Dear Tooth Fairy,

I just wanted to express my gratitude for the hard work that you do. What a task it must be collecting up all those baby teeth and hiding money underneath the pillows of every child in the world. And you do it without waking the little buggers up! How do you do that, dart in and out so silently? It must be the magic. You should bottle it up and flog it for £100 a pop at The Baby Show. You could retire from this life of toothy toil!

But you are clearly just a dedicated servant to the world of teeth. Those little wings of yours must be exhausted. Well done you! Give yourself a big pat on your fairy back.

Although I would say customer satisfaction among toothless kids is right up in the 90th percentile range, I feel I must make a suggestion to you. It’s only customer feedback, just an idea to improve business. Please take no offence at the fact I am about to float a rather radical idea your way.

But have you not considered a touch of the fairy magic might be more appreciated at the other end of the process? When the teeth actually came in.

I am writing this as a mum on the edge of losing her mind. In order to understand teething, and why us parents hate it so much, you must first understand the first months of baby’s life.

It’s a slog filled with sleep deprivation, struggles with the witching hour, trying to breastfeed, worrying about safe sleeping, cleaning up poo, vomit and wee from every item of clothing we own, adjusting to a major change in dynamic in your relationship, and did I mention the sleep thing?

So us first-time parents have it very tough in the early months. And then things gradually start to settle down and we think: “Yay, here we go! I’m bossing this parenting thing. She slept for six hours straight last night! I can take on the world now. Let’s have another baby, the hard phase is over! ”

And then those little gums turn a bit red and baby starts to jam her fist in her mouth while alternating between groaning and wailing. Mummy gets that Sophie La Giraffe she got at the baby shower out of its box. Now is where this miracle product comes in. Baby likes chewing on Sophie, but she’s still pretty p****ed off about her teeth hurting.

Next us parents try teething gel, which would be brilliant, I’m sure, were it not for this stuff called saliva that washes away whatever liquid we put in our mouths. So the gel is good for about a minute and then the groany wailing starts again.

Then there is Calpol, which is us parents’ best friend. We love it. A good dose of this gives us a few hours of relief. Not forgetting it gives baby relief too. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact our baby is in actual grim pain when our ears are bleeding from all the crying.

However, even this does not give us a full night of relief from the terror of teething. We get just a few hours and then it starts all over. We cannot ram Calpol down baby’s throat all day, there are limits you see. And so we find ourselves back to square one.

When that tooth finally pushes through and we all breathe a sigh of relief there is a blissful pause before we notice another red patch on the gum. And here we go again.

So you see, Ms Fairy, we are in a bit of a state.

While we parents think it’s lovely you reward our kids after they have lost these teeth in a few years’ time, I think you need to get involved at the start. Why not see it as seeing the process through from start to finish? You could take on some apprentices. Whatever you need to get the job done. All I’m asking is that you make the teeth come through with a little less pain. Make it an easier process. Sprinkle that fairy dust over the gums and make them numb to the pain. If cash flow is an issue, why not cut back on the rewards to kids who have just lost their teeth. £1 is too generous I think. 50p would suffice, surely??

I hope my suggestions have not insulted you Ms Fairy. I really do think you’re doing a bang-up job. In fact, I’m going to suggest we hold a national holiday in your honour!

But please, consider helping us at this end of the terrible teething journey. All of us need a little magic sometimes. Even grown-ups!

Yours faithfully,

A magicless mummy


R is for Hoppit