Right around four and a half months, Cooper’s tendency to be colicky in the evenings slowly disappeared. It certainly didn’t happen overnight. And then right around five months, Cooper started teething.
And in case you didn’t know, there is nothing particularly joyful about a baby who is protesting the razor sharp teeth that are slowly cutting their way through his swollen gums. Not to mention the pressure of the teeth coming up through the jaw bone itself. Major headache. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t have any recollection of what teething feels like. I am just guessing based on the anguished look on my son’s face as he drools continuously and tries to shove his whole fist in his mouth to block the pain. Or screams and thrashes as he tries to nurse, only to find that even his favorite way of being soothed hurts too. Talk about adding insult to injury. The only mouth pain that I can really remember is the super-tender, painful feeling that I experienced for several hours after having my braces tightened as a tween. Ouch. So that is how I imagine he must feel.
If I can correctly remember all the way back to my gawky tween years, the over-the-counter pain medicine that my mother gave me barely took the edge off of my the hardware-induced pain in my mouth. And so did the ice cream. And so I’ve noticed that pain medications and frozen teething toys we give our son only offer him a brief and incomplete respite from his agony…and mine. The only things that really help are time, sleep and sometimes distraction.
Cooper’s teething means that he is a drooley, slobbery mess all of the time. Unless he is wearing a bib, his shirts get wet awfully fast. Ugh! I couldn’t tolerate having a cold, slimy shirt clinging to my skin but he doesn’t seem to mind. We put bibs on him more for our sake than his because like many parents, we’re projecting how we would feel onto him. In all honestly, his mouth is probably aching so much that his shirt is the least of his worries.
Just today I noticed one of his top teeth is about to come through. I can tell because his gum is swollen, red and almost looks like a blister. I can attest to the sharpness of these little chompers too, since he’s taken several practice bites while nursing. When he does this, I can’t help but to shriek loudly and pull him off. I remember doing this when Lauren, our first, bit me for the first time. She jumped and started crying when I screamed and refused to nurse for hours. As for Cooper? He just looks up at me with a drooley, milky grin and is ready to go right back to his meal.
So thank goodness those bottom teeth are finally through…hopefully the top ones will be soon. But the real problem with teething? It’s never ending! Cooper still has a lot more to go.