faery. In a general sense, the mythical fairy dates back to medieval days and was quite widespread, especially among the Celtic peoples. References about magical fairies -- both good and evil -- can be found in numerous paintings and literature that predates Christianity.
Centuries later, the concept of the fairy became popular during Shakespeare's day, as he and other writers of that time period gave them prominent roles in their plays, poems and other writings.
A MAGICAL MYTH BEGINS TO EVOLVE
So how did the Tooth Fairy as we know it today begin to take root? There are several theories.
Among the Nordic people, it is widely believed that the Vikings had a "tooth fee," that was paid to children when they lost a tooth. Once paid for, these teeth were probably strung together to make a necklace or some other type of adornment that the Viking warriors wore into battle.
In Medieval Europe, it was common to bury a child's tooth in the ground, usually in a garden or a field close to home. Supposedly, the tooth was buried so that a new one would be free to grow in its place, and it discouraged the evil witches from finding the tooth and putting a curse on the child.
When Europeans and others began migrating to the New World in great numbers during the 17th century, they brought their superstitious beliefs with them. But as towns and cities took shape, people found that they sometimes didn't have a place to bury the teeth. Instead, the lost tooth was often placed in a small planter, perhaps on a window sill or just outside a door.
No one really knows what prompted parents to begin putting the tooth under a child's pillow or when the practice of leaving a gift became widespread. However, it probably began to be part of our American folklore sometime during the late 19th century.
YOU'VE GOT QUESTIONS, THE TOOTH FAIRY HAS ANSWERS
While everyone seems to know about the Tooth Fairy, not everyone celebrates in exactly the same manner. And, parents often have questions. Following are some common questions concerning this fantasy fairy who visits in the night and leaves presents and money.
Why did a fairy become associated with losing a baby tooth? Many old cultures marked the loss of a child's baby or milk teeth. Some ancient cultures placed the lost tooth in a tree or threw it to the sun. Other rituals involved having an adult swallow the tooth or burn it.
Why is the Tooth Fairy so popular?
The Tooth Fairy is a whimsical concept that helps both parent and child mark the transition from infancy to childhood. It's a rite of passage that is not attached to any religion or holiday, which accounts for its widespread celebration.
When does the Tooth Fairy come to visit?
Although it varies, children generally lose their first baby tooth between the ages of 5 and 7 years.
Why is the Tooth Fairy traditionally female?
As a popular culture figure of relatively modern times, the Tooth Fairy is usually depicted as a woman. However, some companies are now offering Tooth Fairy "Prince" style gifts for the boys to enjoy.
What does the Tooth Fairy exchange for the child's tooth?
A generation ago, the Tooth Fairy brought only a modest gift, perhaps a dime or a quarter. In very recent years, that amount has increased dramatically and children now receive Tooth Fairy gifts ranging from a dollar to five dollars to much more. Sometimes the monetary amount is considerably higher for the first tooth lost. Instead of cash, some parents opt for a gift. But money remains the most popular choice.
Is the Tooth Fairy celebrated around the world?
Throughout English-speaking and many European countries, the Tooth Fairy tradition is widely known and practiced. Although in many cultures, the first lost tooth is the only one recognized by the Tooth Fairy.
THE END OF A MAGICAL CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE
Alas, a child's belief in the Tooth Fairy is all too fleeting. By the age of nine or ten, most children have stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy. Many kids, however, continue to play along with their parents because they enjoy the tradition and they like collecting the money! The last baby teeth are usually gone by age 12, and the Tooth Fairy ceases her visits.
What happens to all the teeth collected over the years by the Tooth Fairy?
Some parents tell their children that the teeth become the countless shimmering stars in the sky. Others say that the Tooth Fairy is building a fabulous castle for herself using all of the "donated" teeth. Today, there are numerous books available about the Tooth Fairy that offer their own version of what happens to the countless lost teeth.
In the end, the magic of the Tooth Fairy is perpetuated by parents who make up their own stories and create their own rituals. This only adds to the magical charm that we call the Tooth Fairy.
Nancy Wurtzel is the founder and owner of All About Baby, an ecommerce site located at http://www.allbaby.com. All About Baby specializes in personalized and memorable gifts for children as well as interesting and helpful child-related site content. Ms. Wurtzel has over 20 years of marketing and communications experience. She consults with small businesses seeking to enter the marketplace or grow their existing ecommerce business.
Cyber Parenting 101
Many parental units are not "techies" and openly admit they are not. They seem to use that as an excuse to not be informed and "trust" their children to do what is right in an environment that is clearly risky.
