Don’t Kiss Those Childhood Milestones Goodbye So Fast

Sweet girl with a fallen toth holding an apple in her hand on nature

As we were snuggled on the couch one night last week my daughter asked, “Mom, when are my teeth going to fall out? All of my friends’ are falling out.”

I smiled this question and the sentiment behind it. This little girl that I made, who was once a small baby, is growing up and I’m not ready to deal with it. She, on the other hand, is in a rush.

“Soon,” I replied to her question. “Remember some of your friends are already 6 and you’re still 5.”

With a July birthday she is one of the youngest in her class. Most of her friends in kindergarten were celebrating their sixth birthdays this fall and while she is very capable of keeping up with them academically, I can see her yearning to keep up with them physically too. These small things like losing your teeth, getting your ears pierced, moving into the big girls’ clothing section and having sleepovers are rights of passage for her.

She’s ready for it all. I’m not.

As my kids have grown I’ve never been sad to say goodbye to the baby stage in life. Generally, I’m having a lot more fun with them at their current ages because they can speak and are more capable.

But this simple question about baby teeth touched something inside me that made me long for the baby I once held in my arms. It made me realize that as much as I enjoy the ages my kids are now, they won’t stay these ages and we will soon move into a new phase of life with them – a phase when all the baby teeth will be gone, when she will want to straighten her curly hair, when she won’t fight with her brother to sit on my lap at night and when she will want to redecorate her room to reflect some obnoxious cartoon property, or worse, a boy band. She has already started plastering her drawings all over the tree I painted in her room at 7 months pregnant.

Mostly now when I look at her I see a little girl, or worse yet, the shadow of the moody teenager that she’s going to become. Baby teeth seem to be my last thread tethering me to the baby she once was.

When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me that she was going to give me no-grow-up pills. I laughed about it when I was young and told her she was being silly. I rolled my eyes about it as I grew into a tween and teenager because at those ages you have adulthood milestones insight and think you know it all.

My child is now somewhere in between these things at 5 1/2-years-old. Sometimes she giggles at me when I tell her I want to keep her small. Sometimes she yells at me (in a voice that’s not really yelling) and tells me that she can’t stay little forever. Then, sensing some hint of sadness in me and some sense of longing in herself, she adds that she will live right next store to me and come to see me every day.

We mark a lot of milestones in life by what’s happening with our teeth, which I never realized until now. Whether we are waiting for them to come in, waiting for them to fall out, wishing for two front teeth for Christmas or praying to God that we don’t lose them in old age, they mark transformation in our lives.

My baby is wanting to rush that transformation right now, and understandably so. She sees it happening to all her friends and knows it’s going to happen with her soon too.

After we talked about how some of her friends are almost a year older than her I added, “Don’t rush it.”

I wasn’t just talking about her teeth, of course. I was talking about all of it. So often we get held up in life waiting for the next milestone and we don’t appreciate the one we are in. However, it’s difficult to impress that idea on a 5-year-old when I’ve just finally stopped rushing myself.

Instead I simply told her, “It will happen soon enough.”

She seemed satisfied with that answer, for now. She snuggled back into me and fell asleep there about 20 minutes later.

I was satisfied with that answer for now too. And, knowing that “soon enough” would really be “too soon”, I leaned back, wrapped my arms around my baby and soaked in the moment.


  1. It happens when they are ready. My oldest was in kindergarten when he lost his front teeth, but my youngest was in 2nd grade.

  2. It totally happens when the time comes and when they are ready to come out. My oldest was in Kindergarten and my youngest was in 1st and has only lost the first two bottom teeth!

  3. Oh yes. It all happens so fast. My oldest just turned 8, and I really can’t believe it. He is actually way behind in losing his teeth, so he’s only lost 2 so far. My youngest twins are 5, and I am not ready at all for them to lose theirs. Milestones and transitions are so hard…more so for us moms!

  4. My oldest will be 19 this summer. She has said so many times over the past five years how she wished she wouldn’t have wanted to grow up so quickly. She said that she missed so many aspects of growing up, just wishing she were older. My youngest is 12, and is having the hardest time, because she doesn’t want to grow up. She wants to stay little forever.

  5. kids really do grow up so fast. I skype my sister-in-law and her kids twice a week and it’s been amazing watching them growing from babies to toddlers who want to tell me stories over skype. I know that that’s not going to be something they want to do for forever, so I enjoy it immensely while I can.

  6. It is so true! When I was younger all I wanted to do was become an adult so I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do. But now that I am an adult I kind of long for the simpler days so I completely understand what you mean when you said it is important to not wish away the baby teeth just yet.

  7. My kids are taking forever to lose their baby teeth, they are sad about it! But, you are right. They grow too fast!

  8. This is so heartfelt and true. I think we all had the same mindset as kids. We were eager to reach milestones not realizing that it’s important that we take our time and not rush things.

  9. Holding onto those precious moments are so important. Treasuring the moments we have and not rushing through the moments is so important. Thank you for a great article.

  10. Oh my, so true. My baby’s five and didn’t make the kindergarten cutoff this year. To me, he’s still little and in need of protecting. I hadn’t even thought about losing teeth already, but I suppose my daughter did at 6! She’s 9 now and already in the teenager phase. They do grow up fast, and I have to tell myself to embrace the present.

  11. We literally just went through this. My oldest lost his first tooth over winter break. It’s exciting to see how fast they grow and sobering all at the same time.

  12. My little ones all are chomping at the bit to be all grown up. I explain to my kids that childhood is to be seized and not to be rushed. Everything comes in good time.

  13. My toddler sees his big brother with a space in the front of his mouth and thinks it looks so funny. He keeps asking me if he can have a space like that too! I just say when your teeth are ready, you will have the same space.

  14. I have three kids and sometimes I just want them to get older and get more independent. Then they do and I want my babies back.

  15. What a sweet exchange. My daughter is 4 and she’s so ready to be a big girl already. I look at her as a baby still. Those cuddles and those talks are priceless!

  16. What a sweet exchange! My daughter is 4, and she’s so ready to be a big girl already. I still see her as my baby. I love those moments she confides in me. So touching.

  17. When our youngest daughter was just a year old she fell in a tub and chipped three of her teeth (her front being the most noticeable). She now just a couple of months away from three years old and I’m counting the days until her baby teeth start falling out! That chipped tooth is a sad reminder to me everyday that she feel right in front of me when I should have done something to prevent it. 🙁

  18. Time flies by so quickly. I have an 11 …almost 12 year old, a 9 year old and now a 9 month old. I can’t believe how quickly they are growing and it saddens me. Yes, they are so much fun and living with little adults is great, but as my littlest one grows I realize that this is the last time I will have a baby baby. This is the last first steps, the last first words, the last of so many things. It makes you want to keep them little forever.


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