Teaching Gratitude Through Food Growing

Gratitude Through Food Growing by plentyofsimple.com

 

HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving comes as a suprise every year here in Canada because we are still weaning off from the long sunny days of our summer. The leaves are just staring to changes colour and things are still relatively green in the Pacific Northwest, but a visit to a pumpkin patch will set autumn into high gear.

There is a sense of quieting down,  yet whatever is now harvesting is just bursting like a fireworks’ finale. I cannot help but feel the abundance myself and blessed that my family gets to be on the receiving end of the work from our community’s noble hardworking farmers.

Being able to expose our boys to this kind of simple abundance is truly a dream come true. In contrast to the place where I grew up in Hong Kong, where not a blade of grass was in sight let alone having the kind of expansive spacial experience such as a farm and fresh clean air, where we are now is truly heavenly.

To have available to me the freedom to navigate their childhood experiences and seeing how it really translate into their character development, I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity to parent outside of the mainstream expectations. It is by no means easy to swim upstream from convention but I am given only one chance to set the foundation of these boys and I will not forsake it.

PUMPKIN PATCH VISIT

A few days ago, I took the boys to visit a beautiful yet simple local farm with a small pumpkin patch. I wanted to find one that is not to too commercial so they would not get distracted by all the bells and whistles and be able to experience what actually grows there.

Due to the flexibility of a homeschooling schedule, I decided to visit this farm on what looked like the last sunny dry day for while. It was a Thursday morning, with most people either at school or at work,  we pretty much had to whole farm to ourselves to explore. We got to frolic in the field of pumpkins and experience first hand all the different varieties, shapes, sizes and colours pumpkins come in. It was simple yet magical. They both picked a favourite pumpkin/gourd, one looked like a goose and one looked like a starfish. It has been a few days now but they are still relishing in the experience and have been playing caretakers to their new “animal” pumpkin friends and more ways I can imagine possible.


TEACHING GRATITUDE THROUGH FOOD GROWING

Aside from all the obvious benefits of supporting your local farmers and farming community, to me it is one of the best and simplist way to demonstrate a deep sense of gratitude to young children.

After every visit to the farms and/or famer’s markets, during every meal or snack time, there comes a great opportunity to talk about how amazing the farmers are (especially when they have met them) and how hard they work in order for us to enjoy such deliciousness.

By taking them to buy directly from the farm or farmers, the benefits are many folds:

1. They get to go on an adventure to experience something of substance.
2. They get to meet the person that is actually responsible for the food that ends up on their table and in their bodies.
3. They get to see what hardworking looks like.
4. They get to understand where food actually comes from.
5. They get to see up close all the cool gadgets, tools and machinery.
6. They get to experience generosity because most of the time, the farmers will hand them something yummy to chew on.
7. Last but not least, they get to feel a sense of wonder and actually experience true miracles before their eyes. I mean really, isnt’ it a miracle how an ity bitty seed can grow into something so interesting looking and such diverse flavours?!

This autumn, see if you can find a farmer for your children to get to know and develop a relationship with them. By doing so, it is actually an act of living sustainably because you will be part of helping a hard working farmer to feel appreciated and in return they will put more love into the food they grow. Full circle.

Much warmth and blessings,
Grace

Finding Our Own Special Tooth Fairy

PlentyOfSimpleToothFairy

LOOSING OUR FIRST TOOTH

Leland, our 5.5 year old boy woke me up in the wee early morning hour last Saturday with a tooth in his hand.

I was in a bit of a shock for it was only a couple of weeks ago that he mentioned a tooth was loose. Both my husband and I were in a bit of denial at the time for we both lost our first tooth much later – more closer to 7 years old.  I thought I had some time before I needed to figure out what to do with this part of our parenting journey.

I was not prepared. I did not grow up with a tooth fairy.  It was not the Chinese way.  At least it was not in my family.  We did not have much folklore and magic around these things.   We had bible stories and a few Chinese telling tales behind some of the traditional festivals.  Most of the time it was told in a very pragmatic linear fashion.

Now it is my turn to decide how my children experience these significant childhood milestones.  For both my husband and I, we feel that loosing one’s milk teeth, especially your first one is exceptionally important.   It should be celebrated in a way that is magical.  We wanted to create a tradition that all of us will look back with fondness.

We did not want our tooth fairy to give money.  We wanted something that magical and poetic, something that is also fun with an element of surprise for the whole family to enjoy together.

Since I could not  improvise from my own childhood experience, I gently took his little tooth and said I will look after it until bedtime.  After breakfast, my husband took both boys out and left me with the rest of the day to figure this out.  So here is a rundown of how it all came together:

SEARCHING FOR OUR SPECIAL TOOTH FAIRY

First, I sent out an “Calling Emergency Tooth Fairy Help!” email out to the wonderful Waldorf Homelearners email group to solicit advice from more like-minded parents for help.

