Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dirty Little Secret #39

I am ill-prepared for the inevitable.

Lizzy jumped out of bed early a few weeks ago. "Look! My tooth wiggles!"

Dirk stopped tying his tie and looked at me. "Your tooth wiggles? Can I see?" We exhanged worried glances. Lizzy won't turn five until December, and we both felt that this was too young to lose her first tooth. My heart fell as he said, "You'll have to call the dentist."

Since we're still "new" in town, I wasn't sure who to call. I googled my own pediatric dentist, and was surprised to find him still practicing in the same office. "Are you sure?" I asked the receptionist. "He saw me for the first time when I was two, in 1977. He must have been right out of dental school."

She laughed, and mentioned that she remembered our family. "We were all pretty young back then," she said. She went on to tell me that Lizzy was not too young to lose a tooth, but just right. She didn't need to come in right away, but would schedule an appointment near her birthday.

Just right?

How can that be? She's my first-born. She's my baby girl. She's not in kindergarten. She can't yet read. I haven't ever explained the tooth fairy to her. How can she the right age to loose her first tooth?

But sure enough, it came out. I've been asking her when she wakes in the morning, "Is your tooth still there?" She wiggles it to make sure. For the past two days its been hanging by the proverbial thread. We were playing with Play-doh yesterday afternoon when I asked again.

"Is your tooth still there?" She reached in to wiggle it and pulled it right out of her mouth. A tiny pearl that first appeared in her pink gums when she was six months old. Her first two teeth were on the bottom, in the middle. They came in at the same time and, sure enough, they're the first to go. Its companion is starting to wiggle now.

We looked at each other, startled. "Mommy, my tooth came out!" she said in wonderment. We stared at each other for a moment. We hugged. We smiled. We laughed. We put it in a tiny box to wait for the tooth fairy.

The tooth has been wiggling for a good two weeks, but even so I was unprepared for how I would feel when I saw it pinched between her two fingers. Wasn't it yesterday that I was evaluating that same pincer grasp with my copy of What to Expect the First Year perched on my knee? More than walking or talking or pre-school, this moment had me stunned by the realization that she will grow up. Losing part of her physical self? Watching her ADULT teeth poke through the gums? It's too much. As crazy as they sometimes make me feel, I do not want them to grow up.

I am ill-prepared for the inevitable.


ECR said...

This is the theme I keep returning to even though my daughter is only 15 months old. I, too, am ill prepared for the inevitable, but it's not for lack of dwelling on it obsessively. By the way, I could actually feel in my memory that freaky feeling of my tooth hanging by a string as I was reading your words.

Sandy said...

What? This cannot be...because that means that Annika is not far behind.

It stinks, because no matter how hard we try, we cannot wish them to stay little.

Mrs. Chicken said...

This was a good reminder to me that they grow up too soon. Any minute Em will be losing her teeth, and won't let me smell her pretty hair while cuddling before bed.

Tell Lizzy B that her auntie loves her.

Heather said...

Congrats Lizzy! M is just waiting for her teeth to start to wiggle (no signs as yet, but she's just turned 4 in July). I sort of expect that she will lose her teeth later since she didn't get any until she was 9 months (and then got FOUR).

I both hate it and love it that they're growing up.

Nancy said...

Oh no. Mimi will be 5 in January, so this must mean that we're not far from tooth fairy land ourselves. I'm not ready either!!