Friday, June 03, 2005

Baby's Got a Brand New Tooth

So, the boy has six teeth now. For a nursing Mom, let me just say, "Ouch!" He's actually mostly weaned himself from nursing, which I was having mixed feelings about. But this biting thing, even though it's only happened once, kind of un-mixes the feelings and sorts them all directly into the "Thank God he's weaned himself" category.

The teeth are also the first crystal clear "I want to raise my child a little differently than my parents raised me" moment. Per my bio, I'm sister to six other kids, and I'm the sixth in the lineup. For those of you who are the youngest children in your brood, you already know that childhood rules and lessons become a little more lax for us. We may be able to stay out a little later, dress a little more provacatively, and get away with a little more. But we also aren't explicitly taught (or forced to do) some of the basics. Like how often we should brush our teeth.

I'm not taking my parents to task on this. If you watched every single one of your seven kids brush their teeth, it'd take an hour out of your evening. Being the parent of one child is pretty exhausting -- though I'm beyond delighted that my boy's in my life, I am also thrilled to pieces when his bedtime rolls around. So I understand that maybe we didn't all get the careful attention and instruction we might have needed so that my parents could have a little time to themselves and preserve their sanity.

But I don't remember being asked if I brushed my teeth each night before bed. To be perfectly honest, I made the decision to brush them regularly when I was eleven. I started a new school, and it dawned on me that maybe it was a little gross that I didn't brush every morning and night. That maybe it wasn't normal that I'd had about five of my baby teeth pulled because of cavities.

Now I'm learning that the care that's taken of baby teeth has a dramatic impact on the quality and placement of adult teeth. And it's no shock to me that despite my best brushing and flossing efforts, I've had to have two root canals before my 27th birthday.

Again, I'm not taking my parents to task. I've just decided to do things a little differently.

But it makes me wonder...if I have a little mental wrestling match over something like this, what's it going to be like when the bigger issues come up -- like faith, death, right and wrong, and (yikes) love and sex?

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