You can go ahead and Google it, I'll wait, because I'm not going to foster nightmares here, ha. Brace yourselves for some serious buttchills.
I call it a Tooth Monster.
My friend was mortified, wondering why I'd share such a creepy image, as they too have small children, and once you see this it's hard to unsee it, especially once you look at your kids, knowing that exists within them. I kind of chuckled, thinking something along the lines of If I have to suffer so do you, but really I was looking for validation of my tooth aversion.
I find teeth creepy. Don't ask me why. I also don't like small holes. These two things are probably related.
A few nights ago, I noticed something wasn't quite right while helping Kiedis brush his teeth. However, teeth-brushing is not my son's favorite thing and neither is bedtime, so I resolved to investigate in the morning before his first day back to school post winter break.
And sure enough, I've been harboring my own little tooth monster.
I wish I could say I was unprepared for this milestone, but truth be told the week before the holiday break, I received a call from the kids' school because apparently another child had shoved Kiedis and he fell, mouth-first, into a table. The school nurse and the speech pathologist called, telling me two of his front teeth (his already-grey front incisor from an unfortunate incident with a Lexan water bottle being dropped and bouncing right back up into his little toddler mouth) and the minor incisor next to it were now wiggly so I needed to take him to the dentist, stat.
So I threw on my cleanest PJs and picked my kids up and drove to the dentist, who made time for an emergency visit during lunch to make sure he hadn't damaged his permanent teeth.
Luckily, his adult teeth appear to be intact, but the dentist advised me that he may lose those two teeth sooner rather than later.
So, the talk of the tooth fairy began, because how else do you prepare a child (never mind one with sensory and transition issues) for the concept of their teeth literally falling out of their head without inciting panic?
I snapped those photos Monday morning, thinking we probably had a few days before that little tooth jumped ship.
I was wrong.
Back at my first evening at work since the holiday break, I get a text from the kids' dad.
My heart dropped.
I missed it.
I asked for pictures and received blurry, dim shots in response. I call their dad to talk to Kiedis, who just wanted to finish the movie he was watching so he had no time for me, and their dad and I briefly discuss how to put a Tooth Fairy plan into motion.
The next morning, it is a snow day (because of course it is, one day back from break) and I am woken up by my son's face inches from mine as I lay in my bed, the tiny storage container I placed a quarter in to hide under his pillow when I returned from work the night prior held gingerly in his cupped hands.
"Mommy! Mommy da Toof Fairy gabe me a penny see?!?! I got a penny from da Toof Fairy!" His face shone with glee and wonder as he showed me the container. I smiled and asked him to see it, asking about how he lost the tooth and what he'd like to do with his new coin.
He ran back out of the room, and I rose to follow him.
Before I could ask him to show me his new smile, he took the quarter out of the container.
"Mommy, dis penny is for da Mommy. Is your penny, Mommy," he said while he made a grand bow, akin to a Disney Prince, while holding the quarter gingerly out towards me.
And my heart exploded.
I tried to convince him it was his quarter from the Tooth Fairy, that he should put it in his piggy bank, and he insisted it was for me. I asked him if I could take pictures of his new smile, finally, while silently being so grateful I'd managed to snap the pre-loss pics just 24 hours before.
His adult tooth is already poking through, ready to lead the charge of many more losses and many more quarters.
The quarter now sits on my dresser, near the tiny container holding his lost tooth (because I can't really bear to throw it away even though, without the attached sentiment, it kind of skeeves me out) as I take deep breaths.
Things as they are, I will miss more firsts, more milestones, and each and every one will leave their little razor-thin scars on my heart.
But for every missed moment, there are the ones I can't predict, the ones that lay a balm on those scars and remind me there is still so much here, connections that can't be severed with little people who will never cease to amaze me with their kindness, their generosity, and their love.
It's a give and take. And may we three always give each other more than we ever take.