The Sweater That Keeps On Giving: Knitting As A Parenting Tool

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Hello there!  Good Sunday evening.  How has 2015 been for you so far?
I am amazed that I have kept this #YourTurnChallange of posting on this blog 7 days in a row.  It had been in unexpectedly exhilarating week to be able to stick to a promise to myself and following through with this challenge.

Today I want to share with you one of my favourite activity and to me it is also an amazing parenting tool: knitting.

My earliest and fondest memory on knitting was from my kindergarden friend’s mother.  She was a ferocious and prolific knitter.  She would knit a whole kids sized sweater in a day.  My favourite thing to do when I go to play at their house was to sit next to her and just watch her hands and needles go.  I loved and cherished every sweater she made for me and I always felt sad whenever I got too big for them.

Not until after I became a mother, I learned to look at knitting as something outside than just a craft, that it is more than just something to do for grannies and people who have extra time to have a hobby.   Knitting now has become a nurturing and healing activity. I never realize that something seem so trivial can be so powerful.

HOW DO YOU HAVE TIME TO KNIT WHEN YOU ARE TAKING CARE OF YOUNG CHILDREN?

I know right?

After I woke up to the fact that children (as young as from birth) do not need to be “entertained”, I took to knitting as my way to have a little time to sit down in between changing diapers, cleaning the house, manage everyday household chores, feeding and putting the little ones to bed etc.

But mostly I love knitting because actually has these amazing qualities:

1.  To show (especially the in the fast paced first world) that some things are made by hand.
2.  To illustrate that whatever the end result may be, it takes time.
3.  To demonstrate perseverance.
4.  To instill virtues like patience and delayed gratification.
5.  An opportunity to show children that joy is in the process, in the doing of.
6.  And if you are knitting something for your kids, they will feel loved, valued and cherished in ways that buying them a toy can never convey.

KNITTING AND TANTRUMS GO HAND IN HAND

I must say I have knitting to thank during many episodes of toddler tantrums.  It depends on the need of my boys (whether they need to be held or not), when they are expressing their huge feelings, I often sit down beside them and would start knitting.  Instead of trying to talk to them or ask them a ton of questions,  I just keep steady, grounded, knit and wait patiently until they have let it all out.  I would remember to breathe deeply during these episodes while knitting and send out a kind, loving and gentle energies towards the whirlwind beside me.  Knitting would help me stay strong, focus and anchored for my children, which is the what they truly need when they are in despair or confusion.

THE SWEATER THAT KEEPS ON GIVINGIMG_5130

With all that being said, I have this one sweater that I have been knitting over and over again that I want to share with you today.  It is a classic raglan top-down sweater, pattern designed by a wonderful Canadian designer Jane Richmond.  To me it is great for both girl or boy.

This had been the sweater that both my boys have worn day in and day out, in all four seasons (I always use the same wool yarn) in the past 3 years.  When it comes to dressing, especially with children, I like to keep things simple and options minimal.  So both boys have only a few pairs of pants each, a couple of basic wool under layers and 4-5 plain-jane short and long-sleeved T shirts for the rest of the year.

This sweater goes on top of every outfit and we layer up/down with winter jackets, vests, hats and or scarfs according to the seasons.  This pattern is so easy to follow,  it is so rewarding for our whole family.

If you are looking for something more than a scarf or hat, maybe you can try this sweater on for size?

Have a great week.  Until next post.

Much love and warmth,
Grace

 

A Letter to New Mothers

Hello there, I can’t believe this will be my 6th post in a row this week.  If you have not been following, I am almost at the end of a creative habits challenge – to post everyday for one week called the #YourTurnChallenge.

Instead of going with a plan, I have decided to release some of the many many things that I had wanted to write about but had placed in the back burner of my mind for reasons like:  “Oh I’ll need to take beautiful photos for this topic, or will people actually be confused because this has nothing to do with parenting even thought I feel a strong urge to share, or oh I need to fix this theme up because the font is driving me nuts,  (I am a designer, I can’t help but find a need to make everything and anything look and feel better) basically your typical perfectionist way to thinking.

