Welcome to Artefact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles in our journeys. Through our writings and photographs, we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artefacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.
I was clearing away the dinner when I heard you shout from the upstairs bathroom. Moments earlier your dad had told you and your brother to go upstairs to get ready for bed. You are at that age now, almost seven, where you don’t hesitate to get yourself dressed and then go to the bathroom to put your own toothpaste and brush your teeth. In fact, you are almost determined to do everything by yourself. A sign of your growing maturity and independence perhaps.
On this very occasion, you called out to me. Your exact words were, “My tooth came out!” I could tell by your voice that you were not distressed nor in shock. You were quite matter of fact. However, this did not immediately stop me from what I was doing and run upstairs towards you.
Motherhood is full of poignant moments. I know because I have pretty much spent these seven whole years at home with you. I can remember when your first milk tooth came out (pretty sure it was the exact tooth that you held in your hand here). The months leading up to that you were dribbling and I had to start putting a bib on you to catch the saliva. I also started slathering sudocrem for your nappy rash, which I was told was normal during the teething stage. I also learned your keenness to chew everything in sight was normal at this stage too. I still have not forgotten the broken nights of sleep and the pain you felt with the teeth trying to come through. I would go to your cot and cuddle/pat you to sleep, maybe sing you a lullaby until you eventually drift off to sleep again.
You were just a baby then. How I got through with the lack of sleep (and there were plenty!) and muddled my way through the day I don’t know. Whilst I gave you bickipegs and teething granules for your teething troubles following advice from friends with babies similar in age to you, there was so much I learnt on my own just from being with you and before your little brother came along. One of which is watching your resilience and mine, despite early health setbacks with breastfeeding and struggling to get you to feed, to see you grow and develop into the boy you are now.
So here we are now. Almost seven years old and you lost your first tooth. Unlike the time it took for your first baby tooth to come through, your tooth only showed signs of being wobbly the day before. It has taken me by surprise. It kind of feels like the same moment I experienced nearly seven years ago when you got your first tooth — a mixture of excitement and bittersweet feeling. Like you are on the cusp of adulthood when your adult tooth will start to come through.
Of course, I know there are many years to go yet. You still have to live out your childhood, your teens and grow a lot more physically and emotionally before you are an adult. Already I see signs now, but let’s pretend for a little longer of childhood innocence and make-believe as you put away your tooth for the tooth fairy to come by and leave you a handsome reward.