Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tooth Fairy / Tooth Mouse?

Sarah lost her first tooth today.  It has been in the works for a long time... a LONG time!  The permanent tooth is actually almost fully grown in directly behind it, but she was so afraid to actually pull the baby tooth out that it has taken weeks and weeks for this day to come.  The tooth was literally hanging out of her mouth by the time it came out today.

So this brings up the whole Tooth Fairy issue... we asked Liz what the custom here is for loosing teeth.  She said, "Oh - The Tooth Mouse (Ratoncito de los dientes or Ratoncito Perez) comes in the middle of the night to get the tooth and leaves a coin under your pillow."  Wow - that sounds just like our North American custom except for the fact that it is a mouse and not a fairy.  She thought our fairy idea was a little strange / we think that having a mouse run into your child's bed to take a tooth is a little strange.  Either way, this being Sarah's first lost tooth and all of her friends are losing teeth, we figure that she might as well learn the Peruvian custom.  She already knew about the Tooth Fairy, so we just explained that maybe fairies can't fly here (you know, we do have a severe lack of oxygen and atmosphere in the Andes) and that mice are better for the job in Peru.

After doing a little research, here is what we found out with regard to tooth fairy/tooth mouse customs around the world:

The tooth fairy is a fun tradition in most American households, but in many parts of the world it's the tooth mouse that leaves treats behind for kids who've lost their baby teeth. Brill (author) tells of the origin of the tooth fairy, the tooth mouse, tooth witches, and more. She traces the history of lost teeth back to the ancient Egyptians, who tossed their teeth to the sun because they believed the sun provided strong teeth. In those days -- when people didn't live so long, and before sugar and other tooth-attacking additives were around -- adult teeth often lasted a lifetime. Indeed, Brill tells readers, the connection between teeth and strength was rooted -- no pun intended -- in the fact that teeth stayed hard as stone even after a person died!

Among the beliefs Brill explores in this compact and beautifully illustrated tale of teeth beliefs:

·               Australian mothers were said to crush their children's baby teeth and eat the powder.

·               In parts of England, mothers at one time burned their children's baby teeth so that evil witches couldn't get their hands on them and gain control of the children.

·               In some parts of the world, a child's baby tooth would be placed in nests where rats or snakes were known to live because people believed evil witches disliked those animals and wouldn't go near them.

·               In many parts of the world, parents placed their children's teeth in mouse nests. They thought that would result in a new tooth growing in the lost tooth's place, just as a mouse's lost teeth somehow re-grew!

·               In other parts of the world, mothers hid their children's teeth from animals because, they believed, if an animal found the tooth, a tooth like that animal's would grow in the mouth of the child.

At one time in Europe, there was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out.[2] Some academics hold that the Tooth Fairy evolved from the tooth mouse depicted in an 18th century French language fairy tale. In "La Bonne Petite Souris," a mouse changes into a fairy to help a good queen defeat an evil king by hiding under his pillow to torture him and knocking out all his teeth.

This combination of ancient international traditions has evolved into one that is distinct Anglosaxon and Latin American cultures among others.

Tooth tradition is present in several western cultures under different names. For example in Spanish-speaking countries, this character is called Ratoncito Pérez, a little mouse with a common surname, or just "ratón de los dientes" (Tooth Mouse). The "Ratoncito Pérez" character was created around 1894 by the priest Luis Coloma (1851–1915), a member of the Real Academia Española since 1908. The Crown asked Coloma to write a tale for the eight-year old Alfonso XIII, as one of his teeth had fallen out. A Ratón Pérez appeared in the tale of the Vain Little Mouse. The Ratoncito Pérez was used by Colgate marketing in Venezuela[3] and Spain.

In Italy also the Tooth Fairy (Fatina) is often substituted by a small mouse (topino). In France, this character is called La Petite Souris (« The Little Mouse »). From parts of LowlandScotland, comes a tradition similar to the fairy mouse: a white fairy rat which purchases the teeth with coins.

In some Asian countries, such as Korea, Vietnam and India, when a child loses a tooth the usual custom is that he or she should throw it onto the roof if it came from the lower jaw, or into the space beneath the floor if it came from the upper jaw.  While doing this, the child shouts a request for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse. This tradition is based on the fact that the teeth of mice go on growing for their whole life, a characteristic of all rodents.

In parts of India, young children offer their discarded milk tooth to the sun, sometimes wrapped in a tiny rag of cotton turf.

Interesting reading!!!!  The original thought processes behind some of these customs is pretty wild.  We're just happy to be in Peru - where the going rate for a lost tooth is 1 sole (30 cents).  I hear that the going rate in the USA would break the bank pretty quickly!!!  



Donna said...

Thanks for the neat history lesson about losing teeth. we were cheapskates and our kids got 50 cents. With Katie only two yrs older than the boys, we would have been broke in no time. Sounds like all is well with you. Love the updates. Stay well. Ike gave us lots of needed rain, and some unneeded wind, but all and all the Brazos Valley is fine. Houston is another story.


CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

yep, it's the same in Costa Rica. Madison lost some teeth there and wrote a letter to the tooth mouse.

mikepettengill said...

the tooth mouse is alive and well...long live Mouseity

Rene Colato Lainez said...

Take a look at the new picture book

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Perez

Bartlett Dentist said...

What an interesting post about tooth fairies and tooth mouse. I've never knew that there's a tooth mouse, I only know about tooth fairies. True enough, there are a lot of practices and traditions done after losing a tooth. Thanks for sharing this.

Vernell Leider said...

Thanks for the history lesson. It's common knowledge that kids would soon lose their baby teeth, but it's kinda surprising that other cultures have their own versions of celebrating it. I guess the similarity in all of them is the wish for good fortune during this milestone.

Anonymous said...

I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning
this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.
In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now ;)

Feel free to surf to my site buy alta white

Anonymous said...

Nice blog right here! Also your web site quite a bit up
very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get
your associate link to your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

My page male enhancement gels

Anonymous said...

Currently it looks like BlogEngine is the top blogging platform available right now.
(from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

Feel free to visit my web page the best natural male enhancement pills

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about pitbull joint pain.

Also visit my homepage; eazol

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! We are linking to this great post on our site.

Keep up the great writing.

my weblog - natural treatment for underactive thyroid

Anonymous said...

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually
something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and
very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!

My web-site :: provillus pills for women minoxidil nyc

Anonymous said...

Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot
of spam responses? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

Also visit my web page ... virility ex price

Anonymous said...

hello there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked
up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this site, since I experienced to reload the site lots of times previous to I
could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web
hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

Feel free to visit my web-site ... venapro reviews and feedback

Anonymous said...

My brother recommended I might like this web
site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

Check out my web page :: buy deer Antler plus

Anonymous said...

Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option?
There are so many choices out there that I'm totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thanks!

Here is my web page virility ex

Anonymous said...

Hi, I check your new stuff regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you're doing!

Also visit my web-site ... []

Anonymous said...

dog insurance The lower coverage only covers healthcare facility sessions or unexpected emergency attention, but you will save cash. Some important things to consider when dealing with policy limits are deductible, co-pay, incident cap, annual cap because these factors affect the cost of insurance.