War and Teeth.
Love in the Time of Teething.
A Tale of Two Teeth.
That a novel based solely on the tumult of teething hasn’t made into our literary canon can only mean that the great writers didn’t spend nearly enough time with teething humans. Surely even a novella would offer comfort to bleary eyed parents. Reading the dramatic arc of someone else’s struggle to soothe a puffy gummed human would assuage doubts of one’s own parental failings and offer reassurance that one’s sweet baby did not indeed become irrevocably possessed in the middle of the night. Or, if there was no questioning that that did indeed happen, that the parent would at least not feel alone in the struggle.
Last night the waking hours began with a long mournful cry that surely woke the neighbors in the highrise across the street to say nothing of the neighbors directly below us. It wasn’t the usual sort of cry, pitiful and whimpering. It was a howl. A head-thrown-back wail turned into a croaky yawp. Faye’s tiny fists gripped the crib rails and her shock of sweaty hair was knotted into an unruly pompadour above her face, clearly beet red even without the light turned on to confirm.
That we’re currently enduring a New York City heatwave wasn’t helping matters. In the semi-darkness that’s a city living room with only sheer curtains, I walked our girl to the freezer where I commenced to partake in the most necessary and least environmentally trick in the book. I opened the freezer drawer and literally stuck her inside, balancing her enormous cloth-diapered bottom on the fridge door.
She clung to my neck and cracked a smile when she spotted the bag of frozen blueberries on the fridge door. She began to oooh in spite of herself. And so despite the hour, which was wee, we sat on the apartment floor together and ate frozen berries. I mama-birded tiny bites of frozen strawberries and wiped her back and my own neck with a cool cloth.
When Faye’d had enough of the berries, we returned to the freezer and wrestled a frozen blue fish teether from underneath the ice trays. The teether is a recent aquisition—along with fancy mayonnaise and sour cherry compote—gained from my sister Cait emptying her fridge before her move cross-country. It worked wonders last night though on other nights we’ve had similar luck with frozen cloths for sucking and chilled rubber spatulas. We’ve tried homeopathic tablets which seem to do more to make us feel proactive than anything else, but I’ll take it. I haven’t yet embraced my full hippie parentdom and gone for the amber necklace, but I haven’t ruled it out either.
Mostly, I’ve found that taking a minute to go all in helps the most. On nights when a tooth is working its way up through those tender gums, I’ve found that embracing the fact that it won’t be business as usual helps me about a million times more than trying to pretend otherwise. Frozen strawberries on the middle of the floor in the middle of the night? You betcha. As my Dad would say, “We do what we do.”
And as far as the next great teething novel? Here’s my vote for Zen and the Art of Teething in a Heatwave.
Just this week, Courtney posed the same question on Instagram, and there’s some good advice there, but if you have teething tricks or tips up your sleeves, in the name of love and wisdom, let us know in the comments.
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