Friday, February 27, 2015

Not-So-Baby Baby

It's been a weird few weeks with the Monkey girl. There has been drama and crying and ravenous eating that is impressive by its sheer magnitude (and the related issue of where all of that is going, because I swear this kid never poops anymore).

She has been saying for months that she has a loose tooth. When asked to demonstrate, she will rub her finger back and forth on one of her bottom front teeth. MDD and I have repeatedly had to burst her bubble by telling her that all that's actually moving is her finger.

But at her most recent dental checkup, along with the all-clear for no cavities (yay!), there was actual confirmation by trained dental professionals of the looseness of the toothness.

But it's not one. Oh, of course not! Why would we settle for that?

Nope. All FOUR of her front bottom teeth are loose.

Which certainly explains why the two middle ones are looking kinda snaggly lately. They are pushing up and out and starting to look like they are trying to be the "Y" in the "YMCA dance."

Monkey is of course excited and proud, if a little scared also.

I am...I don't even know. It's so weird and kind of stupid, because these things are supposed to be happening, of course.

It's just...those were the first two little teeth we saw for her. The first brave stragglers poking through just before she turned a year old, after MONTHS of teething pain and horrific diaper blowouts that Ti-Ti still swears may have peeled the paint off her walls.

Monkey's happy, because although she is the second oldest kid in her class (one girl beat her by literally ONE DAY), she is one of the last to have any loose or missing teeth. So I think she is feeling relieved to be reclaiming her oldest/big-kid status in class.

Mommy is conflicted.

It is one more set of firm, tangible proof that every day is one day closer to her growing up and never being this same little kid anymore. It is hard to imagine and bittersweet to grasp and I wind up simultaneously clinging to her little-ness and bursting with pride at the amazing person I see her becoming.

Slowly, but surely, bit by bit, my baby is no longer a baby.

She will of course tell me she hasn't been a baby for a LONG TIME. Duh, not since she ditched the binky, because those were FOR BABIES. 

Every once in a while I ask her to make me a promise. Sometimes she rolls her eyes, but she always complies.

My sweet little Monkey has promised that somewhere in her, she will always stay just a LITTLE BIT little. Just for her Mommy, who looks at her no-longer-chubby cheeks and her ankles poking out of the pants we JUST BOUGHT a couple months ago...

For her Mommy, who now cringes when she brushes this child's teeth because the move in weird ways and Mommy's stomach flips a little bit every time.

For her Mommy, who knows this most unexpected and ridiculously loved blessing will be the one and only person on earth who will ever know what my voice and heartbeat sound like from the inside.

For me, she will hold some part of her childhood, in acknowledgement that I will always see her as my baby. Even when she is forty years old herself and dealing with who-knows-what in her own family and career.

Even then, I will look at her smirky smile and remember those two brave teeth poking their way through her then-empty, gummy mouth.

I will remember the open-mouthed, drooling baby "kisses" and the sound of "Mama!" uttered in joy but muffled by the ever-present pacifier.

I will remember that we ate "be-seens" and "go-go" and watched "El-MO-mo" together.

I will remember the distinct movement she makes as she falls asleep on my chest. Which has not changed, in 6+ years. If she is snuggled on me, I can tell you exactly when she has fallen asleep. There is a settling to her snuggle and a warmth to her head that I would know anywhere.

There has been a lot going on with me lately. Medical stuff and tests and doctors and things I don't want to get into right now. But it's made me look around and realize that I need to be present IN the present. See. Smell, Hug. Live.

Because if those coltish legs and lumberjack appetite are any indication, she's growing like crazy and OK-- she's supposed to, it's good.

But it also takes her, by little baby steps, just a wee bit further away from being that round little baby with the smiling, chubby cheeks.

She has friends and activities and homework and this whole life of her her own that is just starting to make its fuzzy landscape known. Much of it will involve me-- as much as she will let me, really, when it all comes down to it.

But the whole point of raising tiny humans is to give them their foundation so they find their own way into the world. I don't know that I really saw how torn that makes every parent...

When your child is an infant, you are kinda consumed by infancy. There are schedules and feedings and serious sleep deprivation, and laundry (dear GOD, the laundry!). Then they get mobile and it's all about making sure they don't eat rocks or put things in the outlet or fall down steps.

It's all such a blur sometimes, and they are just changing and growing and developing. That's why I started this blog in the first place. I haven't kept up with writing as often as I had hoped.

I write so I will remember, and share that with her. I want her to know how much every little nuance of her being has changed my entire world-- and I wouldn't want it any other way.

And yes...all this because of some loose teeth and outgrown pants. 

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