Today was a monumental day in our house. Two major milestones occured.
First of all, Aimee lost her first tooth. It has been loose for a while, but she never seemed that interested in getting it out of her head. I remember being terrified that losing a tooth would hurt, so much that I actually swallowed one in my sleep, I was so nervous. My sister, on the other hand, was so excited at the prospect of Tooth Fairy loot that she would work at any tooth that had the slightest inkling towards loosening, until it was gone, usually within a day or two.
I figured we were good for a while before we needed to deal with such bittersweet milestones. Aimee had not a tooth in her head until she was well over a year old (the reason she had the benefit of breast milk until she was a full year). I was always told that the later they get teeth, the later they lose them, and the better able they are to take care of them. Ironically, it was Aimee whose last two molars came in rotten (congenitally, I am assured, not necessarily due to all the crap I allowed her to eat as a young child) and had to be capped at age 3.
But now, there is a gap in her smile, a gap of which she is extremely and justifiably proud. She was goofing around on the trampoline with the next door neighbour, an 11-year-old boy, and they were roughhousing a bit. She says he bumped her and she suddenly noticed the tooth was gone. They found it on the trampoline, and she kept it in a ziploc bag the rest of the day so it wouldn’t get lost. She was so excited that the tooth was out that she didn’t freak out that it was bleeding a bit (as she would with that amount of blood from any other source).
I thanked the neighbour, because I know that if it was up to Aimee, that tooth would have stayed in until it leapt from her mouth in protest, so like her mother, nervous to pull it out.
Tonight, when it came time to put the tooth into the Tooth Fairy pillow (generously provided by Grandma recently – leave it to Grandma to be this prepared… I would have been scrambling), she seemed reluctant. She kept kissing her tooth through the plastic bag, or digging it out of the pillow just to make sure it was still there. When I asked if she wanted to keep it, she hesitated, and I told her she could wait until tomorrow night, after she showed it to grandparents and great-grandparents. She instantly agreed, and it remains in the ziploc up on her shelf of Treasures. I guess the Tooth Fairy gets a night off. But the Tooth Fairy is carrying around two bucks in her jeans pocket, just in case Aimee changes her mind (what is the going rate for a tooth these days, anyway?).
Our other momentous occasion is one that marks a significant change in our family dynamic. Jack has, today, at four-and-a-half, mastered all aspects of riding a two-wheeler. Yes, it’s true. He can now transport himself anywhere he might need to go, provided it is within sight of the house.
He is as proud of this accomplishment as Aimee is of her newfound toothlessness. In fact, it was such a big deal for Jack that I wonder if Aimee knew on some level that she needed something in the order of either a broken bone or a missing tooth to compete with the attention he was getting. But he has it down pat. He can stop, start, and turn around. He proudly dons his helmet (without protest; his doctor told him he needs it) and drags whatever poor, unsuspecting (sucker) adult he can find out into the road with him. The rule is that because he is on the road he must have a grown-up along, in case there is a car that he doesn’t see. Thankfully, our bay is pretty quiet, and this week has been full of street hockey and bike riding. The autumn weather is on us with a vengeance, but they are out, more happy than they have been all summer. He must have gone up and down our stretch of road about fifty times today (and complained bitterly about a chafed crotch later on). Needless to say, he fell asleep within seconds of getting into bed, protesting mightily until he could no longer keep his eyelids open.
Even though we have a full day planned tomorrow, I expect we will have Jack at our bedside at around 6:00 begging us to go outside and ride bikes. And while I am all for wholesome activities that involve fresh air and exercise, I am not at all likely to wake the neighbourhood with Jack’s triumphant whoops as he careens perilously down the road with the wind in his face.
There is very little more parentally satisfying than two healthy, happy kids. One has a six-year-old’s gap-toothed smile, one has helmet-hair, and both sport cheeks rosy from the fall chill, breathless with the thrill of their own celebration-worthy milestones. I am proud but mourning a little the passing of their infancy. They are no longer babies; they are kids. My kids. Great kids.