The passage through childhood can be easily marked by teeth. Yesterday, two days before his sixth birthday, Ben lost his first baby tooth, and I thought about how a changing smile signals a new stage.
Our babies come into the world toothless, and slowly and painfully they get their first sixteen baby teeth. All is quiet, until the two-year molars signal the end of babyhood. The next few years–the preschool years–seem to last forever until one day, like Ben, they get another set of molars and start losing their baby teeth.
Time only seems to speed up, as one by one, those 20 baby teeth are lost. The first few are exciting and a little scary. Later, some are nonchalantly pulled at school. Loose teeth become routine until your kid says, “Hey, look, it’s my last one!” and it stops you in your tracks. Can it be? No more baby teeth?
Soon those twelve-year molars start to ache and you know if you blink…it’ll be wisdom teeth time.