The other day as we sat on the couch, Thing 2 asked me, "Dad, when are my teeth going to fall out? Some of my friends are already falling out.”
I half-smiled, half-grimaced at the both the question and the sentiment. My little girl, this tiny human that I made is growing up but I'm not ready. She on the other hand, is in a real rush.
“Soon”, I replied.
“But not too soon”, I thought to myself.
Thing 2 is quite small for her age and while she is brilliant academically, she is still struggling to find her feet in the physical world. Especially with an older, sporty brother who still lacks the patience to help her learn. I see her yearning to grow up and something like losing her teeth, is a right of passage for her.
She's ready. I'm not.
I was never really upset to see the kids leave the baby stage because once they can interact with you as their own people, they are just so much more fun. But this question of losing teeth, made me long for her baby days. I guess I realised that although I love them at they stages they're at now, they won't stay there for long and as they get older, the future stages look less fun and more hard work.
I don't want teenagers.
I want kids with baby teeth.
I still tell my kids off for growing up and demand that they stop it immediately. They're at ages where they still find this funny and giggle in their high-pitches. Sometimes Thing 2 even sense my sadness at the idea of them growing up and reminds me that she'll always live at our house.
Only if you stay 6, love.
Teeth seem to play a pivotal role in our development - we're either waiting for them to come in, waiting for them to fall out, waiting for them to come in again or hoping that they don't fall out with age.
"Don't rush it", I said.
Of course, I wasn't just talking about her teeth, I meant all of it.
We always seem to be caught up in "what next". What's the next milestone, the next stage, the next adventure. So caught up that I wonder if we ever truly appreciate the moment we are in right now.
"It'll happen soon enough", I reassured her.
This seemed to satisfy her for the moment. Me too. But knowing that "soon enough" would become "too soon", I wrapped her up in my arms and treasure that very moment and etched it in my mind.