My husband laughs at me. My babies are teething. That’s no laughing matter, of course, as anyone who has dealt with a teething baby can tell you. He laughs at me because, in my opinion, my babies are always teething. My babies have been teething since day one, or at least since month three. As soon as the experts gave me a ready-made, go-to excuse for their seemingly uncalled for tears and distress, I took it and ran.
Crying because they don’t want to eat? Teething. Crying because they’re overtired? Teething. Crying because they can’t communicate? They must be oversensitive because they’re teething. Most importantly, though, when they cry for no discernible reason, it’s definitely teething.
As they’ve gotten older, it’s become much easier for me to tell why they are crying. The communication issues are clearing up, they eat more or less on a schedule, and I make sure they take a nap for everyone’s sanity. Yet, there are still days when the whimpering, whiny, crying, 24-7-hug-needing baby appears. I have nowhere else to turn. It must be teething.
I will never understand why, as babies, when there is so much other growth and learning to overwhelm and scare us, we would have evolved to suffer sharp hard points shreading our gums for the entirety of the first two years of our existence. Is there not some easier way for teeth to appear in our mouths? And if poking through sealed membrane is the only answer, must it be so drawn out? If the pain must be constantly present, why not make it last a more reasonable amount of time, say, three weeks. This throbbing and pulsing until the relief of a breakthrough teases the baby into a feeling of security that the pain is over, only to have it start again, and even worse this time, because the molars are coming in. The gradual crescendo of pain, with each tooth supposedly being harder on the child than the last, can hardly be good for that child’s mental state.
Using teething as a catch-all crank-maker is helpful to parents who might otherwise be at the end of their rope. Even if the reason behind the crying is not always teething, for the most part, it is something that will pass relatively quickly. I have on many occasions blamed teething for fussiness, only to have that fussiness resolve itself with no tooth in sight.
“That’s great!” I tell myself with a pat on the back. “I guess it stopped bothering her.”
The only question remaining is what I am going to do once these final molars pop through. I’ll finally be left with no one to blame but myself and the universe at large.
Until then, though, it’s teething. Trust me.