The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
How I feel about teething

How I feel about teething…………….

Why do babies go through all the trauma of growing teeth only to lose them one by one when they start turning four or five? Surely mankind has evolved enough to sort this out? How about this for a solution. Your baby has turned one, started walking and can speak the odd sensible word. Overnight, alright it’s a very traumatic night but just one night, they grow a full set of teeth. In fact we have evolved to the point where its easy to predict when this is going to happen and children get taken into hospital, sedated and when they wake up the next morning they have a full set of chompers. I know this is implausible and actually a pretty stupid idea and coming from the daughter of a dental hygienist you would think I would know better. A baby is actually created in the womb with both sets of teeth somewhere around in its jaw but that because that jaw is just too tiny, teeth grow one by one to make room and that if a baby was born with its adult teeth there wouldn’t be enough room for even half of them in its little mouth. But this teething thing has got to stop!

That said I actually don’t know if Amy is teething right now. She already has eight teeth, four on the bottom and four on the top, all in a row. We discovered the first teeth when we were in Cape Town on Thursday the 7th December, the bottom on her right appeared, then the next day the one next to it. She had one bad afternoon back in Joburg where she moaned and niggled and I knew she was hurting. We gave her some homeopathic teething pills that Mum got and these seemed to help along with rubbing her gums with my finger and giving her all manner of teething rings to chew on. Things went along smoothly for the next few months if you disregard moving countries, jet lag and feeding issues related to jet lag and then on the 1st of February I noticed her top gums were swollen and you could definitely see something under the skin. The nurse at the Child Health Centre had mentioned the week before that she thought there would be some teeth soon on the top and then over the next few days they cut through and suddenly Amy had a toothy grin. It seems she has inherited her teeth from her mum and most definitely from her Gogga as my mum has very distinctive front teeth and for most of her life has had a very large gap between them. I had my gap corrected with a legal torture device known as a braces/headgear combo, ouch!

Amy wasn’t her usual sunny self when these top teeth were coming through. We used more teething pills and rubbed bonjela on her gums. I resorted to Panadol at night to help me sleep, I mean help Amy sleep! She chewed on rusks, teething rings and even ice cubes seemed to help. A few weeks went by and I realised just how bad it had been when suddenly Amy was chatty, cheerful and more importantly, she was sleeping again.

My experience of parenthood has been largely in retrospect with the gift of hindsight. What I mean is that its like a really fast, scarey rollercoaster that while you are on it, everything whirs past in a blur and you feel dizzy and sick at the same time as completely exhilarated! Its only when you are safely on the ground again, looking up at the ride that you realise how dangerous it was and how afraid you felt but because of the adrenalin still rushing through your body you almost feel brave enough to get on for another ride.

Amy’s next four teeth seemed to come at the same time. Just before we went away for Easter to Brisbane I noticed another bottom tooth was peeping through on her right side. At the same time the next top two came through which was largely a surprise because I was thinking that these might not appear, ever, due to a congenital missing lateral teeth thing in my family that skips a generation (me) and could be visited upon my children. Thankfully my Dad accepts full responsibility and has offered to pay for the orthodonist! So I was surprised to see these teeth until Mum mentioned that no one is quite sure how it works and although she might get her milk teeth through, she might end up missing the adult versions. At the same time as Amy was cutting these teeth she was also suffering from what might have been a slight ear infection and I took her to the Dr after a week of snotty noses and refusal to nap during the day. The Dr suggested I was better equipped to make a diagnosis on my own child and recommended I “keep an eye on her” for a few days before deciding whether or not to give her the antibiotics she prescribed, if I decided to use them. Very helpful, thank you useless Dr! In the end I gave her the muti and within a day she was back to her sunny self. Another case of standing at the bottom of the rollercoaster and realising quite how horrible the ride had been!

A very good friend once said to me that if a child is acting out of sorts, then its probably sick and this is excellent advice, albeit hard to remember when you are doing the loop-de-loop on a rollercoaster! Which brings us to why I have been thinking about teething again for the last few days. Amy has not been herself since the weekend. This phrase “not been herself” is slightly misleading considering she is only nine and three quarters of a month old and therefore isn’t really a self quite yet. But she has been miserable during the day and waking EVERY HOUR at night. As a result I conclude she is teething. Yesterday afternoon I gave her some Panadol after taking her temperature which was elevated. That in conjunction with a snotty nose, mouthful of dribble and general crankiness points towards more sleepless nights ahead for Ron and I.

The worst part? I still can’t find any evidence of these damn teeth but I do have a plaster on my finger from trying to find them!

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