Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lost and found

I cried when Julia's first tooth came in. She was 5 months old and I wasn't expecting to see pearly whites in her mouth so soon. But one day, her gummy grin revealed a flash of white and as I rubbed it gently in disbelief, she gleefully nibbled on my finger. From then on, Julia would never look the same, I knew; one by one, her teeth were going to continue to push up and alter the entire shape and appearance of her face. And so I cried for what was lost: for the baby Julia who was suddenly gone, evolving right in front of my eyes into a child with a toothy grin. I just wasn't quite ready to let that baby stage go.

Silly and sentimental, those tears were. Postpartum hormones and the raw emotion of new parenthood, dripping foolishly from my eyes like sap from a tree. I just don't cry like that these days. My kids still amaze and delight me, of course, but not with the same overwhelming intensity as in the early days of their lives. They fill me with plenty of emotion -- frustration and pride and contentment and bewilderment, all in equal parts -- but none of it is as raw as that which I felt in their first few months, and I can't recall the last time either of them actually moved me to tears. My hormones and my footing as a parent are both far too stable for that now. I've got things under control.

So why, then, as that stretch of gum I'd not seen for nearly 5 1/2 years suddenly re-emerged yesterday, did I immediately burst into tears?

Lost: A small piece of white bone, so tiny that it's hard to believe it once dominated her whole mouth. A little blood (hers) and a few tears (mine). The face of early childhood.

Found: The next stage. A changed mouth which will soon change again (not to mention a new need to keep change on hand). And just a bit of raw emotion which I hadn't quite expected. I guess I'm still not quite ready to let my baby go.


Anonymous orangemanmike said...

Congrats to Julia! Don't tell C yet - he's a bit worked up that none of his teeth are even loose.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

What a milestone! Congrats Julia!! M can't wait to lose a tooth.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous cami said...

Yay Julia!

A's friend Natasha got £5 for her first lost tooth last year. (hint, hint) :) I'm afraid to hear what the going rate might be at her school!!

4:39 PM  
Blogger AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

She looks beautiful. And, as one who recently went through the first stage you described, I totally get that feeling!

6:58 PM  
Blogger K said...

What a beautiful post. I look at my almost-8 year old's smile sometimes and have to look again to confirm it is still her. Where did those big teeth come from?

10:16 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, look at her! What a sweet and fun new smile. And hugs to you, Mama. (I still cry over everything!)

12:29 AM  
Blogger Iota said...

Lovely post, lovely photo.

I'm glad you're footing as a parent is getting more stable. I find I'm getting worse as the years go by. The tear ducts are very disobedient. What's your secret?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Cami, I'm a bit afraid of what the going rate might be at Julia's school, too. Fortunately Julia wasn't sure either, though she thought it was a pound or two. We went with a shiny 2 pound coin, because "the tooth fairy brings coins and that one's worth more than any other coin in the world." It worked!

Iota, my secret is denial... ;)

8:14 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

What a lovely photo! Congrats to her! Hugs to you!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

OMG! She's getting so big.

I still cry over everything.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

I thought Kieran had a tooth coming through the other day, and I was on the verge of tears until I realized I was mistaken. I hope he holds of until a year like his brother did!

Good for you, Julia! What a milestone!

1:10 AM  

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