Playing with the new pool again tonight, Nora hobbled over, mouth crunched and crooked, eyes concerned and confused, “Mom, I have a rock in my mouth.” I had her open up, thinking that some of the gravel that had made its way into her plastic ocean had also made its way somehow into her mouth. I warily put my finger in to feel around since I couldn’t see anything. And I felt a rock too.
“It’s just your new tooth, Nora,” I said, feeling relief and joy and pain all at once as I stared at her two bulging bottom two-year-molars that have taken more than their sweet time entering her poor little mouth.
“Oh,” she said. “I don’t like these new teeth.”
I can’t blame her. When I looked at the “rocks” bugling from beneath her swollen gum tissue I wanted to yell out in pain for her. And there are FOUR of them. Four teeth larger than any other in her mouth, seemingly double the size of her one year molars. No wonder she’s been a bit of a pain lately. She’s in pain.
On Sunday night she woke up like a newborn, almost every two hours like clockwork until I broke down and brought her in our bed sometime in the early morning. On Monday night Ken suggested we give her some motrin. You see, I never think of medicine. I put off taking medicine of any kind for as long as I can. I’m not sure why I do this, but I always have, letting headaches bring me to tears and allergies ruin my days before I consider popping a pill to fix it. Ken, he takes cold medicine at the first sniffle and advil at the first muscle twinge. So it took him finally realizing that if he had these teething pains, he would want medicine before we remembered Nora might want it too.
Tuesday morning I worshiped the motrin gods as Nora slept without incidence. Why hadn’t I thought of that earlier?
I hate teething. It has been hard since tooth number one. I’m not sure if Nora’s extra sensitive or if teething just stinks for all babies, but when these four boulders finally make their final break, maybe I’ll throw us all a party.
I’ve heard many mothers proclaim that their children got teeth without them noticing. That one day they looked in their baby’s mouth and there they were, newly sprouted buds of enamel. Not us. Not Nora. Every tooth has been a battle with little victories each time the gums recede and let my sweet baby re-emerge from her tooth-pain-induced personality change. One of my books even proclaimed that two year molars are a “breeze” compared with other teeth because the child can tell you what hurts.
Ha. Oh yes, she can tell me alright. She can scream at the top of her lungs that she is “hurting myself,” which we’ve now all translated to mean that something is hurting her. She can stick her fingers so far back in her mouth to point to the painful spot, thus gagging herself. She can turn on a dime from happily coloring or playing with puzzles to being a screaming crazed child that no reasoning or soothing effort can console. She can tell me she doesn’t want to eat because it hurts, or, on the other hand, eat so fast because she’s given in to her hunger only to scream in pain afterwards for what seems like hours but is only minutes.
The only fun part of this whole teething while talking thing is it has brought out Nora’s inner drama queen. I’ve seen much evidence of it before – with her sunglasses, her reading dramatically, her turns of head and sly smiles she know are useful tools of manipulation – but the two year molars have brought it to a whole new level. Yesterday she woke up and didn’t want to eat. Either Ken or I suggested that her tummy might hurt. She latched onto that one fast. Walking into daycare, she slowed down and grabbed at her shirt. She slowly walked over to Miss L and said, “My tummy hurts,” in what I can only describe as her take-pity-on-me voice. Tonight, laying sleepily in my arms as I was finishing the night time book, she looked up, said very dramatically, “I need medicine. My tooth are hurting, ” pointed to her gums and whimpered.
Please two year molars, break through those gums soon. I like the occasional laughs that Nora the drama queen provides, but I am sick of the meltdowns and the drool (they had to change her outfit yesterday at daycare since she was so wet) and the screaming fits. And whoever said two year molars are no big deal is a big fat liar.