Diary of a Dad: Week 8 - Teethingby Adam Riches
Some parenting milestones are amazing, some are less so. After a few months, you sort of start to roll with the punches a bit and life with a baby starts to feel...dare I say it, a bit normal.
After birth, things can be frantic, but as time passes, you get used to having your new addition and things start working, you find a new normal. Smiles, laughs, you get a bit more kip. Life is good.
And then the baby starts teething and it all goes to shit.
Teething is torturous both for the little one and for parents. There is so little you can do to help. Remedying some of the symptoms can help your baby with comfort, but short of giving them something to chew or a bit of numbing ointment, you just have to let them ride it out.
I think teething is the first real tester. You’ve just left the honeymoon period of the baby just getting used to the world (not always as harmoniously as you might like) and BAM, the teeth start turning up. The thing is, you don’t realise you’ve got it good until it goes wrong. That’s the problem with parenting. You don’t ever make the time to think, yes, I’ve got my shit together...you’re always worrying about the next thing or your attention is elsewhere and I think we are too slow to celebrate the wins. Trust me, when the teeth come, it goes down. So celebrate your pre-teeth baby as much as you can.
As milestones go, the ones that mean you lose sleep kind of make you feel a bit deflated. Teeth coming through turns your baby into an absolute sleep thief. Routines are ruined, nights are filled with the echoes of crying and a zombie type psychosis replaces your short lived smiles of confidence.
I think it’s the irrationality that gets me. Babies can’t tell you how they are feeling so you just have to sort of guess don’t you? From 3 - 9 months, every time the baby is grouchy, we will blame it on teeth...no doubt, that will be the excuse now for months.
But, teething is temporary. If like us you’ve had it hard at the start, then been graced with a few weeks of bliss, don’t worry, the teething thing is just a phase (I’m repeating that to myself as I’m met with incessant crying and the sound of salivating). And, it’s worse at the start as it transpires. Once a couple are through, things get more settled. Babies are tough little things really, they go through a lot and really, they don’t make much fuss...imagine some adults teething, jesus!
I joke, but there’s nothing worse than not being able to help as a parent. I forgot how hard it is to ride these kinds of phases out - but that’s what you have to do. Some parents are dead set against changing their ways during these kinds of phases, but we’re not like that. If the baby needs an extra cuddle or another feed to settle him, that’s what we do.
Life for newborns is tough and although their teeth may drive you crazy, throughout we need to remember that it’s them who is going through the excruciating pain of teeth pushing through gums. Bless them. They’ll sleep again one day (when they’re 16.)