It’s amazing how much hubub we parents make about our children’s teeth.
It begins even before they make an appearance, actually.
“She’s teething,” we say to onlookers in the restaurant, as we try to explain her unusual fussiness.
We give them cold washcloths and teething rings to gnaw on. We rub Baby Orajel on their swollen little gums, and give them Tylenol in hopes that it will soothe away the crankiness. We fuss over low-grade temperatures, and rush them to the doctor… only to be told that it’s probably … just … teething.
And when that first little nub of white pokes through, it’s quite a momentous occasion.
So I suppose it’s no wonder that losing your first baby tooth should be equally momentous.
For months, my daughter has been obsessed with losing her first tooth. She’d gaze jealously at the gaping holes in her friends’ mouths. It became almost a competition which one of her classmates would lose their teeth first.
She’d badger us with questions about the Tooth Fairy.
“How much will I get?”
“What does the Tooth Fairly look like?”
“Is the Tooth Fairy a boy or a girl fairy?”
So when that first tooth came out this morning, naturally, we made out like it was headline news. We took pictures, and had her pose with her mouth open. Because it’s a BFD when you loose your first tooth, you know.
And tonight, I readied the shiny gold dollar, inspired by my friend Sherri. I placed the Hello Kitty necklace (because the Tooth Fairy always brings something special for the first tooth) in the box by her door.
And I couldn’t help but think about that first tooth coming in.
What took months to finally emerge… came out in less than a minute. It’s the first of 20 little white vestiges of babyhood that will fall out over the next few years. I have to admit, I got a little sad.
Tonight, the Tooth Fairy will bring it on. And a little girl will wake up to find her tooth replaced by a little coin and cheap trinket.
I just hope the Tooth Fairy knows what a bargain he’s getting in that trade. Because it isn’t just any tooth.
And, yes. That has always been our more politically-correct way of saying she’s all fire and ice.
From the moment she came into this world, she made her presence known. With a vengeance.
She was the tiny little bundle that screamed, almost non-stop, for the first four months of her life. The colic. The howls. The wails. It always shocked me how such a ruckus could come out of something so tiny.
And once the colic ended, another persona emerged. One that was equally as spirited.
We soon found that, as a toddler, her voice was just as strong. One minute, she could be the sweetest child you would ever meet. And in the blink of an eye, she became stubborn, willful, and impossibly obstinate. She was like a lot of toddlers, maybe. Except with the amplification turned up.
As she got older, we thought perhaps her mood swings would even themselves out. But they have not. If anything, they’ve become more pronounced. (A foreshadowing of what her teenage years will be, perhaps?)
As an almost-six-year-old, she still swings hot and cold at a pace that makes me dizzy. She loves ferociously, and throws temper tantrums with a passion that still surprises me.
But maybe it should not surprise me. Because I know where it comes from.
As much as I hate to admit it, she’s just like her momma.
I am stubborn. I love those around me ferociously, but I can also snap at them with a passion that is somewhat scary. Patience is once of the things I constantly have to work on. I have a quick temper and a sharp tongue, both of which often lead me to regret some of the things I say. It’s a trait I’ve always disliked in myself.
So, I cannot blame her for what she is. I know exactly where she gets it.
Would I change what she is? I can say, unequivocally, that even if I could, I would not.
Not in a million years.
She is my high-spirited child. And, difficult as that is sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But perhaps, one of the hardest lessons to-date that I am learning as a parent is this: part of loving her unconditionally might mean accepting in her the traits that I least like in her mother.
And, perhaps, that also means learning to embrace, accept and improve upon those same traits in myself.
The Irony: Last week, I was thinking to myself, “I need to take the kids in for their flu shots.” It had been on my to-do list since earlier in the fall, along with a lot of other items. But I put it off (like most of the other items on my to-do list), and made a mental note to schedule them over Christmas break.
The Reality: Bobo came home from school sick yesterday. It appeared that she had the beginnings of the flu.
The Irony: Yesterday while the kids were at school, one of the things I did check off my to-do list was changing their beds. I finally got around to stripping off and washing the sheets, pillows and comforters from both of their rooms. And as I put the freshly laundered linens back on their beds, I marveled at the warm-from-the-dryer sheets, the smell of Mountain Breeze Tide, and my own domestic goddess-ness.
The Reality: Today, as I washed Bobo’s sheets, pillow and comforter again (plus a load of towels that were used the night before), the sparkly domestic goddess feeling was gone. You’d think since doing laundry two days in a row is such a rare thing around these parts, I’d feel rather accomplished. But I suppose washing vomit from sheets tends to take the warm and fuzzy feelings out of domesticity.
The Irony: As I was changing Bobo’s sheets yesterday, I noticed she didn’t have a pee protector on her mattress. I made a mental note that I should probably buy one. But I wasn’t too worried. After all, she’s 5. She doesn’t have accidents in bed! Sheesh!
The Reality: As I attempted to scrub chunks off the mattress today, it occurred to me that I should have bought a damn pee protector yesterday. Because they’re not just for pee, people. Sheesh!
The Irony: A few months ago, we bought Bobo a bunk bed.
The Reality: She was sleeping on the bottom bunk yesterday. And lo, we finally come to the silver lining of this story.
Because the thing I’d surely dislike more than changing vomit sheets? Would be changing vomit sheets times two.