Oh, kid. I’ve derailed a bit with my writing, but I can’t let another day go by without writing about how you’ve exploded into KID-ness in such a short span of time. Your baby days were brief and have long since passed, and every few months, it seems, you give me cause to do a double-take. Suddenly you’re able to reach things on ever-higher shelves, tell time, manage math problems. Were you ever a chubby-cheeked baby like the one asleep beside me now? It’s hard to believe as I leaned over your tall figure this evening (stop growing, will you?!) and kissed you good night.
Last week you’d been gone from the living room for an unusually long time. I heard you rustling in the bathroom and suspected shenanigans. We almost collided in the hallway, where you met my Serious Mommy Eyes with a look of terror. “What are you doing?” I fired at you. I expected a flooded floor. Or toothpaste artistry on the walls.
Your hand flew to your mouth. “My… toof,” you mumbled around your fingers. And I realized instantly: Your tooth was loose. All visions of sopping rugs and Colgate Picasso dissipated with the epiphany that you’d been inspecting your wiggly tooth in the mirror, no doubt, wondering at the meaning of it all.
I grinned big. As soon as you saw this you grinned too, the truth of it becoming clear in your own mind just moments after it had in mine. “My tooth! It’s loose! The tooth fairy will come!” you squealed.
We’ve spent the days since then
negotiating discussing what the Tooth Fairy might bring when your tooth finally dislodges. You were rather disappointed when I shared that a Wii game might not be in the Tooth Fairy’s budget. So fixated you’ve been on the looming visit from her that, thankfully, you haven’t registered my Glossy Sentimental Eyes. Yes, dear, I remember so vividly still when your smiles constituted no teeth whatsoever.
As if all this tooth business wasn’t enough, you went and finished the book of stories we’ve been working through. You learned to READ in the last five months, Gabriel, and the significance was lost on you until last night. We were walking briskly through the Target parking lot, heads tucked into the collars of our coats, when you suddenly hopped closer to me and chirped: “Mommy! That says ‘door’!” By golly, it did. From there, you pointed out ‘bags’, ‘Stop’, ‘today’… The mumbo jumbo suddenly made sense. Your world’s transformed. And so has mine.
I may remember your gummy smiles but there are hazy gaps already where other things used to be, and even the enormous quantity of pictures I’ve taken won’t fill the spaces. This, though, I want to revisit, this crossing from kid to KID, when I ruffled your hair as you read signs and boxes and book covers, awash in triumph and the magic of sparking knowledge. You’re amazing, KID, and I’m so proud to be your mother. …. But no, I don’t think the Tooth Fairy will bring you a skateboard.