I love to see Eva laugh. When something really tickles her, her mouth opens wide, her head swings back and she lets the loudest uncomplicated sound of laughter escape her lips as her hair wafts around her face trying to keep up. She laughs so hard that tears trickle from her twinkly eyes, droplets of saliva sit innocently on her lips and she can just about catch her breath before it consumes her once again and she doubles over gripping her stomach which is in spasm from the sheer effort of emitting that beautiful sound. She finally catches her breath once more and looks up from being completely lost in the moment of utter joy with that exhausted happy grin.
The grin that is now one tooth less and that in an instant has completely changed forever.
A very big moment occurred in this house this week. It has indeed been a long time coming as Eva noticed a few weeks ago that three of her – yes three – front teeth were wobbly. To be honest I don’t think she was a fan and, much like me, found it all a bit icky and avoided anything to do with it. She seemed to be in this strange place of really wanting to join most of her friends who have lost teeth and follow in that rite of passage at school which seems to signify such a big thing. To being grossed out by it, a bit nervous about how it might feel both to lose a tooth and in fact to have no tooth there at all. She has spent the last few weeks and particularly the early part of this week not eating anything with the front of her mouth and instead opting to gnaw on food at the side and hold it in her cheek like a squirrel.
On Wednesday however she came home saying it felt weird and in the car after school very kindly and to my utter surprise lent over the drivers seat to show me that she could push it to an almost right angle with her tongue! Which I of course told her to stop immediately in fear I might just throw up or pull it out right there and then so she would never ever do that again!
When she went to bed though she got a bit upset. It wasn’t hurting or anything but the fear of the unknown has never been her strong point and I think she was worried that it would hurt when it did come out or would fall out in the night and she would unknowingly swallow it!
Thankfully it survived the night and over breakfast on Thursday morning she appeared looking proud as punch with her new toothless grin, a little blood stain on her lip and a tiny white tooth grasped tightly in between her fingers. She was giddy with excitement, she went to have a look in the mirror, chatted all about how everyone was going to be so surprised and phoned Eddy to tell him the big news.
All while I shed and wiped tears myself. It seems silly to get emotional every time we go through a milestone like this. They do grow up fast and we can’t stop time even though we would all like to and it’s no surprise. I had been waiting and anticipating this moment for a while now as all of her friends had lost teeth around her. But to be truthful I saw their faces change and how grown up they now looked with gaps in their smiles or new adult teeth and I just wanted to keep my little girls perfect little face and perfect little smile just the way it was. The way I have known it for so very long.
I remember when we painstakingly grew each and every one of those teeth. When this very one which was now lost poked through the gum and I felt the razor sharp feeling for the first time. How with the appearance of each one it totally transformed her face. The baby that I knew for those first few months with the gummy toothless grin turned into a little girl in that moment. I remember the songs we would sing to brush her teeth, the same made up slightly embarrassing song I still sing to her sister. How she used baby toothpaste for so long because older ones were “too spicy” but how she still always brushes them and loves to floss too. Those teeth have seen her through different phases with food, her dislike for asparagus and onions, her love of olives and broccoli and helped her crunch on apples and carrots. They have also sent shivers down my spine as they scrape along an ice lolly, made me laugh covered in dark chocolate vegan cake and have certainly bitten a finger or two in their time, thankfully her own…mostly! But most of all, it has been the only face that Roma has ever known.
She bounded off to school that morning proud to tell anyone that looked in her direction about this momentous occasion and thankfully everyone else was as excited too. She had had all day to talk to her peers about it and came home excited to put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy.
Friday morning came and despite the fact that she almost always wakes up before any of us and just stays in her room reading until she hears us, or rather Roma, get up, she shouted me. I opened her door slightly annoyed and she said innocently “Can I look under my pillow to see if the tooth fairy has left me anything please?” This child has some serious patience bless her. And of course the tooth fairy had left her a £2 coin which she held tightly in her hand all morning before putting it in her Roald Dahl money box and telling me that given she had 20 teeth and would get £1 for each subsequent one she wondered what she might spend her £21 on. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she would have to wait a fair few years yet.
It has been a few days now and she is still in the excited stage. We went for a coffee today and my sister and Eddy showed her how she could put a straw through the gap and drink without opening her mouth! It’s all exciting and new and I think she has really felt like this milestone makes a big difference. One that she can celebrate, appreciate and really own.
I have to admit every single time I look at her it still takes me by surprise. I’m so thankful that I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and I already look back and think wow. I guess I will always still expect to see my baby, the one that went from a gummy smile, to a mouth full of perfectly straight white teeth and to be greeted with a gap which seems much bigger than the one tiny tooth that is left behind just reminds me how grown up she really is. How independent she is becoming, how I want to soak up every single last second and how it makes my heart hurt a little bit.
Soon she will lose the other wobbly bottom teeth, the bigger top ones, and grow new ones that will frame her face and set her smile forever. But she will still be my Eva Dee, and I will love that smile, just as much as I have loved every other one.
She is still perfect. Her smile, her laugh, her heart. She’s now just a different version of it.