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Tooth Fairy: Worldwide Tradition?

My seven-year-old boy just lost a tooth this weekend, the top one. What a smile he has now! He makes the entire family laugh with his “old man” smile. He is so proud of showing off his new gap.

Losing a tooth is a universal rite of passage that every kid on the planet goes through. But what do you do when you lose a tooth? Our kids cannot wait to put it under their pillows for the tooth fairy to come. But did you know that the tooth fairy is not a worldwide tradition?

In fact, I am from France and in France, boys and girls leave their teeth under the pillow for “La Petite Souris,” or The Little Mouse, who takes the tooth and leaves a coin or a bill behind to replace the tooth. Children prepare for the little mouse a small piece of cheese. No one knows exactly where the myth of La Petite Souris originated, but it is a believed that it may come from a 17th century French fairy tale by Baroness d’ Aulnoy. The story is called the "Good Little Mouse" ("La Bonne Petite Souris") and is about a fairy who turns into a mouse to help a queen defeat an evil king. The fairy mouse hides under the king's pillow and takes all his teeth while he sleeps.

 What about tossing our teeth away? I have asked one of my friends from Japan what they do with the teeth they lose, and I thought it was so interesting and is very different from the tooth fairy or the little mouse. Kids who lose teeth from their lower jaw will throw their teeth onto their roof, while teeth from the upper jaw go on the floor or even under it. The idea is that the new tooth will be pulled towards the old tooth.

I am sure that our community of Memphis moms is full of international women that come from all over the world. Please share your tooth fairy tradition in a comment. It is so interesting to learn about traditions from different countries.


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