My poor kid. He was gummy-mouthed a lot longer than some of his peers. When I go back through his baby pictures (someone please find me a better hobby...) I have to get to the 11 month pictures before I even see a hint of a tooth.
Here he is at ten months, apparently floating contentedly out in the vacuum of space (or in front of the Sears photographer's backdrop), without so much as a nubbin of a tooth sticking out yet.
Because of his late blooming chompers (probably a result of the fact that when he was 10 months, he was really only 8.5 months because he insisted on vacating his first place of residence a month and a half early), we were told that he'd likely hold on to his baby teeth longer than a lot of other kids who started teething more age-appropriately. It never occurred to me that this would be an issue.
Until everyone else and their brother started losing teeth this year. Ethan's friends and classmates seem to be losing teeth by the handful and my kid is standing in front of the mirror like a 14 year old girl; but instead of obsessing over his complexion, he's poking all his teeth, one at a time, trying to Vulcan mind meld one of them into wiggling. Poor kid. Some days he tosses out the little white lie, "Mommy! I feel a wiggly tooth!!!" and he'll jam half his hand into his mouth to point at a back molar that is no way, no how about to come out, "Itttthhh thithttthhh one," he'll say, trying to show me exactly which one, but most of his fingers are blocking my view. "That's great, honey! Maybe soon!" I say to him. But nope. Not soon. The molar isn't remotely loose, and neither are any of his other teeth. Poor kid.
"When will I lose a toooooooth?" he whines when he gets in the car after a long day of counting the gaps in the mouths of his peers. He doesn't seem at all consoled by any of my explanations or reassurances that indeed, one day his baby teeth will fall out of his head and we'll stuff them into the "tooth pouch" he made in kindergarten (hello, insult to injury; how many of his classmates have used that pouch while Ethan's just sits in his underwear drawer collecting dust instead of cold hard cash in exchange for his baby teeth?), and the tooth fairy will bring him whatever the going rate is for little kid tusks these days (parents of any kid lucky enough to have their teeth falling out, what is the going rate? I need to let the tooth fairy know....for someday).
He's got a dentist appointment in July and he has already informed me that he's going to ask the dentist about this whole tooth thing. Apparently one his friends had to have a couple of baby teeth pulled to make room for the grown up teeth that were already coming in, so now Ethan is primed to inquire about having his own baby teeth pulled by the dentist in order to make room for the grown up teeth that he's certain are just dying to pop out any day now. "Okay, honey, you can ask her," is really all I can say. And then I leave the room and laugh for a minute or two.
I get what a big deal it is; I totally remember standing on the porch of our summer cottage and fidgeting with a loose tooth so much that it popped right out of my mouth and down through the slats of the porch's floor boards, never to be seen again. I don't know if it was my first tooth (and its the only one I remember losing), but I know I was devastated by the idea that the tooth fairy wouldn't know I'd lost a tooth and I wouldn't get credit for it (because once you first feel it wiggle, you work that sucker for days to get it to pop out) and I didn't even get a chance to look at it before it was gone. I remember exactly how it was equally fascinating and utterly gag-inducing to feel the tooth twisting in its socket when it was really lose. ::shudder:: Ethan is going to LOVE that. Someday.
But for now, we wait. And that's okay. Anyway, they're pretty cute little baby teeth.