Updated: Jan 4
You’d never think that motherhood would involve so much losing and finding of my kids’ body parts! Not to mention the body parts I’ve adamantly fought for my them to retain, despite pressure otherwise: foreskin and adenoids, check!
The first body part to go missing when my daughter was about a week old was her belly button. I’d been contentiously and carefully trying not to pop it off as I respected its own timeline of shriveling up and doing whatever it needed to do next. But I’d also grown fond of it, and when it was suddenly gone during a diaper change, I got frantic and started searching for it. My husband, who also did diaper changes, said he had no clue of its whereabouts, and didn’t understand my concern. “But, it was just there!!” I cried, feeling like I’d lost of piece of my precious, new, daughter - albeit shriveled and strange (the belly button, not my daughter… though she was kind of shriveled and strange at that point too) - that I would never get back.
Imagine my surprise when pulling her cloth diapers out of the washing machine when I found her belly button, fully rehydrated like a gelatinous sea creature emerging from the depths! I ran to show my husband this discarded gummy worm of a body part. “I found it, I found it! I found her belly button!” I declared victoriously. “Gross, what are you going to do with it now?” Well, I couldn’t just throw away this Lost and Found treasure, so I let it dehydrate in the fridge and then put it in a basket that would soon accompany hair clippings, lost teeth and other artifacts of childhood.
A few years, later there was also a tooth that should have made it into that basket, but made it into my mouth instead. The first few teeth your children lose seem like a big event - to you and to them, and to the tooth fairy, of course. But after a while, you literally can’t keep track, teeth are falling out left and right, and you are very lucky if the tooth fairy can scrounge enough change (or God forbid, dollar bills) to keep the exchange of body parts for cash going. Apparently, my daughter had lost a tooth at school and had brought it home in a ziplock bag in her lunch box. And somehow, she’d failed to mention that she’d lost that tooth (no big deal) so when I absentmindedly cleaned out her lunch box, I put the otherwise clean looking ziplock bag in the top drawer to be used again for packing lunches. Or at least that is what I figured out I must have done a few weeks later when I bit down into a cucumber I’d packed for myself in that bag and discovered a tooth in my mouth. I don’t know if you’ve ever bit down on a tooth that’s not your own, but it’s a very strange feeling. Your mind does a lot of things trying to figure out first of all, WHOSE TOOTH IT IS? Of course, you think its your own, but when you are positively sure you STILL HAVE ALL OF YOUR OWN TEETH in your mouth, it’s slightly disturbing to have to shout to your co-workers, “WHOSE TOOTH IS IN MY MOUTH?!” Needless to say, I finally figured it out.
Like I said, who knew so much of motherhood would involve lost and found body parts?!