Monday, September 20, 2010

Lost Teeth...and Other Things I've Missed

Lefty has a hole in his face. I keep telling him that, mostly because it gets a huge rise out of him. He digs his feet in and makes little fists and growls at me in frustration and says "Mom! I do NOT have a hole in my face. I just lost a tooth."

And I insist that, - until a new tooth takes over that space - it's a hole, and his mouth is on his face, and therefore, he. has. a. hole. in. his. face. And then I wait for him to make a ruling on my clearly ironclad argument, complete with incriminating photos of said hole and he begrudgingly rules in my favor. Right up until the next time when I bring it up, and we do the little Law & Order dance all over again.

To be clear, Lefty does not like to lose. He likes to lose even less when he's ruling against himself. Which makes it that much more fun to debate. And then I get to know what Jack McCoy feels when he wins, minus the eyebrows.

He's been waiting years to lose his first tooth. His friends have been sporting the fashionable hockey player look since kindergarten, and Lefty was starting to get a little irritated with his tardiness in Keeping up with the Toothless Joneses.

And then, the day after he left on vacation with his Dad, I get this phone call:

Lefty: Mom! Guess what? I lost a tooth!
Me: Oh no! I mean - YEA! I'm so uhh, happy for you! How did it happen?
Lefty: Well, I was biting on McGee's pillow, and she got mad and yanke--
McGee: [hollering in the background]: Nuh-uh! I just wanted my pillow back and OWW!
Lefty: [to sister] --it's MY turn, Funky. [Editor's Note: She HATES it when he calls her Funky. To his credit, he uses it sparingly, so it's super effective when he pulls out the Funky Card. - Kate] So, she yanked her pillow out of my mouth and *plop!* my tooth came out with it. Isn't that cool?
Me: [feigning enthusiasm] Yeah. It's super cool. Wish I had been see...your. first. tooth. come. out. *sigh*
Lefty: Oh, and McGee lost a tooth too! It's been a great day!
Me: What?! Lemme talk to Dad, please...

I get a full recap of the events. Yep, two lost teeth. McGee's 12th. Lefty's FIRST. I'm simultaneously completely thrilled and totally depressed.

I missed it.

For his whole life, it will be his only first lost tooth. He'll remember this story. He'll tell it hundreds of times over his life. I'll tell it again and again. But I wasn't there.

We think we'll always be there for those moments in life: first steps, first words, first day of school...first lost never imagine that one of those firsts will happen when you're not around. Dad was around this time. He'd actually never done the Lose-A-Tooth festivities. McGee always seemed to lose a tooth when she was with me. Add in Season One's squeamishness about blood and wiggly things, and I was the one that pulled the hanging-by-a-gum Chiclet, and then scrounged around the house a 5AM for a two dollar bill or Sacajawea coin to hastily shove under the pillow because I forgot the night before. Maybe it was time to pull me out of the Tooth Fairy Starting Line-Up.

Because Season One and I live so close, I never really gave much thought to missing great moments in my kids' lives. I live eight houses down the street, for Pete's sake. But if you're a mom who works, who's divorced, single, deployed, or just at the wrong place at the wrong time, there's going to be times you miss stuff. Stuff that dad sees, or grandma. Or the babysitter, teacher, or just someone that's not you, dammit. And that sucks. Even if you're a full time stay at home mom, there's going to be that one time when you're getting your hair cut, or in the shower, or at the OB/GYN for the love of Maude, and that First is going to happen.

I was at school eating lunch with Lefty last year, and this adorable little girl in his class bit into a bread stick and, apparently, her tooth took a vote and decided it wanted to stay embedded in the bread rather than in her gum. She didn't even know it had happened until she took another bite and nearly ate her own tooth. At first we were all "EWWW! There's a tooth in your bread stick!" and I'm pretty sure I led the Charge of the Gross Brigade in freaking out the whole table -- and then the whole cafeteria -- with the idea that some deranged lunch lady was squirreling away her teeth in dough. Two of the kids started ripping apart their bread sticks like there was treasure in there. And the boy sitting next to Lefty took his, basically dissected it like he was CSI: First Grade, declared it uncontaminated, and threw it away anyhow. About fifteen minutes after the ruckus started, Chloe upped the ante by saying, "Umm, Lefty's Mom, there's blood everywhere" and looked like a Cullen. [Editor's Note: Looking at a six-year old in horror and yelling "Oh my God!" is probably not the most reassuring response to "...there's blood everywhere." - Kate] I finally figured out the offending tooth came from the bloody face.

