Monday, July 25, 2011

The last first lost tooth

I'm not new to this lost-tooth thing.  My first two not-so-littles have lost plenty.  And I recall being excited at their first lost teeth, diligently recording it in their baby books and snapping pictures.

But not this time.  This time I'm crying.

I'm only a little caught up in his expectation and excitement, checking the wiggle, seeing if he'll dare to let someone pull it or do it himself.  For him, losing that first tooth hangs the moon; the promise of Tooth Fairy bounty mesmerizes.

But for me, this is the last first lost tooth.  The last time I'll get to see this excitement, this rite of passage in the process of growing up.  The Tooth Fairy will not leave me bounty; instead, I'll wake up to see my little buddy's shining smile with a big black hole in the row of perfect, tiny little teeth.  The gap that will remind me there are no more babies in my house, only small grownups in the making.  A gap that slaps me with just how fast this is all going.

It shouldn't surprise me.  I've watched him growing, packed up all those outgrown clothes, grimaced at shoes that suddenly no longer fit.  I've seen him master feeding himself, getting himself dressed, using the bathroom.  But somehow I forgot about the permanent teeth, the grownup teeth.

So I'm bracing myself for the moment it finally falls out, likely today or tomorrow.  A few days left to see that little tooth sitting cockeyed in his mouth, too loose to stand up, too adhered to fall out.  And that's OK.  It can take its time falling out.  I'll use the time to slow things up a bit, revel in that smile of tiny white teeth while it lasts, and try to work up my excitement for what his smile will be when they've all been replaced.  His permanent smile.  His shiny, flashy, grownup smile that will someday captivate a woman other than his mother.

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