This is the headline that I imagine while contemplating the various uses for my children's baby teeth and saved first hair-cut remnants: Mom Frightens Fellow Jewel Shoppers with Necklace of Human Hair and Children's Teeth.
I guess the reasonable solution for each lock of baby hair is to tape it into a baby book like my mother did for me; however, I'm still stuck with a pile of discarded, yellowed baby teeth, which rattle around in my nightstand drawer every time I open it.
I know what to do with used eye-glasses, but I've never seen a collection bin for used teeth at my dentist's office. The City of Aurora periodically hosts electronics recycling days; however, I'm pretty sure that teeth are not on the list of acceptable items. Target has brightly-colored plastic bins standing in a single row like nice little recycling soldiers near the entrance. Each one has a picture with text to remind us to recycle plastic bags, paper & aluminum cans. Not one of the bins has a picture of a tooth on it.
It is clearly time for me to tap into my inner-Martha Stewart. Now, I must warn you that my inner-Martha isn't really much like the real Martha at all. Nope, mine doesn't have any innate crafting skills, and I haven't been allowed near a container of paste since the kindergarten paste-eating incident of 1982. My inner-Martha has regular-colored thumbs with not even a hint of green and an aptitude for burning the bottoms of all oven-prepared casseroles while under-cooking their middles. I can't thread a needle nor construct a durable child's play-set out of common household items found in my pantry.
After much contemplation and a glass (or two) of wine, I have finally discovered new uses for all those old baby teeth:
1. As we are still young, hip parents trying to score that coveted invitation to the cool playgroup or book club, we clearly cannot wear jewelry made out of baby teeth. However, grandmother's can! They can wear anything, especially if it is made from their grandchild. Imagine the delight on Grandma's face when she opens the jewelry box and spies a necklace made from her beloved grandchild's adorable incisors and bicuspids! And what is in the next box? Matching molar earrings! Save your child's canine teeth and decorate a key-chain ring for that old dog, Grandpa!
2. Use them to create the perfect holiday table centerpieces. Grab some clear glasses from your kitchen cabinet. (Use champagne glasses for elegant occasions and mix-matched glasses for casual entertaining.) Place baby teeth in the bottom of each glass, distributing the teeth evenly between glasses. Place a small candle on top of the teeth. Light the candle and enjoy instant ambiance!
3. Dashing to a party and realize that your wine cabinet is empty, leaving you without a last minute hostess gift? No problem. Grab a glass bottle of beer, chug it, remove the label and fill with baby teeth and glitter (to make it fancy). Cut a flower from your neighbor's garden and stick in the bottle. Your unique hostess gift will be talked about for years!
4. Every Halloween, I always seem to run out of candy for the trick-or-treaters. Instead of dumping a handful of coins, buttons and paperclips into the orange plastic pumpkins, why not delight the kids with a ghoulish surprise - human teeth!
5. Creating picture frames out of macaroni noodles is so old-school. Add a new twist and substitute baby teeth for noodles!
6. Place teeth in an empty, relatively clean jar of spaghetti sauce with a note that says, "HELP!" Bury in the backyard for a future mystery that your home's next owners will unearth when they finally decide to landscape your neglected backyard.
So maybe this list isn't the most sane way of using and discarding all of those once-precious-now-creepy baby teeth, but is saving them until your child is grown the best option?
Do you save only the first lost tooth for each child? Or do you sort the teeth according to color, clarity, shape, and size? What would your future grown adult child say when presented with their teeth? Would they even want their former teeth? Would you want your childhood not-so-pearly-white chompers back from your parents? How would you even give the teeth to your adult child? Wrapped in a box like a present? Haphazardly, tossed on the counter during one of your many visits? In a baggy that you discretely pass to them like a former acquaintance would palm you a business card at your reunion? Would you arrange the teeth to spell out the number 30 on top of their thirtieth birthday cake?
I'm out of ideas: What will you do with your child's baby teeth? Or if you have adult children, what did you do with their baby teeth? Did you save them all? How/when did you give them to your adult children? Amaze me with your loving creativity before I bury them in an empty soap box in the far corner of our backyard next to the two hamster coffins and 3 finch coffins. (We clearly don't have much luck with small animals.)