Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting for the elves

It must be a habit of all mothers to think that their child is teething months and months before they do. The internet doesn’t help with this as it claims that teething occurs when the baby starts drooling a lot, sticking things in their mouth to “gum” and is irritable. I am not immune to this. I thought my child was teething - 3 months later and my son still looks like a 90 year old man mouth wise. Truth be told, ALL babies drool a lot, stick things in their mouths and are irritable.

Like all mothers, I have been checking my son’s gums every day – pretty much from the moment he wakes up. That’s probably why he’s so irritable. I couldn’t imagine someone coming in with their big ole finger feeling around in my mouth before I even had my first cup of coffee. I mean, sure – feel away after breakfast, but for fuck’s sake, let me wake up first.

I don’t know what it is about this obsession with our children’s teeth. I’ve had dreams about Henry’s teeth, and more than once. From all the things I’ve read about teething, I shouldn’t be in any hurry for the teeth to come in. I’m not exactly looking forward to the hours and hours of screaming while my poor child has to suffer through the pain of his pearly whites popping up to say hello. Maybe it’s just this feeling of wanting to get it over with - a bit like cleaning out the scary closet in the upstairs office. You don’t want to do it, you’re afraid of what you might find in there, but if you don’t do it you’ll never find that tennis racket from 2006 that you might need one day when someone fabulous asks you out for a match….or set…or something. Listen, I don’t play tennis.

Today was one of those days where I was convinced something was going to happen on the tooth front. Henry fell asleep on me for his afternoon nap, waking up after 45 minutes, and then falling back asleep for another 45 minutes (I watch a whole movie, without pausing it once!) When he did wake up after an hour and a half, instead of the happy smiley well-rested baby I normally get, he awoke as a screaming gremlin. I was in shock. No happy bear songs calmed him. No bouncing on the knee. No walking through the house looking at the pictures. No tickles, no blocks, no tastes of grapes calmed him down. It was a bona fide screamfest. What did I think? TEETHING. This must be teething!

Because I don’t like screaming, whether from a baby, my mother, or a terrified girl in a horror movie, I gave Henry some Calpol. I looked in his gums (which is surprisingly easy to do while he is screaming) and noticed that the bottom front bit looked a bit white. Could this be it? It certainly felt like it. After about 15 minutes and a puke of some of the Calpol, Henry calmed down and we went for a little walk. I kept checking his gums (now with his little tongue trying to force me out of his mouth) but no teeth showed up.

The internet is very vague on the appearance of teeth. For all I know, baby teeth only show up at night when the tooth elves are out. Some of the parents I talk to at play group make it sound like teeth just pop up like Pop-Tarts from the toaster. No teeth one minute – POP! Teeth! I seriously have no idea how it works but I’m still betting on the elves.

 "I keep telling you, there are no teeth here!"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Little Badger Crying

It’s nearly 10 PM and Henry, my little badger, is crying. Lest you think that I’m the worst mother in the world – blogging while my child is screaming - it’s my husband’s night to care for him. Even so, I’ve already been up to offer my assistance in his plight. My efforts were fruitless and by the crying that is still carrying on upstairs, Andy is not having any luck either.

Henry just turned 7 months. Andy is convinced that we have “spared the rod, spoiled the child” so to speak by allowing Henry to fall asleep with a bottle since his existence outside the womb. About a month ago Henry, previously being a 6:30 PM to 6 AM solid sleeper, started waking up at various inconvenient hours of the evening. It was pretty much a crap shoot when he’d wake. If you were lucky, he’d wake up before we went to bed at 11 PM. If we weren’t, 2 AM would make an appearance…and again at 4 AM. As Andy states, we spoilt him by giving him milk at these ungodly baby hours to allow him to go back to sleep. Andy has thrown down the Father Gauntlet and insists that we now must break Henry of this habit.

Thus, Henry is crying.

Henry has actually been crying for a solid hour straight now. Because I fall in the camp of “I’ll do anything to make you silent (within reason)”, my body is twitching to fetch that bottle and make that horrible noise of my dear sweet boy crying his eyes out go away. Andy is right of course, we do need to break the habit. Henry does need to sleep through the night without us running for that carton of milk (due to our tiredness, I’m surprised we haven’t accidentally poured Diet Coke in one of his bottles yet) (or vodka). I’m just not convinced that now is the right time. He’s 7 months old. He’s teething. He’s days away from crawling. He’s only a week into a schedule of 3 solid feeds a day. Henry’s poor little brain is swirling all over the shop and now his parents, who are suppose to love him, are denying him milk at night when that is all he needs to get to sleep. I’m sure if he could walk already, he’d pack up a little handkerchief tied around a stick and run away.

On a side note, I’d be very curious what his 7 month old mind would put in that handkerchief. Milk obviously. Maybe a couple of his favorite toys. I’m sure there would be an effort to shove the cat in there – which would be a huge mistake as the cat would just bite him then run off to tell us about the Great Escape.

Andy just came down. Henry is still crying but Andy is at his breaking point.

“You do think we’re doing the right thing, don’t you?”


“He’s got to learn not to want milk any time he wants to go to sleep. I’m not having him be 18 years old and waking us at 2 AM because he wants a sandwich.”

I told Andy my reasoning (funny that I just wrote my reasoning a couple paragraphs ago…it’s like having a prepared speech for life…how often does that happen?) and we tried to discuss it further with the child screaming in the background.

You know what?

I won.

Now there is sweet silence as the boy is slowing dozing off while sucking on a Dr. Brown’s Level 2 teat.

Hee. Everyone loves winning a battle.

Still…I feel I’ve lost the war.