The summer my nephew was 5, he started to get the ‘wiggles’. No, not those annoyingly happy men that sing a song about pretty much everything, but rather the toothy kind. His middle bottom teeth started to get lose, and with them, all the excitement of the impending visit of the fabled ‘Tooth Fairy’, and all her magical money and gifts. I am not sure when the trend to leave big cash and even gifts in exchange for a child’s milk teeth began, all I remember is that I was thrilled to get a whole twenty-five cents!
In any case, as those little teeth got more and more wobbly, his anticipation of the blessed event of their loss became all consuming. Enter after school ‘Timbits’ Soccer League, a spanking cool yellow and black jersey with the lucky number 13 on the back, and a gaggle of hyper five year-olds that would trail after the small soccer balls like a herd. There was no strategy, no keeping score, the boys would orbit the general movement of the ball – some closely, others in wide looping circles. Basically, it was hysterical.
At one such ‘game’, and I use that term rather loosely – pun intended, my nephew was off circling the herd like a wee buzzard, when all the sudden he collided with one of his best friends [I am still not certain if they were on the same, or opposing teams]. He seemed to recover well, as kids do, and just kept going, until suddenly he stopped, stuck his filthy [I am certain] finger into his mouth, and suddenly burst out in tears. He ran over to us on the sidelines, sobbing so terribly, we at first had no clue what had happened. Soon things became very clear.
I was there with my brother-in-law, filling in for my sister, my little guys ‘Mama’, and ready to tend to snack duty. When my nephew came over, we had to calm him down to get him to speak clearly and explain the problem. It was quickly revealed, much to my nephew’s horror, that he had somehow swallowed his first loose tooth. It was gone, likely never to be seen again, at least I wasn’t going looking for it, if you know what I mean.
My brother-in-law was frantic. He isn’t really great at calming his son, particularly in the face of new uncharted mini-disasters. He tried to tell him it would be okay, and not to worry, but my nephew wasn’t buying it. He was distraught, certain that the tooth fairy would never ‘pay up’ without the treasured tooth, and how would he explain that he had swallowed it? It was definitely a dilemma, but I know my nephew well, I am very close to him, and I know the way his mind works. He needed reassurance, and he needed an explanation that would seem rational.
Enter ‘Super Auntie’, I just need the cape. I took his quivering little hand, noting that his coach was looking for his lost player, and I pulled him to stand right in front of me. I was calm, I was smiling, and the answer came to me like magic. “Honey”, I said reassuringly,”there is nothing to get upset about. People swallow their teeth all the time. Don’t you know that swallowing a tooth is the fastest way to get it to the Tooth Fairy? When you swallow it, it is like a direct deposit!” He got a slightly confused look on his face, so I continued. My brother-in-law hanging on my every word, nodding his agreement. “When you swallow a tooth, it goes right to the Tooth Fairy, it’s magic after all! She just suddenly feels a tug in her pocket, and when she looks inside, your tooth is right there with her, and she knows who it came from, too!”
He looked at me, too smart not to be skeptical, but he seemed to accept my ‘brilliant’ [though I say it myself] explanation. His only concern, “how will she know to bring me my presents.” Yes, he said presents, as in plural, I don’t know who he was talking to, but I opted to let that be his parent’s problem.
“She already has your tooth, so she doesn’t need to make a trip to come get it first, she will know to bring you a special treat, you just have to leave her a note to be sure”, I said with authority. And so it was, a scribbled 5 year-old’s note left under his pillow, no drama, no fuss, and sure enough his parents came through, in spades. Seriously, he actually got cash AND a new game for his Nintendo Wii. What is that all about? I am beginning to think I was low balled when I was his age.
In the mean time, a suitable tooth fairy pillow was found and placed by his bedside for future reference. However, at this point, he was more than happy to just swallow the teeth, and repeated the ‘Soccer Game Bump’ swallow with the next tooth too.
Kids are hysterical, people without kids have no idea. I don’t have any of my own, and still I find that they are endlessly entertaining, they all have their pet issues and silly quirks, and they have really unique little minds that have entirely unique ways of processing information. And information comes flying at them at an astounding rate in those early years, far faster than most adults realize and certainly faster than most could accommodate once they hit their early twenties and beyond.
The point of this favorite true tale of mine is that those precious little Teeny Tiny teeth are as rare as pearls, and if by chance you end up with a wee one that does not swallow them all before the Tooth Fairy can arrive, the very best thing you can do is get them a special little pillow or door ornament that has a small pocket where that tooth can be placed in anticipation of the magical visitor in the night. Now adults will know that most active and healthy kids sleep like logs, they won’t even hear you, must less recognize you sticking your hand under their pillow to *ahem* be certain that the tooth is in position for the night. But for those of you who have light sleepers on your hands, a pillow that hangs from a door knob or hook on the wall is the ticket. The Tooth Fairy can’t possibly miss it, and it is easy for her [or him] to get to as well.
Etsy to the rescue once again, with heaps of precious and unique, often personalized pillows especially for the collection and trade of Teeny Tiny teeth. I remember my mother making one for me back in the 1970s, it was pink gingham, it had eyelet lace around the edges, and the tiny pocket had my initial hand-embroidered upon it. I actually still have it, come to think of it, it stayed inside my bedside table drawer for more than a decade, and when I moved out, I just couldn’t bear to part with it. It held the magic and the memories of being a little girl, of believing in fairies, and of a mother who wanted to make the whole process special, even if it was just a shiny quarter left in the pocket come morning. That was enough for a packet of POP ROCKS, or a Lik-M-Aid, just what ever kid needs to bath those new adult teeth coming in, sugar!
Make memories with your toddler or preschooler that will last them a lifetime, whether they keep the pillow itself, or just a picture of it stuffed with that first prized tooth. The days of believing in magic, be it the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or Elijah on Passover – those days are gone before you know it, so be prepared by grabbing up the perfect Tooth Fairy pillow before you need it. And remember, swallowing a tooth is ‘Direct Deposit’ and a wonderful feat in itself. Just make sure they know this special circumstance applies only to baby teeth, and no other animal, mineral, vegetable, or plastic do-dad that they can fit in their mouths.
There are pillows for every bedroom decor, personal taste, and price point – from the $6 to $25 USD range for the most part, but some as dear as $50 USD or more for special touches like personalization. These images all contain links to the Etsy store in the caption, so click on whatever strikes your fancy, and explore these amazing Etsy Stores and many more with equally fabulous Teeny Tiny tooth treasures