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Personalized Gifts for Children – The Tooth Fairy Pillow

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Beautiful Tooth Fairy Pillow for Children

 Timeless Pillows has added a wonderful new pillow to the collection – A Tooth Fairy Pillow.  Why is this pillow a special and enjoyable gift for children? 

Timeless Pillows oct_2013_v2-4 The tooth fairy is a fantasy figure of early childhood. The folklore states that when a child loses a baby tooth, if he or she places it beneath the bed pillow, the tooth fairy will visit while the child sleeps, replacing the lost tooth with a small payment.

The tradition of leaving a tooth under a pillow for the tooth fairy to collect is practiced in various countries. Examples of how some families in the United States observe tooth fairy customs are described in the “Kid Logic” episode of the radio show This American Life, on June 22, 2001.

While parents are often unsure of themselves when promoting the fiction of the tooth fairy, the majority of children report positive outcomes. Upon learning the tooth fairy is not real, 75% of children reported liking the custom; 20% were neutral and 3% were not in favor and said they did not intend to continue the practice when they became parents.

Parents tend to view the myth as providing comfort for children in the loss of their tooth. Research finds that belief in the tooth fairy may provide such comfort to a child experiencing fear or pain resulting from the loss of a tooth. Mothers especially seem to value a child’s belief as a sign that their “baby” is still a child and is not “growing up too soon”. By encouraging belief in a fictional character, parents allow themselves to be comforted that their child still believes in fantasy and is not yet “grown up”.

Children often discover the tooth fairy is imaginary as part of the 5- to 7-year shift, often connecting this to other gift-bearing imaginary figures (such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny).

There are lots of ancient folk methods of disposing of lost teeth, and lots of superstitions surrounding the teething process, both the initial arrival of baby teeth (“milk teeth”), and their exfoliation and replacement by the adult (permanent) teeth.

There’s a tradition from 18th century France of a “tooth mouse,” likely based on a fairy tale, La Bonne Petite Souris, in which a fairy changes into a mouse (or perhaps the other way around) to help the good queen defeat the evil king. The mouse hides under a pillow to taunt the king, and punishes him by knocking out all his teeth. Perhaps this was the origin of the tooth fairy, but no one knows for sure.

The tooth fairy as we now know her didn’t make an appearance until the early 1900s, as a generalized “good fairy” with a professional specialization.  The child loses a baby tooth, which is put under the pillow at night, and the tooth fairy exchanges it for a present, usually money but sometimes candy.

The tooth fairy grew slowly in popularity over the next few decades. The Tooth Fairy, a three-act playlet for children by Esther Watkins Arnold, was published in 1927. Lee Rogow’s story “The Tooth Fairy” appeared in 1949 and seems to be the first children’s story written about the tooth fairy. She became widely popular from the 1950s onward, with a veritable eruption of children’s books, cartoons, jokes, etc., including more focus on children’s dental hygiene. Parents cheerfully bought into the idea and the tooth fairy became part of family life. The 1980s saw the commercialization and merchandising of the tooth fairy, with special pillows, dolls, banks, etc.

Tooth fairy economics have been closely studied. Rosemary Wells, acknowledged as the world’s leading tooth fairy authority, tracked the exchange rate for teeth from 1900 to 1980 against the consumer price index, and found that the tooth fairy kept up with inflation. Another survey in the mid 1990s claimed that the going rate had increased to nearly two bucks from a dime 25 years previously.

Writing in American Folklore (edited by Jan Brunvand, 1996), Ms. Wells noted the significance of rites of passage for children. Most children start losing their baby teeth around age 5 or 6, coincidentally the time when they’re starting school. Shedding teeth and can be annoying and frightening but is also a sign of growing up. Ms. Wells suggests that giving a child a treat for the lost tooth is a way of softening the scariness surrounding the process.

The tradition is fun and when a child finds money or a treat in exchange for a baby tooth, it is a tradition that adds excitement and pleasure to the loss of a tooth and rite of passage into middle childhood.  The tooth fairy pillow by Timeless Pillows adds a special memory to this tradition by offering a pillow that then becomes a keepsake pillow.  Enjoy the tradition!

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