My oldest baby lost her first tooth last Monday, and it didn't happen the way I always assumed it would. She did not wiggle the little tooth out herself and squeal with delight at the idea of the Tooth Fairy coming. Instead, at her routine dental exam, the dentist decided that these two lower front teeth were not likely to work themselves out on their own. I posted a few months ago about Dear Daughter having a second set of permanent teeth coming in behind the two baby ones up front. At that time, the dentist office thought they would loosen up and fall out on their own, but that was nearly four months ago.
As I sat in the waiting room for what I thought would only be a routine exam and cleaning on Dear Daughter's teeth, the dental assistant came out to tell me the dentist's opinion and to suggest just removing them while Daughter was still in the chair. I was afraid this is how it would go, but I was surprised that they wanted to take care of it right now. It made sense, and it made things more convenient. Daughter was already in the chair. Why come back in a week or two when we could do it now? "How is she doing?" I asked the assistant. She replied with confidence that she was doing just fine and that she always does just fine with them. She was clearly proud of my girl. The assistant went back in to assist with the procedure of extracting my firstborn baby's teeth. I waited in the lobby and apparently experienced more anxiety than my daughter did over the whole ordeal.
Fifteen minutes later the assistant returned to me to tell me it was done and that my daughter was doing great and how proud of her she is...and she went on and on about how great my little girl is and how sweet she is and how she didn't even flinch or cry or complain or resist or anything and, and, and.... I was escorted to my daughter's side. I entered the room behind Dear Daughter, still sitting in the exam chair. All I saw was the back of her head. When I spoke to her, she turned and grinned at me with a wad of bloody gauze wedged in the front of her lower gum and said allk happy and nonchalantly, "Hi Mommy!" she was all happy go lucky and excited over the little trinkets she was given in her dental care bag to take home. She was completely unconcerned about the fact that she just had two teeth ripped out of her mouth and she was chomping on bloody gauze. The assistant again went on and on about what a sweet girl she is what a great job we're doing with her as her parents and she just beamed at my daughter. I was proud of my girl, to say the least.
Another change in the gauze wad and a moment at the reception desk to drop a chunk of change (we do not have dental insurance and apparently extractions are rather expensive), and we were in the car and on our way to Dairy Queen. I promised my girl a treat to "take the edge off." In the car I asked her if the shot in her gums hurt a little. She responded cheerily with a muffled voice through the bloody gauze wad, "It hurt more than just a LITTLE!" I looked at her in the rear view mirror. She was grinning happily and proud of herself as she added, "and I didn't flinch or yell or even shed a single tear!" I then asked if she felt anything when they pulled the teeth out, like a little tug or something. She said nonchalantly, "No... (pause) ...but I DID feel and hear like a CRUNCHING sound when they yanked it out...." I winced, and my stomach turned a bit. I was glad I was facing forward and Daugther could only see the back of my head. I looked again at her face in the rear view mirror. She was smiling happily through the bloody gauze wad and humming a little happy tune as we pulled into Dairy Queen.
As we got out of the car I asked her if her mouth was numb and if it bothered her. I checked the damage in her mouth and saw two gaping bloody holes in the gums in front of the two perment teeth that are pushing through. They had stopped bleeding, so I told Daughter she didn't need to chomp on the gauze anymore. Daughter responded that the numbness didn't bother her. I reminded her that that was the worst part for her when she had to go through her dental surgery a year ago. She said casually, "Yeah...but I'm older now, and I can handle things like this now!"
And so my firstborn baby has now lost TWO teeth and she's barely 5 1/2 years old. It's not how I imagined approaching this milestone in her life. Regardless, I'm all weepy at the thought that my little girl is old enough to be losing the very same teeth that I was weepy about her getting in the first place just five short years ago.
This parenting thing sure is an emotional journey!