The Tooth

It’s just a tooth. A teeny, tiny pearly white tooth.

DSC04053 DSC04056 DSC04054But I know what it means. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this.

First of all, it signals that this little boy is more in the golden years of childhood than he is in the ethereal, baby-like years of 0 through 5. Even his feet look more firmly planted on the planet. I cannot do anything about it. For my other 3 boys, this is the time I watch them tie themselves more closely to identifying with Dennis than myself, expanding their friendship base and emotionally venturing out with more autonomy.

Damn that little tooth.

As I carefully place the tooth (once I retrieved it from the tooth fairy) safely in the top drawer of my dresser, I know that I will lose track of it and like the adorable, Chiclet teeth of his 3 brothers it will become a fond memory rather than a souvenir.

There are no meticulously cropped scrapbooks with 1st Day of Anything pictures. There is not growth chart where we marked their increments of height. I did not keep ‘baby books’ with notes about developmental milestones or beautifully framed birth weights and times with inked footprints. I meant to write down all the words that they mispronounced for so long and little phrases that brought daily giggles.

We were busy. Very busy. There were years and years we were short on sleep managing more than our fair share of crisis and chaos. Recording things was low on my priority list – actually ‘being there’ was really high, though.

I can recount to you the long history about why Ethan referred to balls as “blay-lows” for many years. I can pull a motion picture up in my head of the time he stripped inside the tunnels of a a Mcdonalds play place, leaving me to take him home in my coat – and one sock. I can see the still images of the hours he spent laying with his puppy INSIDE the dog crate.

I can practically hear Gavin saying his quirky little phrases like “Mommy…are you?” in his sing-song little chipmunk voice when we could not find me in our house and that when he was 2 and each time we turned a corned in the car he grabbed the nearest seat belt and exclaimed ‘Hold on Ropey!!’. I recall that he used to think that Ethan ‘saved’ his leftover lunch – just for him.

Mikey answered every question as a toddler with ‘guppy, gup gup’ or some form of it. I can vividly see Mikey walking foot over foot on stairs and running at full speed while most kids were mastering walking. He referred to Gavin as ‘ya-ya’ until…well, let’s not do that here.

But Sean is a different story. He has had so many witnesses to his every move, including his brothers who can sometimes tell me as many stories as I can tell them. They are often the tale-bearers of some huge word he just used or a cute antic. He is the baby – everyone’s baby. With each moment he grows, I revisit milestones in each of the boys’ lives.

He makes me rewind and revisit. He indicates that The Costello Boyz are moving up and forward. That thought brings equal amounts of sadness and fear as pride and satisfaction.

All that from a little boy, with a little tooth.