Clio is right on the brink of losing her first tooth. Bottom front left.
I am unreasonably happy for her.
She is extremely excited, too. Like any kid about to lose her first tooth. But, like me, I think she’s a little more excited than would typically be the case.
See, chemo slows stuff down. It slows down the rate at which kids grow — and that includes the grown-up teeth waiting to make their entrance. It can also prevent adult teeth from forming fully or forming at all, especially in young children, and cause other long-term dental issues as well. (It’s much worse in kids receiving cranial radiation, and luckily that’s not on the docket for us.) So we’ll see what happens when this and other adult teeth grow in. But just having this tooth wiggling, like a normal six year old’s, is something.
Now, Clio might not have lost her first tooth until now even if she hadn’t been on chemo for the past year. But whatever the case, it’s nice to see her moving forward in the way that kids are supposed to.
Elsa lost her first two teeth a little under a year ago. And she’s sprouted like a genetically engineered weed over the past year. In the past three months alone she’s grown an inch. It’s been hard to look at the marks on the kitchen wall and see that between last summer and this one, Clio has grown less than an inch.
She’s always been a little shorter than Elsa, and I expect she always will be. But the discrepancy is so big now that people regularly assume Clio is Elsa’s little sister. Her chubby steroid cheeks and belly — versus Elsa’s new, angular “kid” face and lithe, fit body — don’t help either. (OK, that sounds weird, describing your six-year-old as lithe and fit, but when she’s in a bathing suit, she seriously looks like a miniature marathoner, sans six-pack.)
Anyway, this about-to-fall-out-tooth is a lovely harbinger of — we hope — more growth ahead. Apparently a lot of kids go through a big growth spurt after they’re off treatment, where they sort of make up for lost growing time.
In other news, the girls are in a really cool theater day camp this week (our splurge of the summer — it ain’t cheap) and loving it. The show they’re doing selections from is Annie, which I think I’ve mentioned they’re mega fans of and have watched approximately 34 times. (Though our DVD recently got cracked. I swear to God neither Alastair nor I did it, though I can’t say were exactly bereft about it.)
It’s in the next town over from us — the one with the hospital that I brought Clio to when she had that fateful high fever a little over a year ago, when our crappy little boat trip through cancer began. I feel a pang each time we pass the blue and white ‘H’ sign at the end of the road Clio and I turned on to get there. (Jeez — the road we turned on. How freakin’ metaphorical, eh?)
But then I try to remind myself how wonderful it is that a year later, I’m bringing an energetic, show tune singing, halfway-through-treatment Clio to day camp instead of sitting by her bedside in the hospital. And how awesome it is that she’s about to lose her first tooth.