This week I have committed to letting it go and to free myself from all the things that had been holding me back from sharing and not caring what other people may think, I feel empowered.

Today I want to send out some love and big hugs to all the new mothers out there struggling to make it through the day/night.  Ones with hearts that are frightened but also filled with love for their newborns yet still physically a mess from recovering from just having birthed a human.  Hello there, this post is for you.

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ITS ALL A BLUR ISN’T IT

My heart goes out to you.  There is nothing easy or simple about being a mother for the first time.  For me, it felt like being out there all alone like of the story of Jesus out in the desert for 40 days but instead of being tested with temptations, it was my strength and resolve that was up for questioning.

Yes of course everybody wants to help you, that is our society’s instinct to welcome and help new mothers and babies but are they really helping you in a way that you felt you needed to be helped?  That is questionable because you probably don’t even know what kind of help to ask for yourself.

Outside of the trivial things like food, laundry, changing diapers, holding the baby while you go to the bathroom/shower, not one person can truly help you get more sleep or nurse your baby.  You and your boobs are up for bat for what feels like never ending and technically, this all is physically abusive in my opinion.

Yes you can be in bliss but feel like crap at the same time!

I can safely say that this first newborn business is the most overwhelming feeling that one can ever experience.  No one can prepare you for this.  You can read all the books you want, buy all the things you think you need, none of it will help you feel less overwhelmed and that is the truth.

So today I want to acknowledge to all those that are feeling bogged down and tired with some encouraging words:

  • wrap yourself in a protective bubble for the next 3 months and feel as bad and good as you need to feel.  Cry with your baby.  Keep only the people you feel you can be vulnerable with around you for the first 40 days (minimum), and if that person is not your mother, she can only stay for short visits.  I know this may sound harsh but it is the time to kick start and unleash your mama bear instincts.  Protect your family at all costs, even if you may offend somebody close to you.
  • there will be a lot of opinions but know that your gut instinct will always win.  This is your baby, one that had been with you and not any other person for 9 months, you know him/her the best as he/she know you as well.
  • remember to let people know if you are feeling sad or scared and go for a walk to get fresh air even though the baby may be crying non-stop because they need a mother that knows when to say no and be good to herself.
  • drink lots of soup!  Like all day everyday for the 6 months (at least!!) if you can.  I know it may sound crazy if you are not Chinese but since now Bone Broths are so hip and trendy, I don’t feel like I have to prove my point as much as I used to.  Which brings me to another great blog post idea – to share with you all my go-to easy-as-hell postpartum (or not, for I still make/drink/eat today) soups.  I truly believe it can be a huge asset against PPD (postpartum depression).  Here is one recipe I found that is quite good to get you started with.
  • sleep WITH your baby.  Please I beg you to let go of all the fears and scary “incidences” portrayed in the media about co-sleeping.  Cribs are a first world modern invention, in my opinion, just something extra you have to spend money on.  Enjoy cuddling up to your precious gift this most fleeting time.  Soak up all that amazingly intoxicatingly sweet baby smell.  Treasure and devour this time with gusto.We never had a crib.  There was really no need.  If you have a high bed, just lower it and live like this for a few years.  You and your family will live. (and later on, if you need more room in your bed, add a little cotton futon next the bed on the floor, put a nice wool blanket (you can get one of those well used one from the thrift stores, get it cleaned and use that is a mattress protector, and put the sheets on top.  Voila, you have an all natural, non-toxic baby bed that also fits you and there will be no smells or mess if pee goes all over it, just wash the sheets and hang dry the wool blanket and start all over again.  (Oh gosh, I just realize I have to write a whole post on why wool is THE BEST for baby bedding!!)
  • keep your sleeping quarters really dim and as low light as possible.  Your baby had been living in total darkness since conception, the harshness of daylight in itself would be so uncomfortable, let alone bright interior lights.  We had dimmers put on most of our interior lights for this reason.  This will help with the quality of your sleep (if you do get to sleep).
  • Embrace the heck out of the dirty messy-ness of your baby, even if it gets all over you.  Have lots of thing towels around for wipe ups.  There are much dirtier and smellier things in this world than baby poop and urine.
  • in keeping with the theme of this blog of keeping things simple, most people do not believe us when we tell them that we have never used baby wipes. ( I always thought about my mother and what she had used when my brother and I were young, just soap and water and not a drop of cream)I rather you spend the money for baby wipes on pampering your own skin!
  • read this amazing post on my #1 favourite parenting blog.  Just scour her archives when you are up in the middle of the night.  I owe so much to Carrie Dentler’s words.  She is a serious inspiration and I owe her for helping me feel right about my parenting direction and choices.  Oh and of course THIS post.
  • I LOVED the sling mostly because I love being hands free.  Spend some time looking up tutorials (here is one for ring sling, this one is with a wrap, which I loved using especially when I wanted to cook ) on how to nurse your baby hands free.  Work with your baby and practice finding that special position that works for you both.  This will really help you get out of the feeling of feeling “trapped” with a baby 24/7.
  • Do not forget about your partner.  He or she is most likely feeling just as scared and overwhelmed as you are.  Stay close and keep the conversation inclusive.  Keep them in the loop.  Empower them because they are the most important part of raising this new baby, besides your boobs.
  • Last but not least, when the crying is relentless, and baby is fed, pooped, diapers changed, hold them close and as they cry, close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize yourself as a rock in a running river as the water moves through you and you, the rock, does not waiver.  This was inspired by a written piece I was given by a Waldorf educator, which helped me figure out how to weather the ebbs and flows of a rapidly growing and changing little human.  When I find the article, I will post it here.

