GUEST POST: India — My Baby is Growing Up

GUEST POST: India — My Baby is Growing Up

toothlessOne moment everything seemed fine and the next I was creating a little puddle of tears on my Yogasana mat.

I emerged from the yogasana pose to find unexpected sobs bursting through my throat, catching me completely unawares. A little part of my mind wondered what this was all about. And then I realized this was probably because of a niggling dissonance within, a reaction to a new milestone in my son’s growth that had not yet been completely accepted or acknowledged. This is what had led to the sudden grey cloud near the heart, that burst through as tears.

This morning, as Abhishek, my son, was having his breakfast before leaving for school, he called out to me saying that there seemed to be a gap between his two lower incisors. I touched a tooth and immediately found it was loose. The milk tooth would soon fall. We grinned and Abhi told me about how Kirti, his school mate, already had two teeth missing. I thought of a couple of his other friends, senior to him by a year, wearing gap-toothed smiles with part-embarrassment, part -pride. Now he would be a part of that gang too.

As we waited at the bus-stop for his school bus, we talked of the concept of the tooth-fairy. We both agreed that the concept was “cute”. I bid him bye, returned home and resumed my morning chores.

But somewhere in the heart, deep, deep down, the unarticulated thought had arrived – our little baby is about to lose his baby teeth. How did the years fly by so fast? And that would have been the genesis of the tears.

The innocence and unsullied grace of childhood are truly magical and seem long-lasting. But the pace of change and growth can actually be so rapid, that the heart can seem overwhelmed. Scarcely does a new milestone–a habit, a skill, or a new activity–set in, than the “Finish” line for that zooms forward, and before one knows it, it is time to say goodbye to yet another phase of one’s child’s growing years.

So much to cherish and so little time! It seems like it was only yesterday that I was rhapsodizing over Abhishek’s four new, shiny little teeth and feeling nostalgic about toothless, gummy smiles. And now it’s time for those very teeth to go!

“So what?”, one may wonder. A purely practical approach to this whole thing would be that his physical growth is going on fine and that I ought to be feeling reassured!

But to me it seems to be much more than that. His shaky little tooth tells me a lot of things. It reminds me that he is growing up quickly and that the only mandate I have been given from the Universe is to give him love, pure and unadulterated, intense and in every moment. It shows me the passage of the seasons of time – the travails of toddler-hood have given way to heart-touchingly earnest attempts at responsibility for this sweet-yet-solemn almost-six-year-old.

But most of all, the tooth reminds me that “this too shall pass!”

So must change be heralded by tears? Not at all. Something tells me that some of the tears were tears of regret, for all those “Not now please, I am busy” moments, when I allowed temporary realities to hijack my energies away from the greater priority of sharing my time and care with him.

Those moments are irretrievable and all I can hope is that this tooth has taught me a valuable learning. And then there were a few tears of concerns: am I ready to guide him right as he reaches a new phase of growth? As ready as I will ever be, I guess.

And then there were tears of joy: my little one, darling creature of the Universe, is growing up.

Motherhood seems like a permanent stage of “Work in Progress”. There is no “Finished Product”, just a heart that smiles, cries, is pulled and stretched and learns to give some more.

This is an original guest post from Piya Mukherjee in Mumbai, India; Mother, Corporate Trainer, Director.

The image used in this post is attributed to Stephanie Sicore of Young@Art. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

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WASHINGTON, USA:  “The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez”

WASHINGTON, USA: “The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez”

I arrived at the doorway of my daughter’s pre-school classroom to pick her up.  We made eye contact and I could see that she was very excited.  I knelt down to her level as she ran over to me and happily announced, “Mommy!  I met the tooth fairy today!”  “You met the tooth fairy?” I incredulously replied.  “Yes!  She wears glasses and wings, and a blue dress,” my daughter replied.  One of her teachers walked over smiling having overheard our conversation.  She explained that the Tooth Fairy, from the Center for Pediatric Dentistry, had in fact come to visit the children and talked to them about the importance of taking care of their teeth by brushing every day and not eating too many sugary sweets.

That was the first time my daughter had ever heard of the tooth fairy, but she quickly took to the idea and I could tell that she was already eagerly looking forward to the day she would lose her first tooth.

For readers who may not be familiar with the tooth fairy, you may ask…why?  Well, a couple of the older children in her class had already lost a tooth.  They informed her that after a tooth comes out, if she puts it under her pillow at bedtime, the tooth fairy will come while she is sleeping, take the tooth, and leave her some money in return.

Sometimes I feel guilty about perpetuating things like Santa Claus and leprechauns, but when I see how much fun it is (both for me and my girls), I quickly change my mind.  I have to admit though, on this particular day, I wasn’t ready to start thinking about another character.  I mean, the girl didn’t even have any wiggly teeth yet!

To add to this, since I was raised with Hispanic culture, my tooth fairy was a little different.  In my home, when you lost a tooth, you still put it under your pillow at bed time, and when you woke up, it was gone and money was under your pillow in its place.  But the money did not come from the tooth fairy.  It came from Ratón Pérez.  Yes, that’s right, a mouse.  I told my daughter about Ratón Pérez, but she did not believe me.  She said, “A mouse?  Really mommy?  Why would a mouse want your tooth?”  (I thought to myself…why would a fairy want your tooth?  I don’t know!)  I said, “Yes, really.  You should talk to Abuelita, she’ll tell you about Ratón Pérez.”  She did ask my mom the next time she talked to her, and my mom confirmed, that yes, he comes to take your tooth. (more…)

Eva Fannon (USA)

Eva Fannon is a working mom who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her hubby and two girls. She was born and raised on the east coast and followed her husband out west when he got a job offer that he couldn't refuse. Eva has always been a planner, so it took her a while to accept that no matter how much you plan and prepare, being a mom means a new and different state of "normal". Despite the craziness on most weekday mornings (getting a family of four out the door in time for work and school is no easy task!), she wouldn't trade being a mother for anything in the world. She and her husband are working on introducing the girls to the things they love - travel, the great outdoors, and enjoying time with family and friends. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.

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