Sentimental Teeth

I knew that parenthood would be a series of sentimental throat punches. I knew I would cry at certain milestones. I wasn’t one of those people who said, “who gets upset by a haircut?” I knew those things would get to me.

But there are things that I was not prepared to feel all mushy and sappy about. I wasn’t prepared to look at outgrown clothes and want to hold on to them even though no one would ever wear them again if I did. I wasn’t ready for seeing a small person in a large backpack. And I surely never expected to become attached to teeth.

TEETH. A human body part.

A couple years ago, we found a little box with teeth in it at my parents’ house. My mom said it was one of our (me or my brothers) baby teeth. We were all entirely grossed out. Why in the WORLD would anyone keep those things? Ew. It’s like having a box of human hair or clipped finger nails lying around. WHY?

But then my own children started losing their baby teeth.

When the dentist told us that Eddie had wiggly teeth three years ago, I felt oddly sad. “First ones in, first ones out,” she said to me about the bottom two. I remembered those two teeth coming in. How it felt like we could feel them in his gums forever until one day…pop!…they both poked through at the same time.

When the first one fell out and Cortney Tooth Fairy-ed it, he handed it to me, “Here. I don’t know what you want to do with this.”

I had fully planned to throw it away because it’s a tooth. But I looked at that tiny chicklet tooth…that baby tooth…and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw it out, so I put it in a baggie to deal with later. But later turned into more teeth joining it in that baggie. And an index card with the date each fell out.

Charlie lost his first tooth last week.

AND HE WAS ALL CAPS EXCITED ABOUT LOSING HIS FIRST TOOTH. And so was I! It’s a big deal!

But there was that little twinge of sadness again.

Teething was so so so SO hard on Charlie. He suffered forever before those little things popped through. Teething definitely hit Charlie more than my other two. He got all four front teeth almost simultaneously, but not after long-suffering high fevers, projectile vomit and poops that left him with diaper rash so bad it caused his tiny booty to bleed. We had to get a special prescription butt cream for him that cost somewhere around a million dollars (it was like magic though, and definitely worth the cost).

I spend hours rocking him and soothing him through that horrible teething. He’s a tough little dude and bounced back right after those teeth popped through.

So I did it again. After Cortney tooth fairy-ed, he handed me the tiny chicklet tooth and I put a card in the bag with “right, front bottom–3/26/18” written on it. Then I stuffed that gross tooth bag next to Eddie’s gross tooth bag in my jewelry box.

Someday my kids will find them and be all “ewww. mom! Why?!?”

And I’ll probably just shrug and smile and say, “it seemed like the thing to do.”

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.