Losing Pieces of You

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.

68 thoughts on “Losing Pieces of You

    1. She was pretty upset about this tooth coming out. We had long talks at bedtime about it and I did my best to let her know it was no big thing. It is pretty freaky when you think about it, our teeth just falling out like that. I think she was shocked at the fact that it didn’t hurt at all.

  1. Curly Carly

    She looks just like you!!

    I always wonder who created the whole tooth fairy thing. It’s kind of sick if you think about it. A young child getting money in the middle of the night from a stranger coming into their bedroom taking a part of their body. Ah childhood, what sweet memories.

    1. She is my mini-me, Carly. Same personality, too.

      I agree, this tooth fairy thing is bizarre. I guess it does help make a somewhat frightening experience a little more exciting for a kid–money, money, money! Can’t go wrong there.

      She got five bucks for this tooth, being her first. The next teeth will only net one buck apiece. Not bad considering I used to get two quarters for mine

    1. Her eyes take up her whole face and she has these ridiculous lashes to go with them. I am so emotional about this tooth, not sure what’s gotten into me lately. My husband told me, don’t worry, we’ll have grandkids one day. That does help me.

  2. Running from Hell with El

    Your daughter is lovely. And so are you. I used to fight back tears every time I packed their baby clothes away (three kids in three years) but it was even harder with my third child because I knew he was my last one. One thing I am finding compensates is watching them grow into little adults, with more complexity and understanding of themselves and their environment. Sigh. (((hug))) Mama.

    1. Thanks for such sweet comments. And it’s true, El. It’s because she’s my last child. I suppose it’s a lot of things going on right now that’s provoking these emotions. She’s starting kindergarten this fall, I’m going back to work full time (I’ve been a SAHM for 10 years) This little tooth just reminds me of big changes.

      I know I still have many more years ahead to watch my kids grow up and mature and they already amaze me every day. I suppose it’s my feeling of life itself, it’s just so fleeting, I just want to grab hold of it and make it slow down a little. At my age, the days are like seconds!

  3. It IS an emotional milestone, especially with your last child. You might want to delay it, but it’s better that it’s not. My youngest didn’t lose his first tooth until he was he was well over 8 years old. I was secretly happy that he kept that cute baby-teeth smile so long, but he was not happy with the teasing and the looking so young, and the wondering if the whole tooth thing was just going to pass him by. He had been waiting since kindergarten, after all–that’s a long time in kid-years! That’s what he told me anyway. 🙂 He still doesn’t have his 12-year molars, and he’s 15-1/2 now. Just slow.

    Your daughter is beautiful, by the way, missing tooth and all.

    1. Aw, my son didn’t lose his first this early either. I think he was seven! Another reason I am shocked to see my 5 year old with a missing tooth. It just seems too fast for me.
      Thanks, Jeannette, she is my miracle baby, didn’t think we’d have her at all, so I am blessed in so many ways just to have her with me in this life. (there I go tearing up again….shesh!)

  4. Such a great milestone to write about — and perfect, adorable photos to include with it. Your daughter is so cute!

    My reason for dreading my kids’ teeth loss is different. After I lost my baby teeth, my adult teeth in my small mouth appeared HUGE. You can refer back to my third grade photo posted on Monday. HUGE. And then all the orthodontics needed to tame the beasts. Noooo! Sorry, I hijacked your sweet post with my own nagging issues. (Again.)

    1. Isn’t that picture of her in the overalls beyond cute? I mean, I wish I could pick her up again and snuggle with her like I used to. I tried picking her up the other day and she’s got these gigantic giraffe legs, she’s about as tall as my son! (my back gave out a little just attempting to pick her up)

      Oh, and hijack away, that’s why I love my blog. The hijacks are the best part, are you kidding?

      My son has huge front teeth now. Coincidently, he’s going back to the dentist next week to get fitted for headgear to help with his overbite at night and he will get braces. ahhhh!!!

    1. My son is almost 10 and not only does he have giant teeth now that don’t fit his face, but a horrible overbite that is actually interferring with his speech and eating so it’s braces and headgear to wear at night very soon. Gah! NOT looking forward to that at all.

  5. I was so scared to lose my teeth, too. (I still have nightmares about losing adult teeth as well… I think there are specific “issues” associated with those dreams. Ah, well.)

    Both of those photos are adorable, by the way. Can I stand the cuteness of those overalls? Nope. And she looks *just* like you in the recent pic! 🙂

    1. I do believe losing your teeth in a dream is pretty significant. I’ve had one of those before. Could mean a sign of a huge transformation in your life or just that you need to schedule a dentist appointment.
      And those overalls kill me, nothing sweeter than a toddler in overalls and a little teeny barrette.

  6. What a precious post. Your daughter is beautiful! I think my little man actually lost his first tooth when he was still 4. It was unusually early. Now, when he gets a loose one, he works on it and pulls it and fiddles with it until he can rip it out.

