My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Tooth and Consequences

2006-09-19

Dusty lost another tooth yesterday. At school. The school nurse put her tooth in a tiny plastic treasure chest. Dusty didn’t want to give the treasure chest to the tooth fairy so we transferred the tooth to a tiny plastic bag. (I admit that I save all those little bags that buttons come in when you buy new clothes.)

The tooth fairy left her a dollar. She now has $8 saved up (one of her grandmas recently sent her $5 which seems an obscene amount of money to give a five-year-old, but what do I know?). Before she considered wast—I mean spending her money on something frivolous, I suggested we take a trip to the craft store and she could pick out some art supplies – replenish her stock of colored feathers, sequins, rubber stamps, etc. She liked the idea so we’ll do that.

As soon as the next tooth falls which, by the look of it, should be sometime today. The thing is dangling by a thread. A thread composed of air.

“Man, that tooth’s just hanging by a thread,” I said at dinner. It's making me kind of crazy seeing it in her mouth all crooked and wobbly.

“That’s what the nurse said – hanging by a thread!” Dusty replied.

“Don’t you just want to, maybe, flick it, yank it and be done with it?” It's all I can do to keep myself from leaning over and taking matters into my own hands.

“Nnnnnnn!” Dusty whined and twisted her body away from me. She’s very protective of her personal parts. We grow farther apart.

She recently allowed me to trim her bangs but her original idea (whispered to me so daddy wouldn't hear) was for me to let her cut her own bangs. Not bloody likely!

When she crawls into my lap these days, her body is much less familiar to me than it was when she was a baby, a toddler. Back then, I knew every square inch of her flesh. I wiped that particular nose, brushed those teeth that are falling out by the dozens it seems, brushed that hair, inspected those eyes and ears, wiped that butt.

Now, she’s so self-sufficient, there’s very little I need to do. Sometimes I jokingly pretend to be a mother monkey picking nits out of her baby monkey fur but she doesn’t stand for it for long. The joke grows old quickly.

We are like a piece of taffy – she on one end, me on the other. Since birth, the piece has been pulled and pulled by infinitesimal increments until at some point – and you never see it coming – it finally snaps. The cord, the connection that bound the two of you, is broken. She’s her own autonomous self. And I am over here watching from the sidelines. No longer allowed to photograph every change (she wouldn’t let me take a picture of her toothless mouth this morning), no longer allowed to brush her hair. I am grateful she can take care of the potty issues all by herself but I miss the rest of it. I've lost track of all her little moles.

And while I am still an extension of Red, that too is coming to an end. She likes to practice brushing her hair (and everyone else’s), doing the things her sister can do. At some point her body will be a stranger to me as well. The taffy pull will snap in two.

At some point, you have to let go. Even when you don’t want to. Nothing stays the same forever.

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9:24 a.m. ::
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