Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Motherhood and More: Chipped tooth makes mom more observant*

Do you know how difficult it is to photograph the inside of
your almost-1-year-old's mouth? 
At some point last week my daughter, Adele, chipped one of her front teeth.

You can imagine how I feel about not knowing the exact moment it happened.

You see, now that she’s crawling she pretty much has free reign over the living room, dining room and kitchen in our house. We’ve baby-proofed those areas and closed off doors to the rest of the downstairs when she’s moving around. I usually keep an eye on where she is, but I don’t follow her around and I don’t watch her every second. She plays really well alone and I think she is excited about being able to move to where she wants to go by herself. So I let her.

I am much, much more relaxed with her mobility than I was with Sebastian's. He didn’t spend too much time by himself, roaming around the downstairs, until he was older. Plus he usually wanted to be right where we were. Maybe it has something to do with him being in daycare. I didn’t spend nearly as many hours with him during the day as I do with Adele at this age, so we both wanted to be with each other. Now I’m home all day, which means we spend most of our time together. I have things I need to have done at the end of the day and a lot of that I can’t do while holding a baby.

So Adele has some freedom, which I believe is important but, obviously, can also be detrimental.

Adele is also a frequent cryer. Maybe it’s a girl thing but I don’t remember it being an issue with my son. She always seems to be fussing about something — whether she’s hungry, tired, lonely, irritated that she can’t crawl into the bathroom, or when she bops her head, which happens habitually.

In other words she is a normal baby. Her brother on the other hand would barely cry when he ran head first into the wall, also, unfortunately, a common occurrence.

And so I didn’t notice an instance of her crying especially hard or long. But Wednesday morning I saw there was a little piece missing out of her right front tooth. It’s just the corner and the pediatrician said it isn’t a big deal, she’s going to lose it anyway.

But I’m the mom. I’m always supposed to be aware of my children’s injuries, be they large or small. I need to know every cut, every bruise, every bump on the head and how they got them. I’m supposed to be Superwoman and I’m supposed to always be aware of what my children are doing and where they are located.

Realistically, that isn’t how things are and I know it. It’s just that I can’t stop feeling like I did something wrong, like I’ve let her down.

My own mother would probably tell me to get over it, these things happen. And I know this baby tooth won’t be there forever and her grin will only be a little lopsided until she’s 5 or 6. But I think I’ll be a little more observant from now on.

At the very least I’ll check the kids’ teeth after every bump.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise's Wednesday's Woman on August 24, 2011.  

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