Do you remember the first time?

There is now a whole industry dedicated to the celebration/commemoration of every minor event in your child’s life – their first tooth, their first steps, their first haircut, their first swearword… You can have their tiny fingerprint embedded in a silver heart and strung on a necklace, their footprints printed on ceramic plates, their first pair of shoes encased in bronze and mounted on a plinth. A friend of mine has her children’s umbilical cords and hospital tags framed and on display in her hallway*. Really, marks on the door frame recording their height simply aren’t good enough these days.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or godparent, all of these milestones are of course both exciting and poignant, measuring out your own progress through life as well as the child’s.

Exciting, that is, the first time round. Let’s be honest, after that, the novelty, and the impetus to record these rites of passage, tails off. Frankly, it’s hard to be bothered any more.

This weekend my son, my darling second born, lost not just his first, but also his second tooth. His chubby little face was the picture of pride at his achievement. But I have already been through a whole mouthful of teeth with my first born, plus his friends have been losing their teeth for years, and these particular incisors had been wobbly since the start of the summer holidays. The moment, if there had ever been a moment, was gone.

It was with a certain ennui that the tooth fairy got out the Silvo to polish up a special fairy £1 coin, but at least she remembered this time – in the past, the tooth fairy has been known to drink a relaxing glass of wine with supper and go to bed forgetting all about her tooth fairy duties, then have to save a sticky situation the following morning by remarkably ‘finding’ the fairy coin that had somehow, er, ‘slipped down the back of the bed’.

My son also managed to be late for his first day of school this term, not because we weren’t up and ready, but because it was also his older sister’s first day of secondary school, and that merited a family outing. First day of Year 3 we had done before. We were over it.

However, a stark realisation has hit me. My second born is also (barring mishaps) my last born. These events are not just my son’s ‘first‘s, but my own ‘last‘s. This weekend was in fact my last first tooth experience this side of grandparenthood. I have already failed to record the last first steps, or the last first haircut, or… actually, he is a very well-spoken young man.

Perhaps there’s a firm that can carve your children’s first teeth into their own initials and date of tooth loss for you to then wear as earrings. If not, I’m sure it won’t be long before someone sets one up.

* This is true.

About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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One Response to Do you remember the first time?

  1. orbiting40 says:

    I have had the same experience with the tooth fairy. She had such a busy night, that she just plain forgot my son (careless) who was heartbroken. Luckily, she must have realised, once she got back to the fairy fields and, amazingly, was able to deliver her quid while he was having breakfast. Phew!

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