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The Tooth Fairy's second wave: What my son didn't inherit from me

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

KIDS' GENETIC HERITAGE IS FASCINATING

Alfs has been losing teeth again, and it's been freaking me out. Yes, I know he is supposed to do this; it's the last of the baby teeth making way for the final round of adult teeth. But still.

The first round of baby teeth, I could handle. No problem. Then came an initial orthodontic device. Still, no problem, even when I did have to use a little key every day on it. In fact, for a period of time I had three children in various distinct dental stages: Alfs had his palate expanding thingy, Woody was in his first round of losing baby teeth, and Sunshine was just getting her baby teeth.But since Alfs started to lose teeth again in the last few months, I've had some serious heebie-jeebies. I call my friend the dental hygienist and ask, "Is this normal?" She assures me it is. I knew that anyway, but the more reassurance the better.Why does it freak me out so much? Because after my initial round of losing baby teeth, I never lost another tooth naturally again. Every single one of the remaining baby teeth had to be pulled for the adult teeth to make their way in (which they did). I haven't had a loose tooth since I was seven, so that is my experience, my normal. Alfs will be twelve shortly. Loose teeth at this age feels off to me. There was something about my genetic makeup that caused my baby teeth to try to stay put or (in a couple instances) try to submerge into my gums. I'm not quite sure which parent I inherited the trait from, or if I did at all. Perhaps it was a minor mutation. My brother and sister never had this issue.Clearly, Alfs is inheriting from his dad's side on this, and that's definitely better. I am too familiar with the process of pulling teeth and the sound of it is etched in my brain. It's not a pleasant sound, and one I don't wish on anyone, least of all my own offspring. But as I've already made clear, his teeth loosening and coming out naturally, normally, has tensed me up just a bit. Weird, I know.Our kids are such a fascinating mix of their genetic heritage that sometimes I just step back in wonder. There are ways about these kids that are so me, and ways that are so not — and ways that are neither of their parents or other relatives and unique to them. Watching as these details emerge is exciting and a little scary…with a few heebie-jeebies thrown in.

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