Yep, that's right folks, she has had two loose teeth since arriving home (both bottom front teeth) and one of them popped right out today when she bit down on an Oreo cookie :) I am guessing the other one will be out before the end of the month...
Ha ha, I know what you are thinking... "isn't she barely 3 years old?" Well, yes, officially she is. However, that is one of the crazy parts of international adoption, especially when it involves adopting from a developing country where many children are not born in hospitals, official birth records are often not kept, and birthdays are not celebrated. Trying to figure out Mikayla's "true" age has been part of our journey since getting our referral!
Prior to traveling, we always felt that she looked older than a 2-year-old in the pictures we had been given. She was also pretty tall for her age (which is not very common in Ethiopia). However, some kids just have mature faces, and are tall, so obviously we couldn't jump to conclusions. A few other "clues" were made known to us that could indicate her being older as well, so we had our agency check further into it. The response from the staff in Ethiopia (as well as her birthmother) was that the birth date is correct. But, we still had suspicions.
After having her home for a few weeks, we took her to the dentist. I was very curious as to what her dental xrays would show. The xrays showed her teeth to be very advanced - more "on par" with the average teeth of a 5-year-old. We knew her permanent teeth were coming in from the xrays, which was just crazy to think about! However, the dentist said that "dental age" can vary greatly among kids... especially kids from other countries who may have had different diets or faced malnutrition in younger years. Malnutrition can have the opposite effect of causing a delay in tooth eruption/advancement, but some factors (including malnutrition, genetics, & gum disease) can play a role in causing early tooth eruption in both baby and permanent teeth. Interesting, huh? Needless to say, the dentist felt it is very possible that she is 3 years old. He is a pediatric dentist, and has seen children as young as 3.5 start losing baby teeth... typically they also got their first teeth early as infants, but we'll never know if that was the case with Mikayla. He said it's not very common that kids lose teeth that early, but definitely possible.
We spoke to our pediatrician about it, and talked through all of the developmental things that we see her doing, or that she is able to do. Her height is at the 50th percentile for her age, and her weight is at a much lower percentile. Definitely in the normal (or below normal) range for being 3.25 years. It will be interesting to see what happens with her height and weight over the course of the next year while she is on a steady nutritious diet. After examining her and taking everything into consideration, the pediatrician feels that although her age might be off by a few months, it is likely not off by more than a year. We agree with this. In fact, we think her "true" age is probably much closer to Eli... he is turning 4 in a couple of months and they are pretty much on par with one another developmentally. We considered doing a bone scan, however, the results with that can also be off by 2 years, so we didn't feel that it would really answer any additional questions for us.
Per the advice of our pediatrician, and social worker, we are planning to keep her official birthdate although we know in our minds she might actually be a bit older. At least it will give her some extra time to catch up before starting school. So that's the plan unless something down the road causes us to reconsider. Ah, the joys of the unknowns, right? :)
On a final note, I will let you all know that Eli was not the slight bit jealous that Mikayla was the first to lose a tooth. In fact, he has been checking to make sure his are NOT loose for the past few weeks. He has seemed kind of disgusted by the whole idea that teeth fall out of people's mouths. Ha ha, he cracks me up! I lost a lot of my baby teeth really late, so maybe he'll end up following in my footsteps with that... at least it will give him time to come to terms with the inevitable!