Archives for July 2011

The Tooth Fairy Faces A Slight Salary Cut

The Tooth Fairy Faces A Slight Salary Cut

Tooth FairyThe tooth fairy is serious business in my house.  So far K has lost a total of four teeth.  She’s almost 8 and we assume that once she returns from camp, well, there will be some major tooth wiggling and perhaps even pulling going on in her room. Needless to say, this tooth fairy has been saving her quarters, half dollars and loose change in preparation for the onslaught of baby teeth coming her way.

Which is why my ears perked up when I heard that the going rate for a tooth has decreased in the United States.  According to a recent Visa Inc., survey, the cost per tooth has decreased an average of 40 cents over the last year.  In 2010, the going rate for an average, run-of-the-mill baby tooth was $3.00.  And yes, that was roughly what K received for her teeth.  Now, children are receiving a mere $2.60 (or $2.80 in the West).  I don’t know about you, but I am a “rounder” by nature so putting 2 dollars, 2 quarters and a dime under K’s pillow seems like too much work for me.  I am sticking with the $3.00 more or less because I am lazy.

I could, however, subscribe to the growing faction of parents who perceive rewarding children for losing teeth as unnecessary.  It’s part of regular human development to lose one’s baby teeth, so why all the fuss, right?  Last year, roughly 6 percent of children did not receive any payment for their teeth.  The rate has increased to 10 percent today.  One might blame the increase on the recession or on parent’s indifference to the whole “tooth fairy” lore.  There may be cultural reasons why these children are not compensated for their loss.

Because the tooth fairy is still a big deal in our house, I think that it might break my little one’s heart if I all of the sudden told her:  “Remember when Mommy was laid off from her job?  Well, the same thing happened to the tooth fairy this year.”  If we can stick with the $3.00 amount, I will consider my husband and I lucky.  Knowing our daughter, she will leave a note addressed to the tooth fairy negotiating for a tooth rate increase.   When, and if she gets the increase, K will be sure to tell her buddies of the going rate in her house and that they, too, should also negotiate with their personal “fairy.”  Before we know it, my daughter’s group of friends will have adjusted the national average back to the $3.00!

She’s Got What?

She’s Got What?

Happy to have what?

My daughter is seven years old and this year she begged me to let her go to overnight camp.  I initially stood my ground and repeated “No, you are too young.  Ask me in a year.”  But she begged, pleaded and promised me that she would take care of her very curly and out of control hair which she has been growing for more than 2 years.  Finally I gave into her pleas and agreed to send her to camp for 4 weeks.  I added that there was one caveat:  She had to take care of her hair.  I sent her to camp with 2 special brushes designed for curly hair.  She promised me that she would wash, condition and BRUSH her hair.  Despite her promises, I warned her that dread locks are not attractive on a seven year-old and I would get her long hair CHOPPED if I saw ONE dread on that precious head when I came to get her.

Imagine my surprise that not even a week after we dropped K off for her first summer at overnight camp and we get the call that no parent wants to get: Your child is afflicted with LICE, LOUSE, EGGS, NITs (or is that KNITS)?  My head is itching at the mere thought!  My perfect, precious, angelic child has BUGS crawling and growing in her hair!

This is not the first time that I have received a call like this.  When she was five, the day care center called me with a lice alert.  At the time I think that I crawled under my desk and screamed “Oh Sh%T! Not my child!  I wash her hair!  She can’t have lice.  I swear to G-d, we bathe!”  Ask my co-workers, they heard me screeching across the call center floor.

As it turns out, she had AN EGG and a bad case of dandruff.  But now…. We’re talking the full blown out thing.  And, of course, where there is one, there are more cases looming all over the camp.  My over active imagination has gone wild and I am anticipating that K will now be labeled “Lice girl” and be ostracized by the entire camp.  No one wants “the cheese touch.”  (Read Diary of a Wimpy Kid if you don’t believe me.) Why? Why does K have to be the one child in her cabin to spread pestilence into the camp?

What makes things worse is that K is now a bit homesick.  So what did she do last night during the all-camp bonfire?  She crawled into the Camp Director (and owner’s) lap and hugged her for at least 5 minutes; head to head.  Double Sh%t!  So, now my kid not only has lice but she may have infected the Camp Director.  Boy!  This is just getting better and better.  K will now go through the DAILY lice inspection and hair washing as the camp tries to avoid a campus-wide epidemic.  Her cabin mates, and especially the counselors, will surely LOVE having her in their group because, they too, will have to tolerate daily inspections.

Was I a bad mother?  Did I ignore my daughter’s hygiene?  WE BATHE!!  I swear to G-d, we do!  My husband even asked me if there was something that he could have/should have been doing that would have avoided this public embarrassment? Uh, no!  In fact, I have learned that lice are attracted to CLEAN hair!!  They don’t like all of those oils and scalp crud.  Was K’s hair too clean?  Too well brushed?  I don’t know.

What I do know is I have quite a job ahead of me washing sheets, bed linens, the dog, the cat….shall I keep going?  My husband, a closet hypochondriac, will surely be itching and asking me to check his scalp daily if not twice a day.  Oy!  And I thought that I got a parental reprieve this month.

Can’t wait to see her in 3 weeks and there better not be dread locks in her hair!