Six and ten.

Gah! Teeny tiny Tooth Fairy note and loot - much more fun than a scrapbook page.

Gah! Teeny tiny Tooth Fairy note and loot – much more fun than a scrapbook page.

My babygirl lost (well, swallowed, to be more correct about it) one of her upper front teeth today. A bittersweet moment, to be sure, as it signals the end of her little teeth and a piece of her childhood we can never get back. Aside from going overboard by drafting a letter from the tooth fairy the size of a postage stamp (folded and inserted into an even tinier homemade envelope – gah!) I’d say we’re relatively low-key about celebrating the so-called milestones of childhood. Sure, potty training is a big deal but honestly, unless you’re some sort of rich eccentric child of eccentrics, eventually everyone gives up wearing diapers sometime, right? Where’s the specialness in that?

Instead, I posit there are other, much more important milestones way more worthy of recognition. To me, these are the true triumphs of parenting (at least based on what we’ve experienced to date):

1. The day your children can successfully shower, wash and dry themselves off (without completely flooding the bathroom or leaving so much soap in their hair that it squeaks).

2. When the four/forty rule finally applies and you can finally ditch the nightmare safety torture device known as the standard car seat for a booster. Also applies for when you can switch your child from a rear-facing to a front facing car seat, although believe me, those still feel positively medieval compared to the “devil-may-care” freedom a booster seat offers.

3. The day you officially retire the baby bag (whether that be a vinyl bag covered with chicks and bunnies or the urban version of a messenger bag) – a life free of binkies, sippy cups, wipes and the emergency stash of goldfish crackers/fruit snacks is completely liberating (and about 15 lbs. lighter).

4. The day you realize your children CAN carry their own stuff. Be it a laundry basket full of clothes, their carry-on backpack through the airport, or the groceries in from the car, take my word for it. The day you regain full status as a parent versus a sherpa, you’ll all be the better for it.

5. When your children finally understand the concept of money and saving. Seriously? Having a kid actually grasp the fact that they don’t needthisveryjunkytoyrightthisveryminuteormyheadwillexplode not only saves you from much stress and duress at the store, it also makes you realize you might actually be imparting some good sense into those critters who live in the rooms down the hall.

While one of my critters has actually graduated to double digits, I realize that there are also other victories to come as they get older. I’m very much looking forward to them and think it’s got to be a better way to process the bittersweetness of how quickly those little lovelies will grow up, don’t you?

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