The scourge of teething has darkened our door once again. And if that sounds overdramatic, let me assure you that it is not at all.
Sprout started teething quite early, around five months. He showed all of the classical signs: drooling like a waterfall, chomping on his hands, and slight stomach crud. Every day, we would check to see if there was any progress made, if those little white bumps were any closer to poking through. We applied Ora-gel religiously, hoping to find a way to help him sleep better.
Unfortunately, it was more than two months until we saw the first tooth emerge. The others took their sweet time as well, sprouting from his gums like the world’s slowest, hardest seedlings. While there was some pain, especially just before they poked through, it didn’t affect his mood too badly. He was a little cranky here and there, but nothing vastly out of the ordinary.
Much to our relief, there was a brief reprieve.
Then came the molars.
These made the process of getting in the previous teeth look like a mere scratch compared to a gaping wound. He didn’t want to eat, he was on and off whiny, he had a bit of a fever.
And now we face the canines. He got the first one in yesterday, when Chris said he was “the crankiest baby ever.” The “doggy teeth,” as I say to him, are particularly obnoxious because they have to push existing teeth aside to come in.
Needless to say, there has been a very noticable shift in his mood for the worse. Like all toddlers, everything is a National Emergency. But usually, combining the “connect with respect” technique from The Happiest Toddler on the Block and a good dose of distraction calms in down in seconds. In addition, we can figure out his requests the majority of the time, making it possible to communicate.
But in the last few days, we have completely lost any ability to help him control his emotions. He gets rabid wolverine angry almost immediately, making it difficult for us to figure out what he wants and for him to calm himself when he actually gets it. Some of the time, he doesn’t seem upset by anything in particular, just pissed at the current state of things. It’s like someone turned up his emotional volume knob past its limit. We haven’t had any full-body throw-downs, but I fully expect one any day.
To make matters worse, he’s crankier around me because I react more. To add fuel to the fire, he’s the worst in the morning as I’m trying to get ready for work. Far too long into my shower this morning, I heard furious screaming outside the door. Listening to it hurt my heart. It only stopped when Chris picked him up – definitely not what he wanted – and plopping him down at the table to eat breakfast. Thankfully, Cheerios were enough to distract him from his grudge against the World’s Meanest Mommy (me) for daring to take a shower.
Fortunately, we can count on two things. One, we know this is a relatively quick stage that we’ll get through and it isn’t indicative of his personality. If I had a constant headache and few communication skills, I’d be on edge too. Second, he’s much less fussy when there are other people around, whether we’re out in public or folks are visiting the house. Chris had him out almost all day and he was running around smiling this evening. So getting out and about not only staves off cabin fever in us, but helps him too. (I will never turn down a good reason to “do stuff.”)
When we visited the Baltimore Aquarium last year, we bought Sprout a onesie with a shark on it that said “Teething Bites.” We bought it a size up and I remember thinking that he might be done with teething before it fit him. He’s actually out-grown it since. At least it really will be over soon.