I'm running out of excuses for the Tooth Fairy

I have a bone to pick with the Tooth Fairy. Or is that a tooth to pick? Regardless, I want to know who thought up this impractical pixie. At what point did it sound like a good idea to stick a fallen-off body part under a child's pillow and have someone sneak into the room at night to take it '- in exchange for cash, no less?

Other visitors such as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus aren't a problem. Sure, they too break into our house, but it's only once a year. The same time every year. With plenty of notice. The Tooth Fairy, on the other hand, shows up several times a year, in a bafflingly random pattern.

That brings me to my real beef with the Tooth Fairy: She forgets to come. And I'm afraid I am running out of excuses for her. So far, we've explained that sometimes so many children lose teeth on the same day that she runs out of money (after all, how many coins can a tiny fairy carry?), she doesn't work on public holidays and the new security laws wreaked havoc with her flight plans. My personal favourite? She was filling in as a substitute Fairy Godmother during the busy royal ball season.

I suppose we could tell our children the truth, but saying that the Tooth Fairy fell asleep on the couch folding her 275th load of laundry, or got distracted baking the four dozen chocolate chip cookies she didn't know she was supplying for tomorrow's class party until 9:30 that night, or '- to her shame '- she started reading a trashy romance novel and completely forgot to make her rounds, just doesn't have that same touch of fairy glamour. Amazingly, the tooth fairy doesn't have this problem at every house. I've spoken to women whose children wake to find glittery fairy footprints across their pillows or carefully crafted notes written in fairy script on hand-pressed paper. But in our house the story goes slightly differently…

Recently, Middle Daughter lost a tooth that had been wiggly for months. At the ripe old age of 12, she has learned to be somewhat sceptical, but her budding mercenary tendencies forbid her to pass up the chance for free money. When the Tooth Fairy didn't show initially, years of training allowed her to react with grace. She simply mentioned over breakfast, in a calculatingly casual voice, that perhaps the Tooth Fairy didn't realise her tooth had come out.

The next morning, Fairy still a no-show, she helpfully suggested that the Tooth Fairy might find the tooth easier to locate if my daughter put it in a sandwich bag marked TOOTH in permanent marker.

On morning number three, she wondered aloud if the Tooth Fairy needed to drop by the ATM.

By morning number four, she was reduced to meaningful stares and the occasional sigh. But eventually her persistence paid off. Caught without any loose change, and realizing that passing by the house one more night would demote her to the ranks of Bad Fairy forever, the Tooth Fairy then slipped a five dollar note under Middle Daughter's pillow. Go, TF!

How do you deal with the Tooth Fairy at your home?

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