My five year old daughter’s first loose tooth had been hanging by a thread for about a week. She was very nervous about it coming out. “Is there gonna be blood? What if it comes out while I’m eating my goldfish crackers? Am I gonna eat it by accident? What if I swallow it? I don’t want to eat my tooth, Mommy!”
After I reassured her it wouldn’t hurt, she wouldn’t swallow it and there would be no blood (a tiny white lie), she spent the rest of the week standing on her tiptoes, gazing at the loose tooth in the mirror, gingerly wiggling it with her tongue. I tried to remember back when I lost my first tooth and I’m sure it was a bit traumatic. Or maybe I’m just remembering all the cruel ways my brothers suggested I rip it out of my mouth, most involving firecrackers or strings tied to skateboards.
To say losing a tooth is a milestone for a child is putting it mildly. And for a mom, it’s big. As in, ‘my sweet baby girl is growing up before my eyes and why can’t I do anything to stop it or slow it down?!’ big. Aside from the fact that she’s losing a small part of her old self, shedding a baby tooth, I am slowly shedding yet another part of my motherhood along with her. Think I’m being overly dramatic? Of course! That’s what being a mom is all about.
Last night my kids were doing the usual– jumping around their bedroom behind a closed door, whooping it up like a herd of elephants on speed. Then silence. The door flung open and my daughter raced toward me, her eyes wide and her mouth open. She held her hand out and there it was. A teeny tiny tooth nestled in her palm. “Mom! We were jumping and Christian knocked it right out of my head!” I smiled and shook my head. Typical brother.
“Tooth Fairy is coming! Tooth Fairy is coming!” she yelled and danced and twirled around the living room. She watched me as I put her first tooth in a ziploc bag and slipped it under her pillow. I heard myself sigh. She’s lost a tooth. What’s next? Wasn’t it just yesterday when her first tooth erupted? Wasn’t it just yesterday she was wearing her little overalls and running around the house saying “baba” with her tiny wisp of hair and big hazel eyes, her chubby fingers grabbing mine?
I felt a tear well up, like it often does when a mom faces another milestone in her baby’s life. I brushed it aside, managed a smile and hugged my daughter tight. She grinned up at me, exposing the little space in front. I noticed right then just how different she looked now. How her entire face competely changed with the missing tooth. How grown up she was already, and how much more growing she had in front of her.
And just how incredibly lucky I am to be here to watch it happen.