Milestones for Micah and Zola

Trip Start Jul 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2013

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February brought with it milestones for Micah and Zola. We marked the milestones with some fun Mexican twists.

In early February, while getting ready for bed, Micah cried out, "My tooth is loose!  My tooth is loose!"  It was his first loose tooth, so we all rushed to see it.  Sure enough, one of his lower front teeth (central incisor number 25, to be exact) had a little give to it.  While I still remember the feeling of having a loose tooth myself – exploring it with my tongue, encouraging it to move more than it was ready to move, reveling in the pain – I couldn't remember how long one might expect to have a loose tooth before it would actually fall out.  So, wanting to temper Micah’s expectations, I said, “It may be a few weeks before it comes out.”  Shows what I knew.  It was out within the week. 

The days before its falling out were rife with anticipation.  Would the tooth fairy travel to Mexico?  What might Micah expect to receive?  We know Santa squeezes down chimneys, but how does the tooth fairy get into houses?  The question about whether the tooth fairy would travel to Mexico was an interesting one.  After talking with some of our Mexican friends, Leah and I surmised that the Mexican “tooth mouse” might actually have jurisdiction.  If the tooth fairy was indeed responsible, she might choose to subcontract with the tooth mouse anyway.  We learned that the going rate received by tooth-loosers in Mexico was 10 pesos/tooth (about 80 cents).  Both the tooth fairy and tooth mouse enter houses using magic.

We were attending a birthday party on Sunday, February 10 when Micah ran over to Leah and me looking both excited and distraught.  He showed us the new gap in his lower toothline, but said he couldn’t find the tooth.  How exciting!  He had been eating and playing in a sandbox, had noticed the gap in his teeth, and was worried the tooth mouse/fairy deal would be for naught if there were no physical proof of the tooth under his pillow.  We assured him that the tooth mouse was very understanding.  (I was amusing myself with the thought that whoever wrote the original contract with the tooth mouse would have made provisions for such mishaps, don’t you think?)  After snapping a few pictures of Micah’s new smile, we all went back over to the sandbox to try our hands at tooth excavation.  To no avail.

That night, when Leah was tucking Micah and Zola into bed, Zola said, “Mom, I’m not so sure I like the idea of a mouse coming into our bedroom at night and crawling around on Micah’s pillow.”  You’ve got to appreciate that kind of perspective.  Leah replied, “Yeah, Z, I get what you’re saying.  But this mouse isn’t a real mouse.  It’s a magical mouse that would never hurt a thing.” 

Early the next morning, Micah ran up the stairs to our bedroom with a ten peso coin and a note in his hand.  The note read, “Felicidades, Micah!”  Signed, “El Raton de Dientes”.  His one-less-tooth-filled smile was beaming.

A week later, it was Zola’s turn to be in the spotlight.  She turned five on February 18.  Again, the anticipation was half the fun.  One of our family traditions is to say “thankfuls” before eating dinner.  We hold hands around the table and each say what we’re thankful for.  Any one of us can go first, but it is often Zola who begins.  For weeks before her birthday, as part of a long list of thankfuls, Zola would say, “I’m thankful that I’m going to be five soon … and that we have this good food, and that Grandpa’s coming, and that I had a good day at school, and that we got to go swimming today, and that …”  You get the idea.  Micah might follow with, “I’m thankful that Zola’s going to be five soon, and that I lost my first tooth, and that I got to feed Pepe the pig today, and that I got to eat Guyaba after school.”

Birthdays are a big deal at Micah and Zola’s school.  Much of our family’s anticipation had to do with planning what we would bring to school to help them celebrate.  It is customary for the birthday kid to bring a cake and a piņata to school, the later containing party favors for the other kids to bring home.  The teachers also asked Leah and me to give them details about Zola’s birth, as well as significant events that occurred in each year of Zola’s life, to be used in a birthday ceremony.

We bought a piņata at a local market and filled it with treats – balloons, stickers, nuts and not-loaded-with-sugar snacks.  We even added a special touch from the United States, thanks to Micah and Zola’s grandma, Leone (Mamu) and their grandpa, Gary.  Back in the Twin Cities, Leone bought Honey Bunnies and some small figurines of animals native to the northern U.S. (Minnesota and Montana, to be exact).  She handed off the goodies to Gary, who flew to Oaxaca for Zola’s birthday weekend.  The day before her birthday, Zola helped prepare goodie bags with her classmates’ names on them (Pablo got the bison, Chiara got the buck, Micah got the eagle, Yerick got the skunk, Joaquina got the wolf, Raul got the raccoon...).  Then she and Leah baked her cake of choice – Sara's chocolate zucchini cake – while I made her request for dinner – pizza.

Birthday morning came.  Zola ran up to our bedroom with a big smile on her face (after she had woken up her grandpa, of course).  Leah and I marveled at the passage of time.  Our wonderful daughter was now five.  Birthday hits: a doll, new bathing suits, puzzles, a leotard, play binoculars made by Micah out of toilet paper rolls, Honey Bunnies, yogurt covered raisins, a ball of yarn, and knitting accoutrements.  Z was a happy birthday girl.  After dining on Zola’s breakfast of choice – crepes with banana and Nutella – we headed off to school.  Zola and Micah carried the piņata together.  Leah delivered our handwritten notes about Zola’s life story.  The teachers were ready, having already decorated the main outdoor area with festive hangings.

What kid wouldn’t love having the school day be about them?  When we picked the kids up after school, Zola ran to meet us, beaming.  She shared stories about the day’s festivities on the way home and at dinner that evening.  We enjoyed a pleasant dinner atop one of our favorite rooftop terraces in downtown Oaxaca.  After dinner, Micah and Zola spread their Spanish-speaking wings a bit by chatting up the chef and one of the waiters while Gary, Leah, and I soaked in the warm dusk.  The Oaxacan chocolate cake for desert came with a candle on it, and was on the house.  
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Mary on

We just pulled out the "throw your tooth on the roof" book to see what the tooth fairy equivalent was in Mexico after hearing of joren and Micah's coinciding events. El raton. I'll let sawyer and Rex know the visit occurred, they've been wondering.


Patricia on

Your kids always look so healthy and happy. Sounds like Mexico suits them. Hope you're having a great time. Love the blog!

Uncle Bob on

El Raton de Dientes...move over Mickey Mouse, a new personality has arrived to charm the kids. Don't you need to put out some cheese, like they put out cookies for Santa?

Very cute children...
Love, Uncle B.

Micah on

What I thought was funny was when my dad joked, "Do you think it will take you a little less time to brush your teeth now that you have one less tooth to brush?"

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