Friday evening, a text came through on my phone from Tiny Tot’s dad. It read, “Tiny has his first loose tooth.”
That was not the way I read the text. Not even close to what I read in my mind. What I saw, what my mind read was, “Tiny has lost his first tooth.”
Why? Because I saw “Tiny,” “first,” and “tooth,” and then my mind shattered. It broke. It disintegrated in a vat of motherly despair. The very first thought I had was, “It’s not FAIR! This is not fair! His tooth wasn’t even loose! Plus, I wasn’t even there! Something this epic needs to happen with me–his mom!”
Yes, my first thought was completely selfish, self-involved, and ego-driven. Yesterday I saw a plus sign on a pregnancy test. Yesterday I felt the first kick, and witnessed a footprint on my stomach from a little boy eager to conquer the world. Yesterday I was handed a mewling, talking baby boy from a nurse. Yesterday I brought him home from the hospital for the first time. Yesterday he smiled his very first smile. Yesterday he sat up for the very first time. Yesterday he was breaking his first teeth. Yesterday he was learning how to crawl. Yesterday he took his first step. Yesterday he said his first word.
Yesterday happened, all on my watch. I, as his mother, had the privilege of witnessing every first. I have been there for every monumental act. But now, reading “Tiny,” “first,” and “tooth” spun me into a full-out panic mode. I struggled, really struggled, to respond without my ego.
So I texted the second thing that popped into my head, “WHAT? He’s only 5!!!”
My ex responded with more information, “I know. Kinda early. It’s his bottom front tooth.”
And then my head got into gear. It snapped out of this selfish panic mode into mom information mode. How could he lose his first tooth if it hadn’t even started wiggling? He hadn’t complained about a weird feeling in his mouth. He hadn’t mentioned his tooth hurting. He hadn’t said a single thing or acted in any way to make me think a tooth was going to pop out of his tiny, little head. I should know: I’ve been thoroughly grossed out by his cousin’s teeth hanging by a thread, waiting for that last little piece to lose its grip from the gum line.
So, how could this make sense?
I wrote back, “All on his own? It wasn’t even loose!”
Tiny’s dad hadn’t picked up on the fact that I was a freaking, crazy, mental case. Since he knows me so well, and accuses me of overreacting all the time, I’m surprised it took him any length of time to figure out my current state from my responses.
He stated, “As far as I know. He hasn’t done anything tonight to loosen it.”
Inside, I’m wailing. I’m crying. I’m freaked out. I’m mourning the loss of a baby tooth I would never tuck into a pillow, keep in a special place, or have for years to come. Therefore, I asked for the next best thing: I asked for a momento.
“Picture?” I typed, and followed it with another question. I wanted to know that some tradition would follow the epic loss of a first baby tooth, “What will you do? I haven’t even read a tooth fairy book yet!”
His response made the wailing inside turn into a feeling I can only describe as hysteria. He said, “I’ll send a video tomorrow of his tooth. We’ve seen a cartoon about the tooth fairy, but no book.”
Which meant baby boy was now asleep, a tiny hole sitting where his tiny tooth used to be, and I wouldn’t even get a picture until my tiny human came home.
It was then that I became a raging egomaniac. “I wasn’t even there!” I wrote, throwing in a couple of teary-eyed faces. Okay, it was about seven teary-eyed faces.
His dad responded back with something that reset my mind, made me scroll back up, and had me rereading the very first sentence a few more times for clarification. Tiny’s dad wrote, “He knows he gets money, because his brother lost a tooth yesterday and the tooth fairy left him a dollar. He told Conner all about it. He hasn’t lost it yet. It may be a few days or maybe more.”
“So it is just loose?” I immediately texted back, feeling my hysteria turn from a raging hurricane into a light rainstorm.
Needing to get my feelings across now that my brain was working a bit more, I said in a completely dramatic way, “You gave me a heart attack!!!”
I could hear my ex laughing, rolling his eyes, and muttering, “This damn woman,” on the other end of the phone. Instead, he merely typed, “All I said was he had a loose tooth.”
I mean, seriously, woman. Yeah … .
The only dignified response I could muster was, “I read it 50 times the wrong way.”
Our conversation was effectively over, but my panic was still there, sitting on my chest, bringing buddies, a pint of ice cream, and tissues. I thought I had another year or two. I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about teeth so soon. I wasn’t prepared; I’m not prepared. I haven’t introduced the Tooth Fairy. I haven’t read any books on the matter. I haven’t gotten a pillow, or talked about the money issue with my ex in regards to lost teeth (and, … hello? A DOLLAR a tooth? What the heck happened to a quarter?). I haven’t done anything, I haven’t created any traditions, I haven’t even thought I needed to, yet.
Therefore I am sitting here, wailing in my mind, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”
I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. I can’t be the only person in the world who feels like she blinked and her child lost his first tooth. I can’t be the only mom who feels frustrated that her child is growing up too fast, and she’s not prepared for the next stage of development.
I mean, geez! I was just figuring out the reading stage!
Somewhere, in the back of my mind, however, I figure it will be okay. Tiny Tot will come home Monday afternoon, and I’ll have a book on the Tooth Fairy, and a special pillow awaiting him–should his tooth be nice enough to respect Special Mommy Time. We’ll be prepared with … a friggin crisp, one dollar bill, … which should be a quarter, because WTH?
Wrestling with my feelings on the first loose tooth feels difficult. It’s unchartered territory. But, I have one more day to suck it up, Mom it up, and await a happily excited, wiggly-toothed Tiny Tot, and be just as enthusiastic about the issue.
Because that’s just what moms do.