WASHINGTON, USA: “The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez”
I arrived at the doorway of my daughter’s pre-school classroom to pick her up. We made eye contact and I could see that she was very excited. I knelt down to her level as she ran over to me and happily announced, “Mommy! I met the tooth fairy today!” “You met the tooth fairy?” I incredulously replied. “Yes! She wears glasses and wings, and a blue dress,” my daughter replied. One of her teachers walked over smiling having overheard our conversation. She explained that the Tooth Fairy, from the Center for Pediatric Dentistry, had in fact come to visit the children and talked to them about the importance of taking care of their teeth by brushing every day and not eating too many sugary sweets.
That was the first time my daughter had ever heard of the tooth fairy, but she quickly took to the idea and I could tell that she was already eagerly looking forward to the day she would lose her first tooth.
For readers who may not be familiar with the tooth fairy, you may ask…why? Well, a couple of the older children in her class had already lost a tooth. They informed her that after a tooth comes out, if she puts it under her pillow at bedtime, the tooth fairy will come while she is sleeping, take the tooth, and leave her some money in return.
Sometimes I feel guilty about perpetuating things like Santa Claus and leprechauns, but when I see how much fun it is (both for me and my girls), I quickly change my mind. I have to admit though, on this particular day, I wasn’t ready to start thinking about another character. I mean, the girl didn’t even have any wiggly teeth yet!
To add to this, since I was raised with Hispanic culture, my tooth fairy was a little different. In my home, when you lost a tooth, you still put it under your pillow at bed time, and when you woke up, it was gone and money was under your pillow in its place. But the money did not come from the tooth fairy. It came from Ratón Pérez. Yes, that’s right, a mouse. I told my daughter about Ratón Pérez, but she did not believe me. She said, “A mouse? Really mommy? Why would a mouse want your tooth?” (I thought to myself…why would a fairy want your tooth? I don’t know!) I said, “Yes, really. You should talk to Abuelita, she’ll tell you about Ratón Pérez.” She did ask my mom the next time she talked to her, and my mom confirmed, that yes, he comes to take your tooth. (more…)