It was her first lost tooth, too. I will say, it was kinda cool to be there for it. Everyone cheered, the teacher proffered up a little baggie for her tooth, and Chloe had a pretty awesome - if gruesome - story to tell.

Her mom, of course, missed the event. And now gets to think about this "other mom" being there for Chloe's First Lost Tooth. And the story. And the screaming and Cullen-ness and the CSI investigation and the still-told Legend of the Crazy Lunch Lady who's hiding teeth in cafeteria food. She probably hates me.

I want to rewind life. For her. For me. To just a few seconds before those Firsts happen. Even if I could just witness it from across the room. I just want to see the look on his face when he saw his tooth.

But, maybe it's enough that a mom  - any mom - is there for our kids' firsts. Season One's mom was in the car when Lefty lost his tooth. I was there when Chloe lost her tooth. Maybe Chloe's mom will be there for the next kid. I'd like to think that only a mom knows what a mom does. We all want to be there for all the moments, knowing that we can't. Knowing that we'll miss one here or there. But, also knowing that, just sometimes, we'll have the privilege of subbing in for another mom when she can't be there. And I wouldn't miss those moments -- any of them -- for anything.

I saw Chloe last week at school. Her entire top row of teeth is gone. All six. I told her she had a hole in her face. She told me she lost them all when she slipped off the diving board at the pool. I made a face and asked her if she was OK. "Yeah. You thoulda theen the blood! It wath thoooooooo dithguthting. My mom thaid gee wath glad gee mithed it the latht time. They had to clothe the pool."

Mental note: Miss one, get six in return? Umm, no thanks.

Oh, Lefty has another loose tooth. I'll be working on my Jack McCoy victory face. And, possibly growing out my eyebrows. I just hope I'm there to see it. And, if I have any say, it won't happen at the pool.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. My family blog is Keeping Up With The Joneses (, and as I'm reading this post, I thought: "Whoa! They've totally mentioned my blog! I'm awesome! I'm famous! Yes!!!" ... then I thought: "Wait, we're not toothless."

    Um, only getting 3 hours of sleep last night and the night before that and that and that with the baby has left me really confused. How sad that it took me over a minute to realize that A) yes, my blog title is a common phrase - and that's why I chose it so wittily at the time - and B) we are not the toothless Joneses and C) you were not referencing us in this funny toothless post.

    We are just the regular old sleepless Joneses. Do not try to keep up with us at this point. It is a game where everyone - even hole-in-the-face-Lefty - would be a tired, sleepy loser come the AM.

    Off for a coffee refill...

  2. I "ran out to Target" from my M-in-law's house and returned to Husband, MiL and Brother in Law telling me that Little Brother (my baby!) had started to walk.

    I cried. Not in joy but in total despair that I missed that moment. Because it will be the first in a series of my LAST firsts. Since I'm done having kids, Little Brother's milestones are ALL the "last firsts" I'll experience. The last time he firsts goes on the potty. The last time he first sleeps in a big boy bed. The last first time he goes to school.

    Those moments are so precious. Missing even one sucks.

    I'm with you.

  3. Yup - that's the way the tooth falls sometimes... my hubby missed SIX (yes I said SIX) teeth falling out of our 7 year old this last deployment - he just got home and will leave again in the spring... we try to video, photograph, and document everything for him - but it's not always the same. I really hope he gets to miss less of our 3rd daughter's first!

  4. Ladies, Your heading to the top, you cant be stopped,because your hott, your hott, your hott


  5. Who is Season One? Is there a story to that?

  6. my six year old just lost his first tooth, too! only he TOTALLY swallowed his. AND i missed it. i was at school (stoopid college), and my mom saw the blessed event. so at least somebody's mom was there, as you said, but yeah, it was kinda depressing.

    thankfully, the tooth fairy cares not for such technicalities such as the actual PHYSICAL presence of the tooth under the pillow, because we were SO not waiting to "find" the tooth a few days later. uhm, no.

    so at least you get to KEEP lefty's first tooth. i, on the other hand, get nothin' except the delightfully cute picture of my son with a hole in his face.

  7. I also missed my son losing his first tooth because I was at an volunteer recognition event and he was having dinner with his daddy. I was excited for my husband who rarely gets these "exciting" moments.

