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The difference between 3:27 pm and 5:37 pm

May 20, 2004

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It had begun to seem as if she would never lose one. It was as if those tiny teeth in her mouth revealed her Peter Pan nature -- never having to grow up.

As kindergarten began to wrap up, as other girls in her class collected green bills for the teeth that seemed to drop from their jaws on a weekly basis, her tiny baby teeth stood firmly planted.

Occasionally, she thought one was loosening, and she would announce with great fanfare that this was it, the first tooth was on its way out, with puberty and college sure to follow soon after.

But they would always tighten back up again, like a gravitational force, rooting her back into her toddlerhood.

Until one spring day, when a fortuitous bike crash tapped one loose. It might have been just another false alarm, but as the afternoon wore on, it produced the long awaited harvest: the first tooth to go simply dropped out while she was talking about the possibility of it doing so.

Looks like she is destined to grow up after all.