"for Totino is on the waaaay....."
Well, he's on the way if you've got a little one in Italy who has recently lost a baby tooth.
It's amazing to me that people around the world can share several traditions/beliefs/stories all based on the same premise, but that these same tales have totally different characters/twists/outcomes. Not that we share all things - there's no Easter Bunnie in Italy - but there is a Tooth Fairy.
All this comes to mind due to the presence of a favorite little man in our house. He is 7...."AND A HALF!"....he always corrects me when I shorten up his existence to only 7. He is up to 5 on the number of baby teeth missing. He tells me that the Tooth Fairy appeared the morning after the first tooth went the way of all baby teeth and that he was $6.00 richer. "SIX BUCKS?", I gasped. He then informed me that the tooth right next to the first one also came out the same day so he cashed in on a great deal. The next three teeth must not have been as valuable to old TF because she dropped the price to a dollar a tooth. Still sounds pretty good to me, a child of the 50's, when a quarter a tooth was a pirate's bounty.
All this brings back memories of Tuscany and friends who live there. In 1997, I was fortunate to meet Fabrizio and Carolyn Ferrucci (www.bardantechianti.com). At the time, they had two small daughters who were 2 and 6. The older girl, Francesca, had lost a couple teeth. I asked her if the Tooth Fairy had visited. She told me that "Totino" had come while she was asleep. After more questions, I learned that the Italian Tooth Fairy was a "topo"..... a mouse!
Apparently, the most commonly accepted belief is based on an old fairy tale where a mouse changes into a fairy to help a good queen defeat an evil king, hiding under the nasty monarch's pillow to torment him and then knocking out all his teeth. Rather violent, but it makes for a great story.
Sometimes, Totino leaves a little gift instead of money, but a lucky child might receive both. I am guessing this would depend on how prepared the parents are when the tooth in question comes out.
I told our young prince the story of the Italian Tooth Mouse and he thought it was "cool". Then he proceeded to tell me that he hoped I would bring back one of these mouse fairies the next time I go to Tuscany. I asked why he'd want one since he already has a Tooth Fairy and a sweet deal. He said, "I think the Italy one is better....it gives money AND a present!". He's always thinking. Here he is with missing teeth and a new haircut:
So, there you go. You can incorporate the Totino idea instead of the Fairy if you're so inclined. I think I'll stick with the Fairy since I have enough trouble with mice finding their way into our country house. And, so far, none of these critters have offered to leave anything behind but droppings and my frayed nerves. Happily, their survival rate is very very low.
And, if you're so inclined, you can incorporate a Tuscan tour with me. It's quite simple. All you do is check out the 2012 tours at: www.enchantedtuscanytours.com
and then get in touch with me. I do all the rest. You just have fun.
And if you happen to lose a tooth while there, I'll make sure Totino knows about it.