    @Kristen - Season One is the first husband...

  8. I missed the first lost tooth with my oldest daughter. She was at the fair with her daddy. But I was around for the second lost tooth. just the week before, my oldest daycare girl was terrorizing her with stories that if you lose the tooth or swallow it, the Tooth Fairy doesn't give money for where does she lose the tooth? In our friend's pool...she's FREAKING...I had to dive for that frikken tooth at least a dozen times...and I so don't like to get my hair wet...sigh...but at least we have a story ;)

  9. I just missed my son's first baby being born. He lives 3 states away and I got there 24 hours late. My first grandchild. So ladies, it doesn't stop when they grow up.
    Even if you are like me....way too young to be a grandma!!

  10. My 6 year old just lost his first tooth too. I missed it. He was at a baseball game with his grandma and grandpa. Even though they called the second it happened, I was still sad. As a bonus, he got TWO visits from the tooth fairy!

    Love this site ladies! Thanks for making me laugh out loud everyday!

  11. Man, I am messed up this morning! Your post actually made me CRY. Ugh. Dealing with really really sick doggie (Our first baby, a Beagle, Howie) issues and I was on edge anyway. Loved this post, I hope I can be one of those "stand in moms" when there's a kid out there who needs a mom. You ladies ROCK!

  12. My daycare is kind enough not to tell me when my 8.5 month old does something new. It's an unwritten rule that nothing counts until Mommy sees it.

  13. My little girl rarely talks, she has words that she uses but she doesn't talk much, she's loud and she babbles but she doesn't really talk. I missed her first official actual for real and not an accident word. It was Turtle. I was 15 feet away. We were at my parent's boat, my mom and baby went to visit a neighbouring boat at the marina, my mom comes back all excited "OH MY GOD SHE JUST SAID HER FIRST WORD!!! SHE JUST SAID TURTLE!!" Now while I acted all excited (and I was) when I got in my car to go home I cried for like 10 minutes because she said her first word without me. So I know how you feel!

  14. My oldest (now 3) was cared for part time by a nanny when I went back to work. Long story short, I had no idea my son knew the hand motions and tunes to some songs (he was a slow talker, like no words till he was 2) until I had him at gym class one day and he totally followed along with the songs at the end. I burst into tears, and was hurt. That is one reason I'm now a sahm with the advent of baby brother.

  15. I was having a really hard time with the possibility of missing the "firsts" when I went back to work after my son was born. My husband told me "you may miss the first one, but you won't miss them all." It made things a bit easier

  16. I was visiting a friend of mine, with the 2-legged kind of children, when her daughter lost a tooth. We were enjoying the equivalent of several T-boxes and she forgot to sneak the money under her daughters pillow before going to bed (passing-out). The next morning her daughter came to her VERY upset that the Tooth Fairy did not visit. My friend, being incredibly fast thinking for someone EXTREMELY hung over, replied to her daughter that it had rained last night and the Tooth Fairy did not visit in the rain as her wings would get wet and she couldn’t fly. Thought I would share as you never know when you will need to borrow this excuse. Feel free to substitute when necessary ....too hot, too cold, too much snow, etc..

  17. Awww, I hate missing things and having to ask the daycare teachers what happened, how he reacted, if he was happy, etc, etc, etc... it totally sucks. :(

    Congrats to the little man for losing his first tooth. I'm sure he looks adorable with the hole in his face! :)

  18. I taught daycare for 13 years, most of my time spent in the Infant and One Year Old rooms. And I was the biggest liar EVER. "Has little Johnny walked for you? He hasn't walked at home..." "NO! Not YET! We're waiting...";0) "Has Sara Sue said Mama?" "Absolutely NOT." Is lying bad? yes. But Mom Guilt is WAY worse. My heart broke every time I saw a first. Not to mention the fact that some Moms, in their anger, take it out on teacher in a very HS backstabby way. Which I Totally understand. And my husband wonders why I Insist on staying home at any cost and never leaving our one and only son unless he's asleep. LOL I don't want to miss anything! Not ONE thing!!! I Almost missed first potty moment while going potty myself!!! From all the stories, I can see that driving myself to insanity won't help bc I WILL miss something... IDK if I can accept it... I had "trouble" "staying" preg and he may be my only, ever(sucks to be him! LOL), so... I think my level of paranoia about it is unusually high. Guess I need to work on that in a big way. LOL




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts