Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Growing Pains & a Tooth Swallowing

"What is a teenager?" the Moose asked me a few days ago. He has trouble going between Japanese numbers and American numbers. You say, "Ten three, ten four," etc., for the Japanese equivalent of thirteen, fourteen, etc., in English. I assumed this question was related to his number quandary, clarifying, "Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen," etc. He then asked, "What's ten?" "Ten? Oh, that's when you are a big kid," I said realizing he was after something else. He drilled down further, asking, "What's eleven?", "twelve?" and finally "What's twenty?" I responded, "When your body is done growing."

A few nights ago, eating Mama's dense almond cake, the Moose's bottom front tooth came out, in the cake. He didn't want to spit out his cake he later explained so he swallowed it. It was only his second tooth to come out so he's still new at loosing teeth.

We consulted with Dada to confirm that no harm would come from swallowing one's own tooth. He was then fine until his sister asked about the Tooth Fairy, then the tears erupted. I emailed the Tooth Fairy. The Moose wanted to know between boohoos, "How did you find the Tooth Fairy's email?" "The Tooth Fairy's on the internet like everyone else these days," I said matter of factly. "She said it's not a problem." He found a gold yen coin under his pillow in the morning so it seems the email thing works.

The Moose has a birthday on the horizon, he'll be seven soon. Turns out those questions about numbers, ages, and terms like teenager, adult, and big kid are percolating in his being. Add a recent mama trip away, a lost tooth, and a looming birthday and you get a worried moose. Tonight he said, "I don't want to grow up. I want to be with my mama." I reassured him, "At seven kid you are a long way from being a grown up. Your mama is right here, and you can spend as much time with her as you like." I got a big hug.

I didn't want to grow up when I was a kid either, at times. Getting older seemed scary- your body changed, you had responsibilities, and there was that whole no mama and no dada concern. There were other moments when I couldn't wait to be a grown up so I could do it my way. Ha! Now I work for my family. There is no end in sight to the amount of work I do- the chores, the meals, the errands, the "oops I forgot ... can you do this for me" moments, the "look at me", and the "mama, mama, mama" calls I get.

My children change each day- a visual reminder of how fleeting life is. The moment at hand is a healthy antidote to this thought. I resort to it more than I would like to admit. Hugs that squeeze the breathe out of you help too.