Wobbly teeth and growing up

Things are changing, 6 year old, in so many ways.

Your face has changed – everyone says it. It has slimmed out, become more boy-like. Your skin is still lovely and downy and soft but the baby look and those chubby cheeks have gone. You look more grown up now, that’s what people say. More like a schoolboy. And people are right, you do.

And not only do you look more grown up, but you’re becoming more grown up too. You still look like a little one to me, especially when I see you with some of the older children from your class. You still hold my hand; and apparently you will never want to work to school by yourself. But bit by bit, you are becoming more independent, growing in confidence, and developing yourself away from mummy.

You don’t need me to hang around at the classroom door at school drop off time. You resist if I offer to help you with your things. Instead you struggle in, with your book bag and your homework and your water bottle and violin. You’re ok, you tell me. You still ask for a kiss before you go, but not the 5 kisses that you used to have. It’s a quick peck, it’s no longer a big bear hug. You don’t look back and you don’t need an extra wave. You just go.

When you get home you play mainly in your room. You read or make lists or draw maps. You have your own little projects you’re working on. You need minimal input from mummy or daddy.

You read to yourself at bedtime. One of us will sit with you, but the days of mummy or daddy reading you a story are long since behind us. Every night now, you ask for some extra time to read to yourself. I still come in after this to say goodnight and turn out your light, but I know this won’t last long. Soon you’ll be turning out your own light.

And as you’ve lost your baby look, so you’ve developed a real sense of identity and of where you belong. This is your life, right here. This is school and these are your friends and these are all the local landmarks that you see day in day out. This is your community, and this is where you feel comfortable. 

And now, at last, two wobbly teeth, and two big teeth coming through behind them. This is the milestone you’ve been waiting for. You’ve watched so many friends come into school bubbling over with excitement about the tooth fairy’s visit, or showing off a wobbly tooth that is hanging off by a thread. I have seen your bottom lip wobble and your eyes fill with tears as you wondered when you would have a wobbly tooth of your own. And now you have. I find it hard to imagine how the arrival of your big teeth will change your whole face. Your little teeth, well they are a part of you; they are your smile. But they’re not a part of the big you, and the big you is what is appearing now. The big you who is gaining in independence, who reads to himself and chuckles away at his books, and who strides into school without looking back.

There are so many more changes to come, I know that. More changes, more wobbly teeth, and a few more little steps away from mummy. It pulls at my heartstrings, but at the same time I know that I wouldn’t want it any other way.

6-year-old

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