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Teeth

It’s an amazing act of evolution or creation (or whatever your belief is on this subject, not to be debated here thank you) that human babies are born with really bendy heads so that they can fit through the birth canal.  According to Dr. Harvey Karp (Happiest Baby on the Block) they are really born undercooked so that we can get those heads out.  He maintains  that the first three months of a baby’s life should be considered the fourth trimester while they get developed to the point that other animal’s babies are at birth.  The upshot of this is that newborn heads are not big enough to accommodate teeth.  That means they have to grow teeth when they are painfully aware of the whole process.

I remember when my wisdom teeth were coming in sometime in my twenties.  They were all coming in at once.  I could feel their tips for a while and then they’d recede back up into my gums.  It was all kinds of painful.  They were pushing my other teeth forward, which created lots of pressure in the front of my mouth and made my whole face hurt.  Knowing this, I can only speculate on how horrible the Sparkle Girl must feel now that she’s growing a mouthful of teeth.

For the longest time she had six teeth: four up and two down.  It was an adorable look…those sweet little bottom teeth in that giant smile.  In the past six weeks or so she’s grown four more: two more flanking those adorable bottom teeth and two molars.   One molar came through on the upper gum and one on the bottom on opposite sides of her mouth.

The past two weeks she’s been growing four more: the other two molars and the bottom canines.  When she opens her mouth to cry (which is astonishingly often these days) her gums are big and red and swollen just waiting to erupt.  It hurts just to look at it.  She’s miserable.  When I touch her head it is blazing hot.  She’s chewing on everything.  Meals are futile–who wants to chew when it creates such horrible pain?  She’s emotionally unstable… laughing one minute, inconsolable crying the next, and unfettered shrieking the next.

Unfortunately, this event coincides with my initial attempts at weaning.  Last week we were doing great.  She’d ask to nurse (”Pleeeeeee”) and I say “no” and try to redirect her to a snack or a book or something. We were down to three times a day–morning, after nap and before bed.  That was working well until all this teething business erupted.  She doesn’t want to eat so she’s hungry and wants to nurse more.  She’s emotionally unstable and needs the reassurance of a familiar and comforting ritual.  My gentle “no” is met with a full on meltdown.

This all means that I’m not bringing my A game lately.  I met some friends at Oaks Park the other morning.  This is a local amusement park that has pre-schooler only hours a couple of mornings a week.  It’s super fun!  H whined and crabbed the whole way to the park.  I get there and get the jogging stroller assembled (have to remove the wheels to get it into my trunk) get everything set up and realize she had pooped.  No problem, I thought, we’ll get her changed and meet our friends.  Turns out she was playing in the diaper bag and removed the smaller bag with the diapers and wipes.  AAAAARRRGH! I had to pack everything back up and put her back in the car.  H was FURIOUS at being put back in.  We had to find a grocery store nearby, which was a health food store.  They just had the hippie diapers that don’t work as well and are more expensive.  It was a mess all the way around.

Wednesday she had a photo shoot for an upcoming grocery store ad.  When I saw her assigned time slot I just knew it was a doomed venture.  She naps from noonish to two-ish most days.  Her time slot was 1:45–right smack in the middle of naptime.  We had movement class was at 10:30 so I figured we’d do that and go to lunch and then she’d sleep in the car and I’d drive around until her appointment.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  Alas.  The great thing was running into my friend and her daughter who had been out of town all month while we were at lunch.  But she hardly ate and was crabby the whole time (H not my friend) so we took off.  She * did * not * sleep*.  Maybe for about 15 minutes, which is not nearly enough time.  We get there and spend half an hour in the waiting room.  These times are not absolute.  They are shooting a lot of kids all day and it depends on how everything goes.  There are toys and other kids and parents waiting too, so it’s not a horrible thing—unless your kid is pushing through 5 teeth and hasn’t napped or eaten.  H was a total champ through the whole waiting around process.  The stylist came back and got us, handed her the outfit and led us to the photo area.  It was a group shot with three other kids.  H kept wanting to run off and explore everything.  She did fine until one hyperactive little git got too excited and bumped her in the face.  That was it.  It was all over at that point.  SHRIEKING like it was the end of the world.  She was pulled out of the shot and I finally managed to get her calmed down somewhat.  They decide to shoot just her.  Total disaster.  She kept running toward me and crying…even when they found a dog for her to play with.  They just couldn’t get a shot and we called it a day.  There’s an outside possibility that they got a usable photo from the beginning, but I’ll be shocked and amazed if they did.  This is why they shoot two kids for every shot they need.  In case one has a meltdown, or looks weird in the outfit, or just isn’t quite right.  I heard crying while I was in the waiting room so it is possible they didn’t get either of them.  She’ll still get paid, but I feel bad and just should have pulled her from the shoot at the beginning.

Needless to say, this has been a tough week.  It is abundantly clear to me why some moms drink.  By about 4 o’clock I’m ready for a cocktail and a massage.  The other day it was soooooooo tempting to put her in her bed, let her holler, pour a glass of wine and watch bad TV.  I ultimately resisted, but I had to dig deep for the willpower.  I don’t know how those women who put their toddlers to bed at 9 or 1o do it.  We’ve actually bumped up her bedtime to 6:30 and she goes right down.  Dealing with the chaotic crankiness for all that time would truly send me over the edge.

This is just temporary and already today is much better than the rest of the week has been.  She’ll grow those teeth and her whole look will change.  She’ll be able to eat a wider variety of foods and we’ll be good until she starts to lose them in about three or four years.  In the mean time she’s learning how to manage her emotions and tell me what she needs.  These are all good things.  Today she took a three and half hour nap!!!  See, it’s already looking up~

33 comments to Teeth

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