I’d love to hear from you if you happen to be reading this (maybe in the middle of the night and feeling desperate to connect, please drop me email (grace at plentyofsimple.com) or comment below.  Let me know if you have any questions or just get the fear out be writing about it.  I want to lend a helping ear.

Until tomorrow.

Much love and warmth,
Grace

 

 

 

 

MISSING: Purposeful Work for Young Children

Hey there, its the 5 day in a row posting here!  This writing a post for 7 consecutive day from the #YourTurnChallenge is quite the regimen to behold.

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Today I want to share with you a topic that really changed my way of seeing children and therefore it has change my life.

Before kids came into my life I was not really interested in them.  I never babysat.  I might hold an infant for about 10 minutes but I always thought I did not habour natural nurturing instincts like other girl friends I knew.  I was always very content with the idea of not having children and just enjoy being a modern working woman.

The story of how I got here, not only a mother to two boys but a homeschooling mama to boot (gasp!) should be written in another post for I want to focus on sharing with you one of the biggest lightbulb moments my my parenting journey.

“Young children from infancy do not need to be entertained.”

Yes that was the message I got – and really needed to hear from a “professional” – on the first day I walked into a Waldorf parent and tot class, nineteen months into motherhood.  While before that day, I was fortunate enough to have encountered some amazing resources (oh I will share those!) that had lead me to find “Waldorf” and the philosophies of Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Well, if children do not need to be entertained, then what do we do with them at home all day long?! (That is if you are at home with them).  That was the question that came up right after that statement from this amazing Waldorf early childhood educator.

“Young children need to do purposeful work, this is how you help them build their true will and their sense of self.”

Now please note that the “true will” is different than “willful”.  If anything a willful child is actually a child that lacks true will.  This topic was so well explained to me when I went to a lecture by Kim John Payne – the author of the game-changer book Simplicity Parenting.  (I think this is a must read for all parents)  Sorry, I digress so…

The big question:

What is it that we do with children if we are not to entertain them or find them something to be entertained by?

The big answer:

We engage them in doing purposeful work.

What is purposeful work we ask?

Well, isn’t that what is really missing in our modern culture today, especially in first world countries where knowledge and winning trumps everything?

Purposeful work is in my opinion the hallmark work of building true character with strength, values and empathy in our children–and for the rest of their lives– without having to actually verbally teach it.  That is the glorious beauty of engaging your young ones in purposeful, meaningful work.

