A few months ago, Ethan asked me when he would start to lose his teeth probably because many of his peers have already done so. More recently, he complained of some tooth hurting, but when I checked nothing was moving. Then yesterday, he showed me his first loose tooth. He moved it back and forth. I was both relieved that he was normal (at least dentally speaking) but also filled with dread at the impending future. I remembered when I would have a loose tooth as a little girl. Being horribly adverse to any iota of pain, I’d wiggle them down until they were hanging by a mere pink thread.
Yesterday was fun and the novelty of a loose tooth was entertaining to Ethan. Then came today. When I emptied out his lunchbox after school, he had hardly touched his food, even his favorites. He said it hurt to eat and proceeded to complain of the pain emanating from his no-longer-fun loose tooth. I told him how his Grandma Kim used to tie dental floss around my loose teeth (before I learned to hide them to avoid this torture) and make me yank them out. He asked if it hurt. I told him there is always some hurt with any tooth coming out. It will either be little bits over a long time or all at once.
I think of Ethan as my cautious, scaredy-cat boy. His ability to hype up fear and anxiety exponentially greater than reality is a rare gift from God or Satan, probably the latter. I have to rethink that now. He contemplated my story of the wicked witch of West Virginia and decided that it was actually Grandma the good Glenda who chose mercy over prolonged pain. He asked me to tie the floss. Me: “Really? You don’t want to work on it and wait until tomorrow?” Nope, he was not messing around. Despite my weak stomach churning and trying to yell for Mike to take over the gross duty (wasn’t childbirth enough to give me the right to pass on all subsequent gruesome tasks?!), I somehow managed to lasso the tiny culprit (tooth, not son). Before I could find the sleeping bag to camp out in the bathroom for what I assumed to be an all night affair, Ethan had yanked that sucker out faster than I could say Anbesal. Some blood, some gargling and cotton ball pressure, and voila, the deal was done.
I was so proud of him. Not proud enough to give $10 like he told me one of his classmates got from his tooth fairy (I emphasize his because obviously we have a different, cheaper one), but proud enough to take that picture and randomly text it back to whomever was unfortunate enough to text me today. There is something about our children crossing milestones that make us beam with parental pleasure. It was the same feeling that had me take a picture of Ethan’s first poop in the potty. Lucky you, I’m not posting that but the desire to share my son’s excrement did cross my mind during potty-training time. It’s a sign of growth, of maturing, of following the appropriate footsteps in development. There are many in childhood, but I personally think they shouldn’t end there. I hope that I can continue to make my Father proud of the milestones of growth, maturing, and development that should be taking place until I meet Him face to face. In the meantime, here’s to celebrating those big and little steps we all take, to Ethan and his continued journey to manhood (gulp!), and to realizing that the one who hypes up fear and anxiety is actually his Mama.