A few of Christopher's friends have started to lose their first teeth. Mrs. Vesta, his Kindergarten teacher, has a tooth chart in the classroom on which I assume kids pin some sort of sticker or something when they've lost a tooth. I'm a little fuzzy on most of the goings on in his classroom. The kid isn't really into sharing details, unless we're talking about Minecraft or Snackeeze (don't ask).
At the boys last dentist appointment Chris was given an oral x-ray. Upon review, the dentist noted that he didn't have any teeth looking anywhere near ready to fall out. This was no big deal to Christopher, but unfortunately Matthew, having not been gently briefed on the anatomical fact that baby teeth do in fact fall out and it's perfectly fine and normal, overheard the dentists' comments and FREAKED OUT. He's kind of a sensitive kid, and the idea of his teeth falling out of his face had him in absolute shambles. So much so that even after lots of calm conversations about big boy teeth and the tooth fairy (freaked him out more) and growing up, he declared (in panicked tears) in early October that he never wanted to turn 5 years old (the age when teeth can start falling out) and that he wanted dress up as an actual tooth for Halloween. Because if a tooth can fall out of your face, dressing up as one for Halloween would be SUPER scary. Obviously.
Fast forward several months, and several carefully worded conversations about teeth, to a couple of weeks ago. Chris complained of some pain in his front teeth when eating an apple. I asked him to let me look and jokingly said, "maybe you have a loose tooth". And wouldn't you know it, he does. Two in fact. The bottom ones. All wiggly and jiggly and weirdly moving around in there. He looked slightly panicked for a second when I screamed they were loose, but now he's mostly excited for them to come out.
Despite the face that Niall and I are totally freaked out by the thought of pulling them when they start hanging by a thread and are both actively making pleas not to be the parent in charge that hour, I can't help but be a little wistful about the whole thing. He's grown up so much this year, from 5 to almost 6. And when I see kids with mouths full of holes left by baby teeth sent off with the tooth fairy, I don't look at them as little guys and girls anymore. It's a childhood rite that sort of moves kids swiftly from little ones to big ones in my mind. And while he's always been the big kid in our family, he's not often been a big kid in his wider peer group.
In order to mark the last few weeks of my little kid just as he is now and before his face turns into a gummy mess of toothless smiles, I thought I steal him away for as long as he'd let me (14 minutes), and try to snag a couple of shots of his sweet 5 year old baby-teeth-still-intact smile. Turns out he doesn't so much like to smile with his mouth open these days.
Even so, here's my little C-Man, teeter-tottering on the edge of big kid land. He still holds my hand in the grocery store, but won't let me kiss him good-by before a birthday party. He wants to make his breakfast and lunch on his own every day, but insists on sleeping with his beloved stuffed dog every night. He blushes when I mention his "super pretty" school friend Mae yet he's still enamored with Curious George cartoons. Watching him move from here to there, sometimes in teeny tiny baby steps and other times in big giant leaps has been the very, very best.