What actually is meaningful work one would ask.  Here is a list of example of what it may be:

  • washing dishes
  • cleaning the floor
  • laundering clothes
  • ironing (yes! tell me who irons these days?  Who do you know has the patience to do this job today? Ironically – no pun intended – ironing actually is one of the best activity to develop focus, patience, hand-eye coordination, and last but not least something that most people complain about our youth today for not having: followthrough.  Yes ironing is actually something that can build character!!  Oh but it is so hot and it is too dangerous, I will not let me kid touch an iron.  Well of course you are not going to let a baby or 3 year old actually iron but if you actually do ironing in front of them on a regular basis as part of your weekly rhythm, out of the blue one day when they are 4.5 years old, they will ask if they can use the actual iron and be able to iron and fold napkins better than your grandmother.  True story. )
  • cleaning windows with newspaper (with vinegar diluted in water)
  • taking care of the garden ie. pulling weeds, raking leaves, mixing soil etc.
  • grow food (yes you can do this even if you don’t have a garden or balcony)
  • caring for pets – everything from grooming, taking them for walks, feeding them.
  • setting the table
  • help prepare meals.

Oh the list can go on.  I’ve been asked about how one can make an infant, preschooler actually do purposeful work?  The answer is that YOU actually are doing this purposeful work in front of them while they are by your side shadowing you while they…the drum roll…PLAY ON THEIR OWN!!! (Refer to my post on letting kids be bored and here as well.)

Of course the icing on top would be that you sing while you do these “chores”, but that is asking for a lot isn’t it?!  Okay one lightbulb moment at a time.

I would love to elaborate more on this for I love talking and helping people figure out how to be purposeful at home with young children but it is Friday evening and I am going to celebrate the end of a hard working week hanging out with my love.  Yes the kids are sound asleep and peace has reigned in our home.

Until tomorrow.

Much love and warmth,
Grace

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Feeding Your Kids Boredom, Another Cornerstone of NOFOMO Living

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Here it goes, day 2 of my #YourTurnChallenge
(I am challenging myself to post everyday this week – so bare with me, very little editing is done.  Apologize in advance the spelling and grammatical errors.  I really want to practice the “just ship” discipline. )

Many people would not believe me when I first tell them our boys do have not watched a day of television, a lick of computer time and played with my phone, let alone a learning app on the iPad.

But when our friends and family experience them in person, (they are six and three and a half years old) they do feel there is something quite different with the way they interact with the world and mostly they cannot put a finger as to why that is.

This is not a post bragging about how amazing my children is. This is a post on our experience and objective observation on the effects of our No Media discipline.

I too had my doubts. For a long time I just chalked up my first born as one of those rare kids that is naturally good at playing on his own, by chance. We lucked out.

But when the second boy came along, I began to realize soon after his birth that this is not the case OR that I have won the lottery twice.

After six years into this discipline, I feel I can safely say that the No Media Policy (for the kids only, we do use our mobile devices but rarely in their faces, and watch movies when they are asleep) that our commitment to trying is out is paying off in thousand folds.

Most people don’t see how it can be different, they think that kids are kids, and like candy, they just have to experience it somehow, somewhere. Such is life.

I am speaking merely to the early childhood phase of course. I know things will change as they get older but during these foundation years, this kind of discipline we are upholding really does play a huge part on our children’s overall development.

Here is what we have learned and observed:

1. They can keep their attention span for a long time on any given subject of interest. From watching someone cook, to a construction worker working on the siding, to a person playing the violin on the street.

2. Their imagination is pure and dreamy. I would know that almost everything that they express is authentic to their character coming forth.

3. Their speech is clear and articulate. They don’t talk like a cartoon characters.

4. On a scientific level, boredom will help with a young child in the enrichment of the wiring of their brains, their neural plasticity.

Specifically from new born up to 4 (approx), the most optimal way to protect and aid in the synaptic refinement to their full potential is to keeping their environment as serene as possible.