Intermission: Wood Chips
I wanted to share with you one of the most valuable lessons my daughter taught me when she was sixteen-months-old. I call this essay, "Cherish Your Wood Chips.
Why First Borns Fuss, Seconds Are Resilient and Last Borns Like To Laugh
How can two or three children in the same family be so different? They are brought up in the same broad social environment, under a similar set of rules and an identical family value system. They also come from the same genetic pool yet they can be so different in personality, interests and achievement.
How to Deal with Your Child's Inappropriate Behaviour
Children bombard parents with many challenging behaviours. We are delighted if their behaviour is mostly positive.
Joining a Gang: How to Help Kids Prevent it, How to Tell if Theyve Joined One, How to Help Them Out
While youth gangs are nothing new -- they've been traced back to the early 19th century -- the demographic of a youth gang is something that is constantly changing. Many people stereotype gang members as urban, inner city males from racial minorities, but in fact gangs are a problem in suburbs as well as cities, for all races and for girls as well as boys.
Parenting Your Teenager: Ask Questions
Many parents seem to be more than a little confused about what they have a right to know about their teens.The question I often get goes something like this:"We want to know where our 16-year-old son is going to be, and who he is with.
Is My Child Lazy?
Is there a difference between lazy and unmotivated? Why do some children move as if in slow motion? Is this normal or are they just trying to irritate you? You may be surprised to learn that a great many factors come into play when a child appears to be lazy; stage of growth, hormones, hunger, motivation, lack of clear directions and maybe even sleep deprivation.I have never taught my workshop of "Kids, Chores & More" when there hasn't been at least two parents of 11 year old boys lamenting that their sons are so lazy.
Help Your Child Do Better in School
1. Create a personal schedule Recording everything that must be done on a calendar or "to do" list will help him to keep track of important dates and deadlines.
Responsible Fatherhood - A Unique And Irreplaceable Role!
Something happened the other day that made me feel uneasy. Yet I shouldn't have felt that way!My wife had left for work and I was hanging the washing out to dry.
The following spelling games can be used by parents to reinforce spelling in children:SPELLING GAME 1: USE BOARD GAMES, SUCH AS MONOPOLYPlay any game that is normally played with dice with the child -- Monopoly, for example. The parent can continue to move her token forward in the normal way by throwing the dice, but the child must orally spell a word to move forward.
Puberty - Get Ready to Play the Puberty Game
Puberty can be a difficult time for children. Not quite kids anymore and not really adolescents they are caught in the middle in type of limbo.
Social Engineering via Robotic Toddlers
Is there a way to build a robot to help toddlers and pre-schoolers learn proper social behavior without the parents intervention? A robotic friend so to speak; one, which will play with the child and explore colors and shapes. Perhaps build legos? Now before you say I am wacked, let's discuss this.
PG Rating Isnt What It Used To Be
If there are any parents reading this who are thinking of taking their under-10 year olds to see the PG rated Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, please read the following from a ScreenIt.com review:Rated PG, the film contains a handful of mild expletives; some non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue; one teen who sexually pursues her soccer coach nonstop until he finally can't resist anymore and they apparently have sex (off-camera, after some making out, and she feels empty afterwards).
Lifebooks: Every Adopted Child Needs One
Information is gold when you are adopted. Every tiny piece is precious, whether it's a photo or quote from the orphanage staff.
Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet
The biggest trick some child predators' are using these days is to pretend to be a kid, in a kid site chat room.Child predators are talking the lingo, misspelling words, having simple conversations to gain trust with children on the internet.
When Everybody Does It Comes Back to Haunt You
Parental example, whether for good or for bad, is undoubtedly the most powerful influence on a child's moral and social development. If we are to succeed at all in bringing up our children in the way we want them to grow up, we have to be mindful of this day and night.
Screaming Kids Driving You Nuts? Four Rules to Help You Keep Your Sanity!
Often I will hear parents say, "I just ignore Jr. when he has a fit or screams.
Childrens Friendships Made Easy
Most research into children's friendships shows that those children who are able to form friendships when they start school are happier at school and also learn better.More significantly, a positive beginning to friendships has long-term implications for social and indirectly academic success.
Strengths and Weaknesses
All too often, children with learning disabilities are seen through their weaknesses. Like anyone else, however, they have many strengths.
Parents Need to Vent Anger! Try These 4 Steps to Serenity
Parents are losing their self-control to anger. A friend called me today and told me a very troubling story.
|home | site map|