Daisy’s first tooth has officially made its entrance. A tiny, jagged, slightly crooked little pearly white came poking through the surface of her bottom gum earlier this week and I felt it when she was gnawing on my knuckle as she does sometimes.
I was shocked.
We’d spent the entire day shopping with my mom and she played quietly and happily in her stroller as we perused the racks at the Anthropologie Co. mega-store and had a long, leisurely lunch. She didn’t fuss, she didn’t whine and she didn’t cry. She was ogled over by every salesperson we encountered and she smiled and cooed back at them with her usual generous temperament. I’d been warned that she would be a crying, drooling, blubbery mess when she started teething but she apparently wanted to keep this a secret!
What surprised me even more than the arrival of the tooth itself was my very emotional reaction to it. I was happy and sad and excited then grateful all at once and I immediately started to cry. How silly I felt, sitting in bed with my husband and my baby, crying over a tooth! A tiny little tooth!
But all of those emotions were very real.
I was happy in the way that you always are as a mother when your baby reaches a milestone. It was the same elation I felt when she first started rolling onto her belly then to her back. Much as I try to fight the instinct, I suppose I do have a bit of a checklist in the back of my mind and this was another line item to triumphantly place a checkmark beside.
I then immediately felt sad because this is a very unmistakable sign that Daisy is growing up and out of being a baby. I have so loved every second of her “babyhood” - she is the most precious small thing I have ever known and I am desperate to hold onto her smallness for as long as possible. But I know I can’t. Nature is going to take its course and she will soon be too big to curl up in a ball on my chest and fall asleep. Soon I won’t be able to scoop her up off the floor with one arm or cook with her balanced on my hip. She won’t want to fall asleep cradled in my arms after a good feeding or snuggle under the blankets on a lazy Sunday morning. Having Daisy, the baby, in my life has been the most glorious gift and I want to keep a baby version of her with me forever…
But then at once I felt excited. I cannot wait to see who Daisy turns out to be. I am excited to know what makes her laugh, what she’ll want to be when she grows up (and how that will inevitably change every week until college - and then maybe even after that), whether she’ll want to learn to ski or snowboard, ride horses or play the piano. I am excited for the stories she tells us, the imaginary friends she may have, the castles she will draw, the blanket forts we will make on rainy days. I am excited to watch her learn to read and climb a tree and ride a bike and make her first friends. I am truly so, so, so excited for the phases that lie ahead - I can’t wait for her to learn to speak so she can tell me all of the funny things she is thinking.
Above all this, though, I feel an immense and overwhelming sense of gratitude. A year ago this month, all of our in-utero troubles began. We were counseled through the possibility that Daisy wouldn’t make it through delivery. Then we were told she would likely never be “normal”. She might never feed normally, might not make it past her first year. Yet here we are, with a baby who has shown us that she is certainly not “normal” because she is miraculous. She is healthy and plump and juicy and strong enough to do things we never expected and growing longer by the minute and almost crawling and free from the NG tube and feeding like a regular kid. And now, she has a tooth, just like all of her peers. It all feels a little surreal.
So, yes, I cried over Daisy’s first tooth. That silly little jagged, slightly crooked, white nub of a tooth represents so much more to me than anything dental. It’s another clue in a string of clues that is leading us to believe Daisy is going to be just fine.
Photos by Grace & Ardor