    1. Wow, four is very young. I’m glad this tooth is out now so she can be a little more at ease when the others start to fall out. The tooth right next to the missing one is already very loose. My favorite is when my son’s upper front teeth were both missing, he looked like a hockey player.

  7. Brought a smile to my face. It is like having little hobos living in your house with their few missing chompers, the constant pestering for loose change, and their drinking of cheap liquor whilst standing around a large tyre fire in the living room. Aww kids.

    1. Teehee. Those crazy hobos! This reminds me of something my husband and I tease the kids about. Once in awhile I’ll look at them and sigh and say, “So, are you guys gonna get a job or what?” or my husband will say, “So, when are your parents picking you up? You’ve been here for 9 years now!” Awwww, kids!

  8. I know this has been said before (in fact right about my comment), but…Aw! This is so cute. These milestones are bittersweet, especially with the last child (sorry if I’m presuming too much here). Their firsts are also your lasts.

    On a goofy note, my cousin’s 11-year-old lost a tooth and the envelope with the tooth showed up under Mom’s pillow the other day with a note; “Dear “tooth fairy”, it has been 2 weeks since I put this under my pillow – what gives?”

  9. Great piece of writing Darla, and great photo of the missing tooth smile. You really captured the essence of what it’s like to lose one’s first tooth.

    I’ve been off the blogging radar for a couple of weeks because my adult daughter brought her partner-to-be for a visit. It made me feel so old, and I found myself wondering what happened to my little munchkin? Didn’t she just lose her first tooth last week?

    1. I can’t even imagine having an adult daughter, Rosie. The way time is flying, it’s not far off, either. Unbelievable. I’m becoming that mom who tries to hug her kids and say, “I remember when you wore diapers! And had a binky! And you fit in the crook of my neck!” and then my kids squirm away and roll their eyes at me. Sigh.

  10. Awwww, J is growing up!! Have I told you how cute she is? Heh. I know I have, but I seriously can’t get over it.

    And you’re not being dramatic. That shiz is a big deal. 🙂

  11. What a sweet reminder to pay attention to the small things, as they are truly the big things. Your daughter is displaying her pride in this ‘first’ with such a big smile. Just beautiful!

    1. She was thrilled that it came out and didn’t hurt at all. The next morning I found her in her bed staring at her pillow. She didn’t want to look to see what the tooth fairy had left her because she was too excited.

  12. Priceless, Darla. Joe has one hanging on by a thread – in fact that big tooth is trying to come in on top of it. Joe refuses to pull it. I think a dental intervention is in his future.
    Charlie has yet to lose a tooth. My last ‘first tooth’ experience is pending. I feel myself getting emotion just thinking about it. *sigh*

    1. Aw, poor Joe. I can see why kids get nervous about it, I remember being more than a little freaked out by the whole thing.
      Charlie’s time will come and it will probably make you tear up a little. When it’s your last ‘first’ it really hits you right in the heart.

  13. Oh Darla, I wasn’t ready for this post today! I am feeling SO overly emotional as my son just had his screening for kindergarten. It’s what every kid in town does as they divide the classes up for the fall. Up until now, my children have only gone to preschool. This tiny little fun world in a couple of rooms. And now — he’ll be going to public school, which on our little tour looked giant beyond all comprehension. All these big kids pushing by in the hallways — but he was so excited.

    And then the other night he said, “I can’t eat on the front of my mouth because my tooth hurts.” I thought he was too young to lose a tooth, and then your post came in! Goodness. Motherhood. I need to catch up just to be right where I’m at. I should write a blog post about that. 🙂

    1. Aw, Melissa! Big hugs to you, mama. I know, I know. My daughter’s kindergarten screening is NEXT week. Every time I bring it up to my husband my bottom lip starts to tremble and I have to fight back the tears, it’s so hard for me. I’ve been home with both my kids and now that is all coming to an end. They will both be gone full days every day. Sigh. Hang in there, momma! You should write a blog post about it.

    1. Lately, almost everything feels bittersweet to me, I am an emotional wreck lately. My kids are growing up so fast I can’t keep up. I think I’m going through a midlife crisis on top of it! Sorry I made you cry, I have to admit I cried a little while writing it. Especially looking at her baby picture in the overalls!

  14. Awwww…so cute!

    The tiny lie about no blood is essential. Once my mom told me not to be surprised if I saw a little blood…freaked…me…out! I’d rather not know stuff like that.

    1. My daughter would have had nightmares if I had told her there would be even a tiny amount of blood. Thankfully, after it came out, she didn’t even notice or realize she had a bit of blood in her mouth. Dodged that bullet!

  15. It is so great that the kids love the Tooth Fairy. My dad insists the tooth fairy is a boy, since he’s a dental hygienist. My daughter argues with him about it all the time and says no, the Tooth Fairy is a girl. She should know, she got a note from the Tooth Fairy, and the writing was all frilly and such.

    Are we going to hell for perpetuating these myths?

    Ah, I don’t care. It’s too much fun. 🙂

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