In other words, less is really much more than we think, especially for a young child, contrary to how our modern society pushes the more is more philosophy.

In Dr. Lise Eliot’s book “ What’s Going On In There?, she mentioned :

“ The initial wiring of a particular brain region (the period of synapse overproduction) marks the onset of a particular ability, such as vision in the first few months and language in the second year. But it is the prolonged pruning period that fixes the overall quality of that ability, because this is when experience –translated into neural activity–decides which connections will be preserved and, consequently, how the brain will be permanently wired for certain ways of thinking, perceiving, and acting.

As long as an excess number of synapses are present, the brain remains maximally plastic and can develop in a variety of ways. But once those excess synapses are gone, the critical period is over, and it must make do with its existing circuitry; there is no trading up for a faster computer.”

So the next time your little kid is looking bored and staring out the window or in “space”, know that there is a WHOLE LOT going on in there and please do not “snap” them out of it.

5. Through boredom, we are giving them a gift of the space to rise above it and come up with new ideas on their own. Hence, in no time, especially when you are not afraid of “letting them be bored” from an early age, they will be come so skilled in playing on their own.

6. Last but not least. I have yet to teach our boys the actual word “bored”. So in many ways, they have yet to experiece it cognitively therefore they have never nagged and whined about being bored. In other words, what you don’t know won’t hinder you.

Now imagine how nice it is to be able to be in the same room as 2 toddlers and we are all doing our own thing together without the television on? Well, I really want to share with those of you who do not think it is possible that it is. It just takes the vision and the willingness to try out this discipline for at least a week. I can guarantee that peace will reign upon your household, and much longer than a tv program to say the least!

Go on and unplug that TV and iDevices. Just like weening off anything, the first few days will be tough but have the faith and know that in doing so, you will see a difference in the overall energy in your household and you will not want to turn it back on again…until they turn ten years old, maybe.

Much warmth,
Grace

NOFOMO living + the Your Turn Challenge

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Hello there!  Happy 2015.  As the title may suggest, we are a NOFOMO (No-Fear-Of-Missing-Out) kind of family.

My husband and I have never been the new years resolution type but we do love a good challenge when it comes to self/family improvement.

I stumbled upon this interesting “just ship” challenge through a Seth Godin blog post about blogging something everyday for one week called the #YourTurnChallenge.  So here it goes.  I’m going to try posting everyday this week.

I did ponder for a while about what I want to write about everyday this week.  Honestly, there are so much I want to share with you about the interesting experiences we have been going through as a family ever since we have committed to a not-fear-of-missing-out way of life with ourselves and with raising our two little boys.

So on this first post, I want to make a disclaimer/manifesto about some of the topics I will be sharing.

1.  Just because we do live with habits that may not be the mainstream, it does not mean we do not hang out with people who enjoy the things we don’t.

2. We live in the suburbs but we do not frequent big box stores.

3. Our boys had been raised (so far) in what I would describe as “Analog”.  They are six and three and a half years old and never have they watched a TV program and/or used the computer – that includes iPads and handheld devices.  My husband and I want to do an experiment/challenge to see how hard it is to be completely media free with children.

With that being said – re: our analog kids, both my husband and I LOVE and work in the tech field.  So we are NOT luddites.

4.  Even though we live by a simple is better, less is more, slow is awesome philosophy, we do not hate money, people with money, beautiful things, things and ideas of quality or people who like facebook etc.

5.  We are interested exploring how learning and education can be different than what my husband and I grew up with – going to school, earning your “stripes” and one’s place in the world through this tradition system.  In other words we have become a homeschooling family and I will be sharing a lot of our NOFOMO experience through the insights of homeschooling and/or one can use the term unschooling.

6.  Last but not least – we are two first generation Chinese/Canadian kids (which spent our early years in Hong Kong) that got together when we were in our mid-twenties and feed our kids chicken feet, play them Dustin O’ Halloran in the car and we drink bone broths (almost) everyday not because it is cool.

I look forward to writing more tomorrow!

Much warmth,
Grace

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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