IN the week the nation was mourning the passing of The Queen, our little granddaughter, Chloe, has been coming to terms with a momentous loss of her own – her first tooth’s fallen out.

At five-years-old, she understands that The Queen’s passing is very sad and that she was a nice Grandma but, in all honesty, she’s been far more preoccupied with her own wobbly tooth.

The tension mounted as we waited for the news that it had finally come out, with regular video updates on our family Whatsapp group, showing it getting wobblier and wobblier.

Never one to miss out on making a few quid, I even initiated a sweepstake, with family members staking a pound and choosing a day of the week for the tooth to fall out.

I had Thursday and it was looking very hopeful, but it happened on Friday – the day Chloe’s Daddy had picked in the sweep, which makes me feel very suspicious. No words were needed when the breaking news came through – just a picture of a little girl opening her mouth as wide as possible to proudly show the gap.

Naturally, The Tooth Fairy paid an overnight visit and, as well as leaving a shiny £2 coin under Chloe’s pillow, there was the tiniest letter, wrapped in a sunflower leaf, and signed “Lily”.

Our children always received lovely letters from The Tooth Fairy – secretly crafted in the dead of night by their Mum – and it’s so nice to see that Chloe’s Daddy, Christopher, has inherited the magic touch. Mind you, in our day, the letters had to be hand-written. Today’s Tooth Fairy has the benefit of using a computer with a choice of fonts and the ability to shrink the text at the push of a button.

Anyway, all of this drama inspired me to dig into the Dad At Large archives to the day when Christopher lost his first tooth…

At the time, I was working on the South coast for a few days, and my nerves were jangling because my wife was a week away from having our fourth child. Hundreds of miles from home, I was terrified she’d go into labour and I wouldn’t get home in time.

In the circumstances, you can understand why panic set in when there was a sudden tannoy announcement while I was in the hotel pool: “Would Mr Barron, please go to reception.”

I half dried myself, dressed hurriedly, and dashed to reception, to be told: “There’s an urgent telephone call for you, Mr Barron.”

It was six-year-old Christopher, gushing: “Daddy, you have to come home straight away, something really, really important’s happening!”

“Just tell me, Christopher, has Mummy had the baby?” I pleaded, ashen-faced.

“No, Dad, my first tooth’s fallen out,” he replied, matter-of-factly.

Then, once I’d picked myself up off the floor, he added: “And James told me at school today that it’s £5 a tooth these days!”

“Pull the other one,” I must have thought to myself because the historical records show that The Tooth Fairy could only stretch as far as a quid for the first tooth (because that was special) and then it went down to 50p.

Chloe’s already been on the phone to announce that she has another wobbly tooth. Life goes on…


A real letter from a child to The Tooth Fairy….

“Dear Tooth Fairy, I’m writing to tell you that I don’t believe in The Tooth Fairy anymore. I know it’s you, Mum and Dad, who get the money and put it under my pillow. I’m sorry if this is hard for you but I am 9 now. P.S. I don’t believe in Santa Claus either.”