I hope everyone had a long and memorable holiday weekend! It was good to have a break from the everyday routine, but it’s also nice to be back in the saddle, so to speak (even if it’s a tighter fit thanks to a couple of food-focused days!)
The last five days were chock full, and began with Livi finally losing not just her first tooth, but her second as well. After feeling like she was the only second grader in the whole world who hadn’t lost a tooth, she was happy to experience this big kid milestone. We, as parents, were relieved as well, since two rows of teeth is what you’d expect to see in a wild predator’s mouth and not your kid’s. Holding the baby teeth between my fingertips, it’s hard to believe just how tiny they are; I’d like to think this is the reason it sometimes takes my kid FOREVER to finish her meal!
What have I learned about this particular rite of passage? The bottom two front teeth are usually the first to go, followed by the top two in front. Most kids have their first loose tooth at age 5 or 6, but it can happen when they’re as young as 4 or as old as 8 (Livi happens to be 7-1/2.) Some kids do indeed develop two rows of teeth — often called shark’s teeth — when the permanent teeth come through before the baby teeth have fallen out. The new teeth will push forward on the baby teeth, usually causing them to fall out within a few weeks (but according to parents.com, consult your dentist if the double row lasts for longer than three months.) And one interesting fact to counteract the anxiety of late losers? There’s actually an advantage to getting permanent teeth late because the teeth will be harder as a result of remaining in the jaw longer, and they’ll be more resistant to cavities. And to answer the last question I have — kids lose about 20 baby teeth between the ages of 6-12 so 2 down and only EIGHTEEN to go!
Being the family of planners that we are, we were armed and ready for this long-awaited event with our very own Twinkle Toof by Toysmith, which makes for a fun and handy place to store teeth until they’re in the safe and trusted hands of the tooth fairy. It also glows in the dark which provides much-needed assurance that the mystical purveyor will find the tooth and leave a financial reward.
As timing would have it, the teeth came out the night before Thanksgiving, providing us with yet one more thing to be thankful for. The turkey was a success and after torturing myself for a short time, I ended up with the centerpiece below. The main attraction was a “peanut pumpkin” I picked up at a local farm stand at the beginning of October. It’s also referred to as the warted sugar marrow, and is a light-colored heirloom winter squash covered with warts that look like peanuts. First grown in France, early-stage peanut pumpkins look like regular green pumpkins. They don’t start to develop warts until they begin developing their color. The flesh of the pumpkin is high in sugar and when it extrudes through the skin, it cracks and forms the interesting-looking warts, which continue to form even after the pumpkin has been harvested. It tastes like a regular pumpkin, with a little sweet potato mixed in and can be cooked like any other pumpkin. I just had to have it when I first saw it!
I also included some butternut squash and turned them into flower vases by cutting off the tops and carving out some of the flesh. I selected the flowers below for their bright color and graphic quality. It didn’t hit me at the time I was putting it together but several guests commented on how the arrangement had an underwater quality to it, not unlike coral and sea anemones. Some years I have a clear vision of what I want to do and it’s just a matter of collecting the pieces but other times, like this year, it’s more of a mysterious path from start to finish and I might not use everything I gather or I’m improvising at the last minute. But I enjoy the creative challenge since my other focus of the day — the turkey — is a fairly straightforward process.
The third part of the long weekend included finding this year’s Christmas tree and decorating for the holidays. In case you’re wondering why I included a picture of the storage bins below, I’ve come to realize that one of the most exciting moments of the holiday season for Livi (topped only by Christmas morning) is the moment I bring up the bins from the basement. She anticipates the event for days and gleefully explores the contents for hours. Not only is she reunited with favorite objects, she is also reminded of past memories. And there is always some holiday-specific craft that she immediately dives into. We also experience the bin phenomenon prior to Halloween and Easter.
Hosting Thanksgiving one day and transitioning to the holidays the day after makes for an exhausting amount of housework in a short period of time, but seeing the joy on my daughter’s face reminds me that there’s more to a holiday than just one day. Let the celebrating begin!