Monday, February 11, 2013

The First Baby Tooth

Not too long ago I wrote about how Aden lost her very last baby tooth.  I am feeling overwhelmed by how grown up she seems lately.  In many ways she's still my snuggly little girl, but now when I catch an unexpected glimpse of her moving through a room, poised and tall, she doesn't register as a kid anymore.  I don't truly understand where that baby went, the one I used to hoist up by my shoulder who would drape her tiny arm around my neck and stroke me lightly with her hands that had dimples for knuckles.

Proud of his Longest Road card
This week Quinn lost his first baby tooth.  He is also growing up faster than I'm ready to deal with.  Quinn recently started piano lessons and has learned how to play Settlers of Catan.

He is still my little barnacle boy, but instead of being a baby glued to my hip he's a tall kindergartener who cuddles as close as he can whenever I sit down and hugs my arm with both of his as we walk.  And now all those little teeth I watched coming in six years ago are starting to come out.

Our tooth fairy tradition has been to put a little present under the pillow in exchange for the tooth.  For Aden it was mostly Pokemon toys for a long time, then we switched to Littlest Pet Shop toys, then a string of things she was disappointed with before her last tooth came out and she got a stuffed dog that she adores.  Mona hasn't lost a tooth in about a year, and I'm not sure what to put under her pillow next time it comes up.  She's appreciative of everything, so I don't stress about it particularly.

But for Quinn I wasn't sure what to do.  That first tooth sets a precedent.  If you give your kid a dollar he will always expect a dollar.  The types of toys I'd given the girls didn't seem to fit him as well.  When he showed me his tooth was loose a couple of weeks ago I started thinking about it.

Quinn likes to collect things, and I figured this might be a good opportunity to start a new collection.  And he likes geography.  My first thought was maybe dole out a set of state magnets, but I couldn't find a set locally and I didn't want to order anything that wouldn't arrive in time.  And then I remembered his flag books.

Quinn makes these adorable little books at school where he draws all the flags in a certain region.  He's done whole little books of European flags, and South American flags, etc.  Why not collect little flags?  I found a local flag store that had little desk flags from every place you can name and a few you can't, and bought up about 30.

As he slept I put the Australian flag under his pillow.  In the morning he was so pleased when he came into our room to show it to me that I knew I had come up with something good.

There are so many things to doubt in parenting, even as you try to let a lot go and not stress about too much of it.  But then there are those rare moments where you feel like you hit it out of the park, and seeing Quinn with that gap in his smile and Australian flag in hand was one of those.  The real fun will start when he loses the second tooth and realizes there is a pattern.  It's harder for me to watch those baby teeth come out than I expected, but the flags are making that better for both of us.


  1. Seriously, could Quinn get any cooler. I love his geography obsession and adding flags to the mix is really neat.

    Great job Tooth Fairy!

  2. Hey, there is a serious gap in this tale! Where is the quoted note left by Quinn for the Tooth Fairy?

    1. Ah, true! I couldn't find the note to quote it directly, and my photo of it wasn't good enough.

      For those interested in the entire story: Quinn wasn't sure if he wanted to let the tooth fairy have his first tooth. I told him to leave her a note, so he wrote an adorable little scrap of a letter that said essentially, "Here's my tooth, do what you want." I decided to leave his tooth and still give him the prize, but the baggie slipped between the mattress and the bed frame in the night, so Quinn assumed it was gone, and seemed fine with that. I fished the baggie out from his bed a couple of days later and added it to my disturbing collection of teeth in my underwear drawer.

  3. Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you realize you've selected the perfect "thing" for your child?

    I haven't had to cross the my-baby-is-losing-baby-teeth bridge yet, and won't for awhile, but I sympathize nonetheless.

    As for your comment above about disturbing teeth collections--mine too is in an underwear drawer. I'm sure we're not the only two out there. ;o)


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