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Monday, April 9, 2012

Teasing Teeth

I don't know about all of you out there, but I hate Teeth Stuff.  They're great for chewing, and filling up a smile, but when something goes wrong, it's the pits.  I've had my share of crummy experiences with teeth - cavities, then fillings, braces (and their accessories), teeth being pulled, wisdom teeth extractions, oh and that one time my loose baby tooth fell victim to a tootsie roll.  Let me just add, that tootsie rolls are not supposed to be crunchy.  Yuck.

Now, do you remember when your first teeth came in?  I don't, but from what I've recently experienced with Quincy, it's the worst of all Teeth Stuff.

Tiger Teeth on their way, Rarrrrrr...

A few days ago, Quincy felt a bit warm, which turned out to be a low-grade fever.  To be on the safe side, we brought him in to see the doctor, and it was simply a viral thing that would take time and a bit of Tylenol to clear up.  No ear problems.  No stuffed up nose.  Honestly, not too bad.  I spent the next few days (and nights) cuddling and consoling Quincy as best I could, and it wasn't so bad.  He was generally happy, just a bit fussier than usual.

Despite last night's marathon of waking up every one to two hours to feed him or rock him back to sleep, he woke up this morning as a happy, babbling, sweet little baby.  He was so ready to play, in fact, that he didn't nap well.  As a last ditch effort, I pulled out my secret weapon: The Mommy-Quincy Nap.  After feeding him, we snuggled up on the couch and he fell asleep, literally, like a baby.

The Classic, Mommy-Quincy Nap

Two hours later, he woke up screaming.  I know I've woken up on the wrong side of a nap before, so I laughed to myself, mumbling how he must still be sleepy.  But, he continued to scream quite fervently, so I went through my Crying Checklist:

1. Tired?  Well, he just slept two hours so most likely not.

2. Wet Diaper?  That can be fixed!  Amidst continuous screams and crocodile tears running down his cheeks, I changed his diaper.  Still screaming.

3. Hungry?  That can also be fixed!  But not if he won't eat.  Despite all of my attempts, he wouldn't eat.  It actually just upset him more.

At that point, I started to worry.  His screams weren't his typical hungry cries, or bored cries.  They were Mommy-I'm-Missing-A-Limb cries, and Mommy-My-Arm-Is-Broken cries.  Thirty minutes into the episode, I'm crying along with him, not knowing what to do.  You see, I'm The Consoler.  I'm The Fixer.  Fussy baby?  I can solve that - just a few pats on the bottom, or rocking side to side - and poof, all better!  But I was failing.  He was just crying more and more.

I ran through the Crying Checklist again - tired, diaper, food; tired, diaper, food.  None of those.  I checked his temperature, and it was fine.  Then it hit me:  TEETH.  It's gotta be Teeth Stuff.

I had learned a few weeks back that teething can happen at a young age, but doesn't necessarily mean teeth are coming in; they can move around a while before actually making an appearance.  Quincy had had a similar reaction to nursing at that time, and I had found this helpful paragraph in What to Expect: The First Year.

From What to Expect: The First Year by Heidi Murkoff

I ran and got a teether and a wet washcloth.  No luck.  Still screaming.  His pacifier worked for a few seconds, but then he was inconsolable.  Brad was at work, and the neighbors have kids that could catch whatever horrible screaming sickness Quincy may have, so I went into the other room and called the doctor's office.  While on hold for a nurse, Quincy's screaming stopped.  Just stopped.  I rushed into the room, and there he was gnawing on the washcloth and his fingers.  Happy as a clam chewing on sand.  Yahtzee: It was Teeth Stuff.

For the next forty-five minutes, I rotated washcloths from the freezer with teethers and a pacifier, but he still cried most of the time.  I called the doctor's office back to see if there was anything else I could do, but the nurse said I was already doing all that I could.  If he continued to cry, I could bring him in to get checked out.

Green Teether, Teal Washcloth, Mommy's & Quincy's Fingers

Finally, after the entire dramatic episode of screaming, crying, washcloths and chewing on fingers had reached an hour and a half, he was slightly calmer, so I tried nursing him again.  He ate for a little while, and then cashed out.  This time, The Mommy-Quincy Nap worked.  He slept for another two hours and woke up my sweet, babbling baby from this morning.

Cashed Oooooooooout

This post may not be interesting for everyone out there, but I wanted to share my anxiety, my helplessness, and my triumph.  Sometimes, you can't always fully fix the situation so you just have to power through it and help them as best you can.

I've mentioned my Motherhood Toolbelt, but now I have an addition to make.  I would add a Teething Kit to the lot, and strap it to my thigh like a spare weapon I could reach for quickly.  It would contain:

Frozen Washcloths (FWC'S) - I have a plate in our freezer now with ready to serve FWC's and teethers.  Quincy is especially fond of washcloths with Mommy's fingers tucked inside for chewing.

Freezer Stash

Washcloth Heaven

Tylenol - use as directed!  Infant dosing should always get checked with your pediatrician, as often times it is dependent on the baby's weight not age.  Also, the bright red medicine is a pain for clothing so keep a wet paper towel on hand to wipe up the drips that don't make it in their mouth!

Children's Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Teethers - find out what works best for your baby.  We liked these rings that have different textures on them and are made of silicone (safe for baby's mouth and the dishwasher!)

Teether Ring

Distance - don't be afraid to step away when baby is super duper upset and you've tried your usual tactics.  Obviously, be sure to inspect them to make sure they don't have an injury that needs addressing first, but it's okay to take a breather.  Call for help, too.

Quincy is now sleeping soundly in his room, pacifier in mouth, teether close by, and I'm breathing easier.  He's been fed, has a clean diaper, and is set on Tylenol for a few hours.  He could very easily wake up and get upset again at any time, but I feel a bit better knowing that we made it through today, and I am stronger from it.

Enjoy your teeth - be thankful they don't have to come in for the first time ever again!


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