Monday, May 13, 2013

Teeth and Tears

Okay.  Teeth are coming out, and I can't stop bawling.  Am I that sentimental?  Apparently, yes.  Because a simple childhood milestone has me boo-hoo'ing like a baby.

It started with my sweet boy child who is now six-and-a-half years old.  His top front right tooth was loose to begin with.  Then the terrible Saturday accident happened.  Poor child busted his gums on the side of a granite countertop, and with the amount of bloodshed and screaming, you'd think his tooth would've fallen out then.  But nooooooooooo.  It literally hung on for dear life.  By a thread.  It was there for days, because after the countertop crash, no one could come within ten feet of that tooth without mass protest.  Soon after, and thankfully, in the most non-climactic way, it just quietly fell out onto his tongue during school naptime.  It was the best thing that could've happened, really.  He was excused from class to see the school nurse, and she gifted him a "tooth necklace" to wear with the prized front tooth inside so everyone that day would know he'd lost his tooth.  Like a badge of courage or something.  Like they couldn't see for themselves when he smiled.
 The day he lost his front tooth
Tooth necklace from the school nurse

Anyway, a few days later, the puppy's teeth came loose, and this is not a joke (LOL!).  We took "Hims" (Scout's nickname, with high pitch and long emphasis on the "I" like "Hiiiiiiiims") to the vet for his 4-month check-up and sure enough, his two front teeth were about to fall out.   Well, boy child just thought this to be the greatest coincidence in the world!  "Hims" and he (not proper grammar, I'm certain) are now bonded for life.  That night, we felt the pup's loose teeth (top two, mind you - exact same loose teeth for both), and we decided to give him a greasy bone to chew just to see if it would kick-out those teeth.  Lo and behold!  We checked little pup's front teeth after said bone was chewed up, and they were gone! 
"Hims" with just a few baby teeth left

"Mom!"  he shrieked.  "He lost 'em!  And the Tooth Fairy must've already come to get 'em 'cuz I can't find 'em anywhere!"

This left girl-child (who is four-and-a-half years old) in tears herself.  She came over and said, "momma, my front tooth is loose,"  which of course is a lie.  She felt she wasn't part of this fun connection, poor thing. 

I said, "No honey, it's really not.  You won't lose your teeth until you are five or six like you're brother."

"But mommy," she protested.  "Hims lost his teeth and he's only four months."

I tried to explain, upon which she blurted "Momma, I just want to live in Fairyland with the Tooth Fairy.  Can she take me back with her tonight?"

(HEART MELTING at this point in the story)

I explained again that the Tooth Fairy would arrive to see her soon enough, and I guess it was enough since she smiled, ran in her closet, and dressed up like a fairy herself,  pretending for a moment to be the tooth fairy, telling the puppy that she would bring him his favorite bones to chew.

Why am I crying about this? I get choked up even typing it. 

I think it's the letting go.  Or maybe it's just the sheer innocence and sweetness of it all.  No, I think it's the letting go.  It's the letting go that gets me every single time.   The looking at my first-born and seeing a boy now instead of a baby.  A boy with a tooth missing.  It's like his face has changed and his speech has changed, even just a tiny bit.  Still, enough for me to recognize that I'm about to be raising a 1st grader.  Enough to know that next fall, my girl baby will start to lose her teeth and begin to look like a little girl herself.

The letting go..... 

The fact that even little puppy won't fit in my palms anymore. 

Everyone always tells me to enjoy these little moments, to enjoy my babies being small because before you know it, they'll be big... and gone.  But already, I can remember holding these babies in my arms, with their exact measurements etched in my soul, watching their every single breath, and now I think "how did they get so big, so fast?!" 

These days, I send them on their way - to school, baseball, dance, to play at friends' houses - with a kiss and a prayer that they get back to me safely.  On Mother's Day, we planted a seed garden and set up a lemonade stand (another first).  I relished every second of the day.  It was lovely.

I realized then, it's not the garden or the lemonade stand or the teeth falling out....  It's the letting go. The knowing that soon, very soon, I'll be looking at them as adults and savoring old screenshots in my mind of their precious toothless smiles.