Bring it on, Tooth Fairy. Bring it on.

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.

It’s my baby’s first tooth.


It’s gone.

And every time I peek through the doorway, I’m surprised that it’s not there.

It had been through a lot.  It had been urped-on, peed-on, and projectile-vomited-on.  It had been the launching pad for countless binkies, stuffed animals and sippy cups that were chucked out, trajectory style, by the little occupant within.  The thing had been plastered with stickers.  Heck, it had been used to cut teeth on.

But I hung onto it.  Because it was one of the last great markers of babyhood.

It reminded me of late night feedings.  Of stumbling into his room, my eyes halfway shut, to snuggle with a warm, hungry little infant.

It reminded me of a time, before he even arrived, that I lovingly decorated his nursery with little stars and cowboys.  When we redid his room, he decided he didn’t want no stinkin’ cowboys anymore.  “Big Boys like dinosaurs,” I was told.

It reminded me of walking into his room in the mornings, and seeing him beam and stand up, arms outstretched to greet me.

It reminded me of a time when I knew he was safe, secure and, most importantly, contained in one place in the house.  Now, he gets out of bed at will, roaming the house and stirring up mischief at ungodly hours.

When we packed it up, it reminded me that it was the last time it would ever be used.  At least by our family.

It reminded me that I could still pretend that he was my little guy.  A baby.  Now he’s a Big Boy, because he sleeps in a Big Boy Bed.

He was ready.  Even though I was not.

iPhone Photo Phun

But we always knew.

Tonight, we celebrated.

Three kids, their spouses, and nine grandkids gathered for a party.  We celebrated the birthday of the woman who brought some of us into the world, who welcomed others of us into the family, and who was a mother to all of us.  She’ll turn 70 years young later this week.

Besides good food, a few beers, and some shenanigans with the slip-n-slide that turned my back yard into a gigantic mud puddle, there was a time for reminiscing.  We shared old pictures, took some walks down memory lane, and exchanged stories about the things we did behind our parents’ backs in our crazier younger years.

There was a lot of love crammed around that backyard table tonight.  You could feel it in the air.

But we didn’t say the words.

You see, growing up, in my family, it wasn’t something that was said.  Emotions weren’t often expressed.  Affections weren’t verbalized.  The words “I love you” were not ones we heard my mother utter very often when we were younger.

But here’s the thing.  We always knew.

We knew by the way she’d take us school shopping and always opted for the practical, yet heinously ugly Buster Browns.  She wouldn’t give in and buy us Jellies to be cool like the other kids, because she knew those cheap pieces of plastic crap would fall apart and give us blisters.  And, as we tromped home in our comfortably atrocious shoes, we knew she was right.  We also knew she wasn’t trying to make us wear hideous shoes because she wanted her kids to be fashion victims, but rather, because she loved us.  (And, possibly, because she didn’t want to hear us whine about how much our feet hurt.)

We knew by the way she’d pepper us with questions before we went anywhere.  Where are you going?  When will you be home?  Who will be there?  Who’s driving?  What’s the square root of 364? Even as teenagers, we knew why she was asking.  And we knew she asked out of love.

Some days, when my older brother and sister were at school and dad was at work, mom would make liver and onions for the two of us at home.  Most kids would wretch at the idea.  But for me, it was a special treat.  And I knew that a house that reeked of liver smell was just another way my mom said “I love you,” in her own special way.

We knew by the way she’d roust herself out of bed at 5 am every year on Black Friday to take us shopping for socks.  We knew that only two things could get my mom out of bed that early: love of a good deal, and love for her kids.

We knew because she was always at every game, tournament, competition and match.  I can recall only a few times throughout my teens that she wasn’t at an event, whether we wanted her there or not.  Sometimes she’d watch from afar.  But she was there.  And we always knew.

Sometimes it was a handwritten note slipped into a tennis racquet cover the night before a big match.  Words like “Good luck!  Do your best!  Mom and Dad” would be scribbled on a little Suzy’s Zoo sticky note.  And as I geared up to play, I knew.

