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Sorry about the lapse in posting Laurel’s “books,” but she hasn’t been making as many of them lately. (Her most recent artwork frequently refers to her close friend Sam, saying “Laurel and Sam are twins,” and sometimes giving them names: “Silly and Silly.”)

A LOT has been happening around here lately. She’s starting kindergarten in about a month, and it’s likely to be a big shift for all of us. Clearly it is for her; she’s pretty emotional lately, manifesting in all sorts of unhappy behavior, telling us she hates us and how mean we are, etc. I suspect she is what Ask Moxie calls a tension increaser, except that she seems to want to be left alone to escalate to maximum levels of fury and then calm down on her own. (Sometimes that doesn’t happen, but after a while she will let us help her calm down). It’s tough on all of us, and it’s happening a lot, but it won’t be forever. At least I hope not.

Anyhow, another big deal around here is that Laurel lost her first tooth. We were totally not ready, because her dentist said she wouldn’t likely start getting loose teeth until she was 7, but one weekend morning recently she bit down into her toast (it’s not that hard, I swear) and came to me crying, “Mommy, I bit into a lump in my mouth and now my mouth is bleeding.” Once I cleared away the blood, it was clear her tooth was … sideways. It was hurting her, so I had her hold an ice pack to her face while she wiggled it gently with her tongue. After an hour of crying, wiggling and icing… the tooth came out.

We talked about leaving it under her pillow “to see what would happen” — we really had had zero time to figure out the tooth fairy situation — but she wasn’t all that interested. So now we’re those people with a mason jar in the closet labeled “baby teeth.” Tooth Fairy, if you’re reading this, that’s where they are.

And the last (and maybe the biggest) big deal is that Laurel is reading almost fluently. By which I mean she’s looking at words and can tell pretty much on sight what they are, although when she reads a book to herself it’s clear she’s not 100% comprehending it yet. Which is fine; that will come soon enough. It’s fun to walk around with her and watch as she registers how many words and signs and things are all around us (although I sometimes cringe at the sorts of things she can read on signs and so forth in anything-goes San Francisco). I asked her recently, after she’d asked me about the meanings of a series of signs, whether she found the world more confusing or less confusing now that she can read everything. “Less confusing” she said. Whew.

— Beth

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