Then I searched for: “Waldorf tooth fairy stories”.  After a few quick website hops around, I came across a beautiful poem about a Tooth Fairy that I felt we all would resonate with.  It is a poem about how the tooth fairy takes the child’s tooth to a Gnome in which he turns it into a crystal.

Here it is (my apologies for not being able to find the original author or this poem). If you know who the author is please let me know!  I also have attached HERE a PDF version for you to download and print out (for your own personal use only of course).

” This night it is a special night
As fairies dance upon the roof.
All the fairies must alight,
For _______ just lost a tooth!

The Fairy Queen gives her commands-
Twelve bright fairies must join hands
Then together in a circle stands
To guard _____ while s/he sleeps.

The Tooth Fairy into the circle leaps
The hidden tooth she takes
Ah, but has far to go
Before ______ awakes.

Three times around the world she flies
Over valleys deep and mountains high;
Skirts the storm clouds thick with thunder,
Wings over waves all wild with wonder.

Deep within their earthly homes
Finally she finds the gnomes,
Who upon the tooth must work
Never once their duty shirk.

Some are hammering, hammering, hammering,
Some the bellows blow
Others sweat at the sweltering forge
And then cry out, “Heigh Ho!”

The tooth’s been turned to a shining stone,
A glimmering, glowing gem
The tooth Fairy takes the gnomes’ good gift,
And bows (curtsies) to all of them.
Before the sun’s first rays are shown,
She returns to _____’s bed,
And then – – – away she’s flown!”

DOWNLOAD PDF PRINT-READY OF THIS POEM >

 

GATHERING THE DETAILS

I looked up the closest gemstone shop and off I went.  Luckily, it turned out to be a large establishment filled with a plethora of all things gems and stones related.   Where do I begin?   I asked the clerk to see if there are any animal stones.  Yes, she said and lead me to this little bin full of tiny little stone animal pendants.  Jackpot!  And I started to dig in.

In a sea of little stone creatures, a beautiful Plume Jasper Dolphin surfaced and I knew it was the one for his favourite stuffy is a dolphine. I also inquired about  what stone is a symbol for this time of year.  A Carnelian is what she said.  I looked up the meaning/representation of it: courage.  Oh how appropriate for this occasion!

The Carnelian and the Plume Jasper Dolphin

The Carnelian and the Plume Jasper Dolphin

I had no idea of what I was going to do with these two pieces of gemstones, but I knew I will figure it out.

As bedtime story hour rolled around, I had made a small orange pillow out of recycled orange wool felt and teeny felt pocket to hold his little tooth in, and the poem ready to present to him.

Tooth Fair Pillow made with recycled wool felt.

Tooth Fair Pillow made with recycled wool felt.

He loved every little detail and went to sleep with the deepest kind of ernest anticipation only a little boy can have.

After our boys went to sleep, my husband and I were giddy preparing for our family’s tooth fairy “offerings”.  We decided that since it is his very first tooth, we will mark it with a special memento for the occasion.  He is going to get both the Carnelian stone and the Plume Jasper Dolphin pendant.  One is going to be from the Gnome and one is going to be from the tooth fairy.

We each wrote out a little note, one “from Gnome” about how he had turned his little tooth into a Carnelian and that it is also a symbol for courage, and the other note “from Tooth Fairy” on marking the significance of this first tooth.

We wrapped each one with a leaf and slipped it into the pocket of his tooth pillow.  I went to sleep that night relieved to have found our family’s special tooth fairy.  Now we can really have fun with helping both our boys build a special Teeth Crystal Collection that they can enjoy.

 

the Plume Jasper Dolphin pendant on a red hemp rope.

the Plume Jasper Dolphin pendant on a red hemp rope.

the two mementos for our boy's first tooth

the two mementos for our boy’s first tooth

 

It is such a great feeling to know that we can help carve out some of the childhood magic for our little boys and that the four of us will grow up having the same memories for these special occasions.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – A SUMMARY

Here a quick recap of the components to create our tooth fairy, in case you may want to create something similar for your family:

1. Find a special little rock crystal (s) from your lock gem shop.  They are usually under $2 for such small size.  Note:  I would start finding them NOW if your kids have yet to loose their teeth.  You never know when they fall out on you.

2.  Sew up a simple pillow, I made Leland’s out of recycled wool felt and a little remnant piece of cotton print fabric, and wool stuffing.

3. I took a piece of wool cutout, folded up the sides and sewed it together to make a little pouch for the actual tooth.  I took the pouch and wrote the date on it and stored it in a little box in my own special secret cupboard.

4. A leaf from the garden for wrapping – no need for paper or tape!

5. Some hemp string for tying.

What was your tooth fairy like?  Did you come up with something different from your childhood?   I’d love to hear your story for I am so curious to know how others celebrate their children’s teeth.

Until next time.

Much warmth,
Grace

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