The Tooth Hurts

fAIRYTeeth came and all hell broke loose. At three months old our little guy felt the first pains or erupting teeth and we encountered the first bout of ‘What the hell is going on?’ It might have been because it was so much earlier than anticipated but we had no idea what was wrong. All of a sudden my calm placid baby was replaced with a drooling, fussy, grizzly little man.

It was so sudden, as if the buds (yes there are a number of them) grew overnight. One day I was whizzing about on cloud nine with a wonderfully content baby. We happily trotted in and out of shops, play dates, and breezed down the Esplanade in the jogging pram, smiling serenely at all those that passed. The next, nothing I did was right. I couldn’t console my baby. He wouldn’t eat properly, was fussing at the breast, wasn’t napping and spent the whole day in a generally unhappy funk interspaced with wailing spells. I ran through my mind every possible situation. He’s sick (no temp), he’s been bitten by something (stripped to bare bum – no bites), no strings or hairs caught around toes (I don’t know how often this happens but it is in all the baby books), he’s hungry (no – see above), he’s overtired (possibly), he’s over-stimulated – oh my God I have over done it and gone and broken our baby. Mother’s guilt plays havoc with even the most logical of reasoning.

‘Could it be teeth?’ I asked a bewildered Dad who was listening with one ear to my frantic Google research as he bounced a wriggling baby and distracted with waving hands and funny faces.

‘Isn’t he too young?’

Our babe seemed barely out of the newborn era of constant sleep and poop.

‘It says some kids can get them early, some are even born with a tooth or two.’

Wiping skeptical looks from our faces we stuck a finger into tiny mouth, and just about lost a knuckle. The feverish gnawing gave us our answer. Relief came almost instantly, for me at least – I didn’t break our baby! This was a normal step and he would be all right. Guilt (there it is again) that I didn’t figure it out sooner and ease his pain followed soon after.

Over the next week and a half I lost my confidence a little, I have to admit I was thrown by this new turn of events. Was he hungry or was it teeth? Tired or teeth? Is it really just teeth? It seemed to be take such a long time, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than a baby trying to smile through tears. As a tiny white cap emerged (not the one that usually comes first – just to keep it interesting) I started to relax a little. I am happy to say that we made it through those weeks and learnt to understand each other a little better.

We had a week or so of reprieve where the teeth were at bay – it felt like I was in heaven. Harley slept through the night again and was a delight almost every minute of the day.

The teeth have returned but we are prepared this time. We get through each day and mini episode with a minimal of fuss. We are able to resume our daily activities with a few emergency supplies tucked in the nappy bag (dummy, wet washcloth, Brauer teething relief). Life goes on, but whoever invented the tooth fairy is having us all on, not just the kids. There is nothing fairy or gentle about getting teeth – or losing them for that matter. Surely a tooth monster complete with dribble and drool is more appropriate? Ok I’ll admit, a monster that comes and takes your teeth in the night leaving a saliva wet patch is a little less palatable than a fairy that leaves you coin, but in my experience – far more realistic.

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