The overarching theme tying together our recent meander around Spain was the long history of so many of the places we visited. I’m always a little awed at the thought of the thousands of people who had tread the same narrow laneways as I over the course of centuries, making a living the best they could, getting through every day and taking care of their families. The years pass, the clothes change, the technology improves, but the core of life is really the same.
But for all the remarkable history around us, it was one of our own moments in time that will stick with us the most – the falling of the first tooth. Our first lunch in Seville was interrupted when Liam discovered the first of his front teeth to go missing, caught up somewhere in a chunk of calamari. It’s a rite of passage that every child goes through, but that doesn’t make it any less remarkable when it’s your kid and the first tooth drops.
There was the look of awe on his face, the mad scramble to figure out if the tooth could be found (it was), just a little blood and a half a dozen confused, middle-aged Spaniards wondering what the foreigners were fussing about. Come to think of it, being stared at by a half dozen confused Spaniards seems to figure prominently in most of our experiences here. They are as much part of our narrative as the the haunting music in a cheap suspense movie.
In short order, Liam was pleased that one of his “wiggily” teeth had made the leap for freedom, leaving about six friends behind to follow another day. The new toothy smile quickly gave birth to talk of what would appear after the tooth found its way under his pillow that night. I don’t think a hour passed before the bar quickly raised from a coin to multiple Lego sets, lollipops and even a piece of gold. I had to get this hunk of calcium under some linen soon or it was going to cost me a small automobile in no time!
As Liam awakened the next morning with a couple of Euros in one hand and a small bag of M&Ms in the other, the world was truly a glorious place in the eyes of this six-year-old. Trading a shaky tooth for this haul was the best deal ever.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and the second “wiggily” tooth on the bottom is on the verge of departing. Liam is excited at another step in the ascension to big boy, although having your teeth moving around and occasionally bleed is clearly freaking him out a little. The novelty of having his teeth wiggle while I drive wore off some time ago.
So as I prepare for the tooth fairy’s second visit, I took a minute to Google just how many teeth a normal kid loses and was surprised to see the number is 20. Somehow I blocked out that part of childhood. That’s a lot of teeth. It appears history will show my wallet a lot lighter at the end of this experience.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: We are about to enter the August “everyone leaves town” zone in Barcelona. We thought it was an exaggeration last year, but it’s far from it. Businesses from restaurants to newsstands shut down entirely while owners head off to the beach. As I found out, the Spanish version of the DMV conducts no driving exams for more than five weeks. Apartment owners don’t even bother taking calls from people interested in renting their empty properties. And even specialized activities for kids like camps and swimming lessons don’t operate at all in August, despite it being one of only two months of the year when kids are not in school. It’s a unique country…