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!"