Even if the words weren’t articulated often, we always knew how much our mother loved us.  A thousand tiny events, little gestures and seemingly insignificant details over the years epitomized the words that weren’t always spoken.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I can doubly appreciate the symbolism of her actions.  And I understand now what it all meant.  In reality, I always knew.

She was saying “I love you.”

We love you, too, Mom.  Happy 70th.

Richer by the Dozen

I’ve got a number on my mind today.  12.

It’s not a dozen eggs.  Although there are plenty of crack-ups involved.

It’s not a dozen donuts.  Although it is pretty sweet in my book.

It’s not the 12 pounds that I’ve gained, and can’t seem to shake off, post kids.  Although it does have some girth.

It’s not a dozen long stemmed, red roses.  Although one can always hope, can’t they?  Hint, hint, honey.

It’s not a half rack of beer.  We’ve gone through plenty o’ those over the years, though.

It’s not the months of the year.  It’s many months of many years.

It’s 12 years of marriage.

Twelve years of laughter, everyday life, ups, downs, a few tears, and endless fart jokes that I still laugh at even though I try not to.   I got pretty lucky when I married this guy a dozen years ago.

Happy Anniversary, Jay.  Love you.

Purls of love

This weekend, I decided to undertake Mission Impossible.  Otherwise known as, “Operation Get Rid of the Stuff We No Longer Need.”

I started with baby bottles, nursing accessories and bibs that were no longer needed.  I found countless pacifiers sprinkled throughout the house.  My son hasn’t used a paci since he was 9 months old but I just couldn’t bring myself to part ways with them until now.  I tackled Chip’s overflowing dresser, which still contained clothes for 0-6 months.  Then I moved on to the toys scattered throughout the house.

I cleaned.  I purged.  I filled huge, Goodwill-destined garbage balls full of clothes, toys and baby paraphernalia.  Some bags were earmarked for the trash; others for family members of friends.  Mission Impossible was off to a good start.

But when I got to my daughter’s room, I came to a screeching halt.  Because there, nestled in the back of her dresser drawers, I discovered the neatly folded pile of The Sweaters.

The Sweaters are all that remain of my brief foray into knitting a few years back.  And as I took each tiny garment out, I quickly forgot about the organizing and purging.

Instead, I ventured down memory lane.    And I realized each sweater, poncho and tiny little hat held special significance for me.

Like the first piece of clothing I ever made for one of my children.  My first knitting project, actually.  I still remember ripping out rows upon rows of laboriously knit stitches and redoing them until I got it right.

Or sweaters knit for special occasions.  Like Valentine’s Day:

Or Christmas:

Or ones that were just used for doing yardwork:

Really kid? This sweater took me months to complete, and you're wearing it to mow the lawn? Really??

And probably a dozen other creations that I forget to get pictures of when they still fit her.  Yeah.  When I got to the stack of The Sweaters, all of my good intentions to purge and get rid of things no longer used just flew out the window.

I don’t need them anymore.  She’s long since outgrown them.  But I just can’t bear to part ways with them.

They symbolize late nights curled up on the couch; the quiet only being interrupted by the clicking of two needles together.  Well, that and a few choice swear words thrown in here and there when a mistake was discovered.

They are mementos of a pigtailed little toddler who actually wore skirts.  And who still let me dress her.

Clearly, they are reminders of just how much time I had on my hands when I had just had one child.  (Hello!  I haven’t picked up a knitting needle since Chip was born.)

They are labors of my love.

So I created a new bag.  One especially reserved for The Sweaters.   It lies in the back of her closet.


For just the right person to give them to.  Or for a day when I get particularly un-sentimental and decide to finally send them to Goodwill.

Or maybe they’re waiting for the day when they’re finally worn again.  By a niece, perhaps?  Or maybe, if I’m lucky, by a granddaughter?  I can only hope.

For the time being, though, the bag sits in the back of my daughter’s closet.

It is special.  It contains sweaters.  And a lot of love.