• F

    dear bee // 21.

    12.07.2012 / FAMILY


    Dear Bee,

    You’re teething.

    Should I continue this letter?

    When you someday have a baby of your own, I pray that teeth may never enter her mouth. Sure, it might mean forgoing a few luxuries along the way (and I fear my future granddaughter may never be asked to prom, but then again, is that such a bad thing? Pro tip: Prom is overrated.) and she’ll likely never earn the opportunity to eat corn on the cob at a gingham-covered picnic table, but I think we can both agree those are small sacrifices in relative comparison to the intense despair that teeth bring. And on the bright side, she’ll never need braces. You’re welcome. My master plan has now saved you $7,000. Feel free to pay it forward (or back, in the form of a new sofa you’ll undoubtedly color on when you’re 2 1/2).

    As I type this, you’re wailing in your baby swing that was sent from the Lord and your father is bashing his head against the wall repeatedly. There’s a dent forming (both in his head and the wall), and we’ll keep that dent until our future granddaughter attends the aforementioned prom (or doesn’t, if our no-teeth plan works accordingly) as a reminder of these dark, dark baby days.

    To be clear, they’re not nearly as dark as the newborn days. If we’re talking in nail polish shades, I’d say the newborn phase was “Kiss Me at Midnight Black” and teething is more like “Chunky Knit Sweater Gray.” But they’re dark, nonetheless, and I believe that this is a reasonably sure sign that you’re going to be a very dramatic person when you become of age.

    You’ve refused all forms of feeding for the past 18 hours, throwing your body backwards as if you were a 1940’s leading lady fainting into the arms of the man who has just declared his love for another. It’s semi-cute, but also unbearably annoying considering you have been playing this role all day long and I have yet a chance to deliver my line, which is “Eat your food, child.”

    We’re also in the throes of a vicious cycle: you’re too tired to eat, so you refuse food. Yet you’re too hungry to fall asleep, so you refuse naps. Which makes you too tired to eat. Which makes you too hungry to sleep. The result is one long cycle of endless whining (I was not aware 4.5 month olds could whine, but alas, they can and it is a most treacherous noise in my ears) that loops repeatedly until you fall asleep, a sour look on your face. The same look you can expect from your future toothess child when you tell her she can’t ingest toffee because it made her gums bleed last time.

    But, as in most things, the lows are low and the highs are high. You can stand on your own feet now, for a few minutes at a time, and you like to balance yourself by holding on to the sofa in our office. It’s alarming how quickly you’re growing and how strong you’ve become and I’m quite sure it will be time to introduce you to big people things soon: high chairs and outlet plugs and stuffed animals. You’re a growing woman, one with wants and needs and incredible vocal chords to back up each.

    We finally caught your laugh on video. It’s taken a whole lot of weeks to do so, mainly because the case on your father’s phone holds a picture of Barney Fife and I have a sneaking suspicion that you don’t wish to laugh in front of this man’s face. It’s inevitable – we’ll be in the thick of a rousing fit of tickles and laughter and your father will bring his phone out to document the fun. Suddenly, you’ll spot Mr. Fife out of the corner of your eye and your brain forces itself to stop sending any happy signals anywhere throughout your body. Your face becomes deadpanned and it takes roughly three minutes to reboot. It’s an odd phenomenon we like to call the Barney Fife Factor, and I’m placing bets that ten years from now, a slew of researchers in white coats will diagnose exactly which elements in his face have created such a fun-sucking effect.

    Until then, we’re documenting you with my phone, whose cover is free of any 1960 deputy mugshots. Indeed, there will be no shortage of Bee Files of which to share. We’ll leave them under the pillow for the tooth fairy with our fingers crossed that next time your teeth come in we’ll all be older, wiser and much more heavily medicated. Deal?


    • Kristin

      I just had to drop a line to tell you that our daughters are almost exactly the same age, and seem to be having dramatic moments on a similar timetable. I wish I could write as beautifully for my Hannah as you do for your Bea… she will treasure these when she’s grown!

    • Ugh. The teething and the refusal to eat and the throwing ones self backwards. We are in the same horrible boat:(

    • Oh ladies – at least we’re in it together! And thank you sweet Kristin! Isn’t this such a dramatic movie we’re starring in?

    • one word. ibuprofen (if little bee is old enough). i held off, until i realized if i were in so much pain i would surely want some relief, and especially when i realized my little would sleep and eat again. and usually we only use it at night, before bed.

    • Rachael

      We have a VERY troubled teether on our hands, too. We’ve tried everything under the sun (Sophie, amber necklace, hylands tabs, tylenol, etc.) and sometimes she’s still just inconsolable. It seems so unfair.
      At least when she finally has a ‘good day’ (after what seems like a month of bad ones, all for one tooth) she’s still as sweet and happy as ever. Somehow, we’ll get through it… and thank goodness she won’t have to remember these days when she gets older!

      • @Rachael – Right? The dark days will be over soon – and she’ll never know the difference. :)

    • Sherry Smith

      in the olden days frozen teething rings were the answer..and the numming stuff
      love and hugs to both of you..

    • Carrie

      Although I am sure that everyone around you tells you something that worked for them during teething I just had to let you know what was worked for us. My little mister got 5 teeth within 2 weeks, we used this all natural teething gel and it was AMAZING! The screaming stopped the minute this stuff hit his gums.


      Good Luck!

      • Ah, thanks so much for sending this over, Carrie – that gel looks fantastic!

    • I don’t have a story yet since my baby is due in April. But..my friend has a 1 year old getting her molars in..”The ‘big’ ones in the back with the 4 pointy corners”
      Ugh. How horrifying for the babies. It’s no wonder no one remembers their first teeth coming in…it must have been SO bad it was removed from our memory banks as a species, to protect us.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Erin… sorry your little one is suffering (and you two along with her). Ibuprofen isn’t recommended for use under six months of age, but acetaminophen is. As an ER doctor, I see plenty of distraught, exhausted parents with lil tykes who won’t eat or drink when they are in pain. The acetaminophen can take the edge off, as can the cooled teething rings or topical products. Sometimes syringe feeding (little squirts of milk in the mouth without sucking) can help keep a little one hydrated. I remember my littlest brother and sister going through this phase, and it was so hard. We all made it through, and you and Little Bee will too! Her giggles will be back soon :)

      • Thanks for this response Elizabeth. Yeah, I reread the post and see that little Bee is just 4.5 months old. It’s just nice to read that a bit of pain relief medication is not such a horrible thing. With my daughter, we went through some miserable days, and I was freaked out about medicating. My ped. said it was perfectly fine, but I read blogs and threads that suggested otherwise, so I was reluctant. However, when we finally did, it provided some much needed relief (and SLEEP for all of us), and now, we’re not so afraid to use it, once or twice, on those really bad days/nights. And Erin, I hope Bee is feeling better.

      • Thanks for your sweet words, and thank you everyone for your advice!!!

    • I love reading your letters because I relate to them so much. My daughter turns 5 months on Thursday and is going through the same thing. She is usually such a happy baby and watching her go through this is making us both miserable. We give her the Little Remedies Little Fevers liquid acetaminophen. It definitely seems to help.

      • It’s so sad to watch, isn’t it? Poor babies. Glad to hear you’re getting a bit of relief!

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