The wobbles

26 May

Wobbly teeth

We’ve just potty trained my 3-year-old son. No more nappies. Less junk to lug around when out and about (or there will be when we can stop taking out multiple changes of clothes ‘just in case’). Happy days. But it also brings with it a sprinkling (if you’ll pardon the urinary pun) of sadness as another milestone passes. Potty training is a significant stage as it finally marks your child’s transition out of babyhood. As every parent knows though, just when you think you’ve conquered one challenge, there’s always another one waiting around the corner. Just in time to soothe mummy’s throbbing ovaries, my 5-year-old has her first wobbly tooth.

It’s all too easy to dwell on the passing of the baby years and forget that there are plenty of new milestones to look forward to. A wobbly tooth might not seem to warrant as much relentless bragging about as a child’s first steps but in some ways it is more significant. As adults, we don’t remember uttering our first words but we do remember our first wobbly tooth (or at least a wobbly tooth). You may even be lucky enough to remember that stage when it’s almost out and you can twist it around 360 degrees on just a string of gummy flesh. Failing that, you’ll be certain to remember clicking it with your tongue. Perhaps you really did wrap string around the tooth and tie it to a door. For once, here is a memory-maker that’s not just for the parents.

Let’s not forget that the wobbly tooth also represents another opportunity for parents to weave a web of lies. From now on, it’s not just the Father Christmas myth that we need to keep alive – it’s the even more implausible existence of the Tooth Fairy (a being only slightly more plausible than the Easter Bunny). Maybe it’s because the Tooth Fairy promises merely a coin and not a pile of gifts, but it has been far harder to persuade my daughter that this dental diva exists. She knows that fairies (of the general sort) aren’t real, so why should this very niche model exist? She did seem won over by my suggestion that if you swallow a tooth, the Tooth Fairy has to search through your poo for it. There’s nothing like the hilarity of bodily functions to make you want to will something into existence.

She really has to trust me on this one. The fact that she isn’t so ready to trust me and accept the Tooth Fairy without question is another sign that she is growing up. Every milestone, albeit exciting, carries with it a hint of sadness. Or, if you’re more of a glass half full type, every milestone is something for you to relish getting your parenting teeth into – but I reckon you’ll still feel a bit wobbly inside.

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