When I was growing up, I loved all of Judy Blume's books, and one of the scenes that stuck with me over the years was in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, when one of Margaret's friends who had claimed to have already gotten her period actually gets her period while she's with Margaret and proceeds to fall to pieces. It was such a brilliant scene, so true to the ways that girls (especially) are both eager and terrified of growing up, and the ways that we often makes it so much harder for one another that it needs to be. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to read her books.
Over the summer, The Boy lost four teeth in rapid succession. They were not the first teeth he lost so it was accomplished with very little drama--he was all about the cash incentive provided by the tooth fairy. Still, it was too much for The Girl. She was feeling left out, and so started talking about her wiggly teeth. For months now, we've heard about her wiggly teeth, and we dutifully watched her poke around in her mouth at teeth that were not remotely loose and we oohed and ahhed about how the tooth fairy would surely be making a stop by her room soon.
Not content to wait, she soon told us that she had lost a tooth--a molar way in the back so we couldn't see it--and that the tooth fairy had stopped by her room and had brought her money that she had already put in her piggy bank.
Recently, she has had a bottom front tooth start wiggling. For real. At first she tried to play it cool, like the sophisticated lady she is. But last night at bedtime as the tooth clicked and clacked in and out of place, she lost her mind. You could see the realization dawn on her that this tooth was going to come out and be gone forever. A new one might grow in, but she could not unlose the tooth. The Boy tried to reassure her that he had lost his teeth and was perfectly okay, but her lip got trembly and her eyes got glassy, and she cried.
I told her it was part of growing up, and that made her cry harder. "I don't want to grow up!" She cried, and then I had to work on not crying too. We talked about all the good things that happen with growing up: you can sit wherever you want to on the school bus, you can take that class you want to take at the Nature Center that's only for first graders, you can walk to your friend's house around the corner without your mom tagging along. This calmed her down a bit.
"I only want to grow up until I'm old enough to have a pet," she finally relented. And then she went to sleep.
And I went off to think about Judy Blume and all the milestones that still lie ahead.