People talk about how teething is the worst thing to ever befall their babies. They talk about interrupted sleep patterns, uncontrollable crying, rivers of drool, compulsive gnawing, etc.
I thought I understood. I thought I had been there. I have even partaken in teething related conversations, nodding my head along with my fellow moms, saying, “Oh, yes teething is TERRIBLE! Been there, done that!”
But oh no. I did not understand. I had not been there. I had not done that.
Harlow has been slow to get in her teeth. For some reason, she got her middle teeth on the top and bottom and then skipped to the molars. The secondary incisors and the canines have just started coming in over this past week.
(Do you like my official dental jargon? I looked it up myself on google.)
It seemed to be going okay until Saturday afternoon when Harlow was suddenly very lethargic.
It’s important to note how different lethargy is from my daughter’s usual behavior. Usually, she is ball of energy you can barely see, she is moving so fast. Even at 5am, when Harlow wakes up, she doesn’t want to crawl into bed with us. She wants me to put her on the floor so she can run out the door and get the party started in the living room.
On Saturday afternoon, all Harlow wanted to do was lie on top of me with her head buried on my shoulder. There was no fight in her body. No moving muscles. Just a big snugglebug.
I thought— Well, there is obviously something wrong with my baby, but… I LIKE IT.
She went to bed with a low fever. I checked on her throughout the night and she was sweating but sleeping soundly.
The next day, Harlow woke up and it was like a dam had broken in her mouth.
Actually, it was more like every orfice on her face had turned on the waterworks.
Her eyes were tearing, her nose was running, and saliva was pouring out of her mouth like she was trying to put out a forrest fire. Or perhaps, she was trying to give Victoria Falls some tourism competition.
“It’s the eighth wonder of the world! Harlow’s gums!”
We went about our day and despite going through about ninety tissues, all was well.
Then Harlow went down for her afternoon nap. Mike was out with Mazzy so when she woke up, it was just the two of us.
Well, just the two of us, if you don’t count the horrifying demon that possessed my baby for about two hours and turned her into a screaming blubbering tantruming devil child that would have made for a great episode of Ghost Hunters.
I thought I would be able to solve the problem since I was armed with Baby Motrin, Baby Orajel and numerous frozen teethers. BUT, Harlow was in such a state that I couldn’t even get her to calm down enough to accept one of my remedies.
Complicating matters was the fact that she was really hungry. She hadn’t eaten much all day since her gums hurt. I offered up yogurt but she refused. I offered up apple squeezie but she refused. Finally, she took a banana but wouldn’t eat it. She just squeezed it for dear life, mashing the banana between us as she tried to get comfortable on my shoulder. It’s a good thing I wasn’t wearing a shirt I care about. (That’s a lie.)
Honestly, I would have done anything for her in the two hours it took her to calm down. I offered her every item in our house (she wanted none), I held her close (she swatted my hands away from her back), I put her down (she wanted to be picked up), I tried wrapping her in her Hello Kitty blanket (she wanted nothing to do with it).
Nothing would console her. She screamed, she tossed around, she kicked and pounded the floor, she spun herself in circles on her back, she cried harder than I had ever seen her cry before.
Finally, after two hours of failing miserably at providing comfort, Harlow crashed into a heap on the kitchen floor— her butt up in the air, her legs folded underneath her and her wet cheek resting on the floor. (I’d say the cold tiles offered her some relief except our kitchen floor is wood just like the rest of our apartment.)
Her face was tear and snot streaked, a large strand of snot/drool attaching her nose to her mouth to the floor, forming a small puddle. I stood back, trying to resist the urge to wipe it all away with a tissue.
Then Harlow patted the space next to her, like she had saved me a seat.
I lay down, putting my cheek on the floor parallel to hers. Then I held one of her hands and crossed my other arm over her body. We stared into eachother’s eyes as Harlow slowly started to breathe normally again.
I thought— Well, the last two hours were TORTUROUS, but this right here, us both lying on the kitchen floor, finally finding peace, is kind of beautiful.
I decided to sing her a lullaby to really bring the moment home. Somewhere Over the Rainbow seemed appropriate. She used to love when I sang her that song before bed.
Oops. I should have left well enough alone.