Many people believe that the act of losing baby teeth carries much significance in a child’s life. In the tradition of Waldorf Education theory, the age at which a child begins to lose teeth is the beginning of a new phase in their life. It marks the beginning of a developmental phase of being more “out” in the world and more curious about the things around them. In my own experience, the ages of 6 and 7 seem like a tremendous time of change, a time when children need to express themselves individually. Losing teeth seems to be the body’s way of making this change, of shedding a layer of its own skin, so to speak. Marking this time in a child’s life with something else besides the traditional monetary reward can be a worthwhile way to celebrate this change.
The Seed Bunny by Jennifer Selby is a delightful children’s story about a bunny who gets a special delivery of a packet of seeds when his first tooth is lost. What a wonderful gift–a packet of seeds–a gift that grows, gives, and encourages children to nurture the Earth and see what it provides for us.
In preparation for the first tooth falling out, making a tooth pillow can be an exciting project for a young child to anticipate the coming event. A pocket can be placed on the outside of the pillow for a seed packet to go in. I like the idea of giving the child something special to hold and keep their tooth in as well, perhaps a small drawstring bag or a tiny jewelry box. This bag or box can be slipped inside the pillow’s pocket.
What you’ll need
• Two pieces of cotton fabric, measuring whatever size you would like your pillow to be (I’ve made mine approximately 8 inches square.)
• Scissors. (Pinking shears can be used to keep the fabric edges from fraying.)
• A sewing machine, if the pillow is to be made by machine.
• A hand-sewing needle
• A piece of felt for the pocket, measuring approximately 6 inches square if you are making an 8-inch pillow. (Adjust the size as you like.)
• Whatever you wish to use for embellishing the pocket, such as additional felt, embroidery, patches, flowers, and so on.
• Stuffing. (I prefer using wool or cotton, but any craft stuffing will work.)
• Dried lavender, mint, or rosemary for a scent inside the pillow (optional).
1. Embellish the felt piece that will be the pocket as desired. Some children might like to embroider their initial, name, or the word tooth on it. Or they might prefer sewing on another piece of fabric, ribbon, or craft flower.
2. Machine- or hand-stitch the pocket to the right side of one of the pillow pieces.
3. For hand sewing: If you can cut the edges of the fabric pieces with pinking shears, and particularly if your young child is doing this part themselves, you can place the two pieces of fabric with the wrong sides facing. Sew the sides of the pillow together, leaving a 2-inch opening on one side for stuffing.
4. For machine sewing: Place the two pieces of fabric with right sides facing, and sew around all four edges of the pillow, leaving a 2-inch opening on one side for stuffing. Turn pillow right side out.
S. Stuff pillow to desired firmness. Adding a bit of lavender, rosemary, or mint to the stuffing can make the pillow extra nice for sleeping with.
6. Close the opening by hand stitching.
7. Wait, wait, wait for that tooth to fall out, then get those seeds ready!
From The Creative Family (Trumpeter, 2008) by Amanda Blake Soule.