Gorilla Girl lost her first tooth. This physical signal of her development took me a bit by surprise. Though I was a little worried that Gorilla Girl lost her tooth too soon, our dentist assured me that even though she is on the young end, at nearly five, she is still within the standard time frame for first tooth loss. Gorilla Girl was excited by the event, and even more by the thank you note with a dollar left the by the tooth fairy.
When I was talking to a parent of toddlers the other night, she noticed Gorilla Girl’s missing tooth, and when her son said he wished he could lose a tooth, too, she said she would rather it not happen too soon. As she talked about her kids, she said she wished she could prevent them from growing up. She wanted to keep them small, hugable, and innocent. This sign of the inevitability of growing up caused her to lament how quickly kids change and how we can’t keep them in our hold for very long.
Perhaps I am less mournful of my kids growing up and changing than my neighbor because I have been a teacher for so long, and I look forward each new phase of Gorilla Girl’s and Monkey Man’s development. When Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man were babies, I enjoyed the time with them, but I was happy to see them move into a time when they developed better communication and play skills. I like watching them interact and play, and grow their ideas and abilities. I suppose there might come a time when I mourn the loss of innocence and the simplicity of childhood, but for now, I welcome each new change, imperceptible as they are on a day to day basis.