Nathan lost a tooth this weekend but it’s strange how slowly this process has been. I was pretty much a toothless meth mouth by his age. I barely had any teeth and the teeth I did have were capped in silver like I was Lil Wayne. Thanks Pacific Island dentistry!
I saw Nathan’s tooth wiggle and I wanted to pull it out myself, but I didn’t want to scar the kid. He has enough images of his mother behaving badly (watching Sopranos while he was in utero, going to Taco Time twice in one night–the same one because I’m too lazy to spread my shame to two separate locations). Gahhh, my baby is growing up! Into a toothless little man who says things like, “If a spiderweb doesn’t have a spider on it, it’s a cobweb. Everyone knows that, mom.” Or he’ll be on the bed, bloating his stomach into a perfect curve and say, “My tummy’s a little fat. It’s like I’m having a baby!” This is the same boy who asks me how my night went, if I’m telling jokes soon. He’ll walk up to me, point to my necklace and say, “Great…whatever this is!”
I don’t gush about my son to a lot of people because I hear a lot of parents, mostly moms, who only talk about how their kids are geniuses. They are radical agents of change in their preschool because they pooped in the right place. I can usually tell if I’m going to be able to connect with another parent just by how they talk about their kids. If their kids are only angel baby geniuses, then they won’t be listening to me. There will be a polite pause, but mostly whatever I say gives them time to breathe until they can continue with how they are raising the next vegan gluten-free artist blah blah blah.
I talk about Nathan and the good things but I highlight the funny because he is a funny, funny kid. I gush about him to Mike and I tell Nathan all the time how great I think he is, how funny he is, how proud I am of him. He needs to know that I’m on his side, even if I’m not making him stand outside the grocery store entrance so I can broadcast to strangers that he brought home a backpack this evening and it was his! Where’s the Nobel Prize committee? And when he has a bad day, we talk about that, too. We’ll make better decisions. We’ll think about consequences. We are not bad people. We are human.
At his curriculum night, I met his teacher and in the few moments we had between students hugging her and other parents asking questions, she talked about how he has girlfriends at recess who chase him around and that I shouldn’t let my concerns about his behavior overwhelm the truth that he’s extremely bright. I get so lost in making sure he acts appropriately, minds other kids, is nice to his brother that sometimes I’m too exhausted to see the bigger picture. I want him to be nice to others, kind without being asked, to be a good kid which he is.
It was good to hear praise from his teacher. There’s an incredible little boy who is navigating the landscape of being a kid in this hyper polite city of Seattle, spitting teeth out like he’s just fought his way through it.