Baby, Grandparents Begin Pat-a-Cake Training

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As soon as Maddie opened her eyes this morning, it was obvious that her gaggle of new teeth were not treating her very kindly. She’s been grinding these enamel barbarians against one other for almost 48 hours now.

It’s frustrating as a parent to have such a happy baby who is struggling to stay in good spirits even when she is in obvious discomfort.

This morning we took Maddie to Panera to munch on a bagel and give her teeth a rest from all that grinding. This was one of many distractions we tried with the baby to distract her from those erupting teeth.

Maddie’s grandmother MiMi came up with a great distraction technique when she engaged the baby in a winner take all game of Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake Baker’s Man.

Maddie seemed to be getting the hang of the Baker’s Man hand motions when she turned the tables on MiMi. Once Maddie got the moves down, she grabbed her grandmother’s hands and started instructing her. It’s always reassuring to have a 9-month-old who is so ready to pull from her vast pool of knowledge.

Next up was naptime for the baby, but Maddie wasn’t having it.

I put her down to sleep and the waterworks broke out just a few minutes later. It was strange because for the past few months, Maddie has insisted on putting herself to sleep.

Today was a different story. I went up to the crib and it was obvious that Maddie needed some company. I rested my hand on her tummy and she held onto my arm until she finally drifted off to sleep.

Luckily she woke up in much better spirits and enjoyed a great day with all of her aunts and uncles.

Baby Bites the Hand that Feeds Her

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Fingers make nice floss too!

Just shy of her 9-month-birthday, Maddie snuck in her first official bite on her dear old dad. With the recent addition of her top teeth, I knew it was just a matter of time.
Last night’s sweet potato dinner was the catalyst for Maddie’s chewing breakthrough. The sweet potato is much thicker than the other foods she has been working on. So after some fits and starts, Maddie actually started using her top and bottom teeth together in that age-old activity called chewing.
The honey badger downed an entire half of sweet potato. However, this doesn’t mean she has given up her habit of storing unchewed food in her mouth. Sometimes when her mouth gets too packed, I have to use a finger to sweep her tongue clear so she can start again. I always realized that this could become a hazardous activity. But as long as there were no teeth on the top, I didn’t worry too much.
However, when we switched from sweet potato to applesauce, the danger signs were impossible to miss. The little piranha actually began biting her spoon. Clearly you should always wash down the applesauce with bitten off plastic spoon chunks. Once Maddie got the hang of biting her spoon, the meal devolved into a tug-of-war between the two of us.
Once the soft stuff was gone, it was bananas for dessert. Maddie loves to store banana chunks in her teeth for snack time at a later date. As her little cheeks began to puff out, I realized it was time to go in. I gave my index finger a kiss goodbye as I went into clear out the baby’s mouth.
After all the hi-jinks with the spoon, an unsuspecting finger was just what the doctor ordered. Just as I put my finger past those gnashing teeth, she clamped down. Two little teeth on the bottom and two on the top. The bite was surprisingly sharp and I could not help but be impressed with her new skill. But time was running short. I had to extract the banana build up with out losing the finger or hurting her little chompers.
I removed the banana and my finger to inspect the damage. Two tiny impressions of her bottom teeth tattooed the bottom of my finger. This is obviously the beginning of a brave new world during feeding time.

Baby Suspends Sleep & Eating for New Teeth

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I already have two teeth - that's plenty!

Even after two major trips in a row, Maddie’s schedule at home was really coming together nicely. Full nights of sleep and a fairly regimented eating schedule had the entire household living the dream.

But things swerved a bit off kilter yesterday and today all that consistency went up in smoke. Maddie spent the day boycotting any feeding or nap attempts. This caused me great concern because my parents were coming in to babysit Maddie.

Once they arrived, I was nervous about leaving them alone with the Mad Madster who was smack dab in the middle of her simultaneous hunger and sleep strike. However, the baby was full of smiles and squeaks and showing no signs of criminal mischief. After some urging from the grandparents, I decided to let Maddie be free of me for a couple of hours.

I gave my mom the scoop on Maddie’s odd behavior and finally left with a heavy cloud of guilt over my head. At this point, I still did not know the origin of the baby’s stranger-than-normal behavior.

Finally I broke down and called my parents for the scoop. They said that Maddie had taken a decent nap and was playing on the floor with my mom. Maddie’s grandfather told me to take my time, but I know that the baby’s mood can turn on a dime. I hurried home and when I walked in, I asked my dad how things were going.

When Maddie heard my voice, she let out a powerful screech. According to my parents, she had slowly started to come undone about 15 minutes before I got home. The baby didn’t need anything in particular, she just wondered why I wasn’t waiting on her hand and foot.

My wife had arrived home about the same time I did and informed me that Maddie has a pair of top teeth that have begun to break through the gums. That’s why the happy baby has been suddenly out of sorts. Maddie is fighting the good fight against this most recent invasion of the teeth, but we will have to see how tonight goes for all us.

Baby Strikes Down Lunchtime Measure

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Does it look like I have time for lunch?

Little Madeleine has never been one to skip meals, but for the past two days, she’s been boycotting lunch. There’s no real rhyme or reason that we can determine, she’s just not into it.

She goes after the first ounce like a champ, but then starts playing and spraying and it all goes down hill from there. It’s the same meal that she devours first thing in the morning. It’s also the same concoction she pounds in the evening. So what’s going on with the midday meal?

The most interesting aspect of it is that she’s really enjoying this particular project. She looks up the length of the bottle at me, gets a big smile and then lets a huge stream of milk run down her chin. So she sucked this milk into her mouth only to let it dribble out so I could watch. That’s what I call lunchtime entertainment.

After a few cleanups, Maddie moves onto the tongue game. She starts grinning again and uses her tongue to push the nipple back and forth – this is to create the illusion that she is drinking. Having been on the receiving end of this trick a few times, I just take the bottle away.

She fusses just the tiniest bit, but obviously has no interest in eating her lunch. I take a five-minute break and we go through the same routine all over again. I make sure to enjoy the theater of it all, but the baby is coming up about 4-6 ounces short of what she usually ingests.

Of course, with a girl like Maddie, she’s in no danger of going hungry. But this new found distaste for the midday feeding is a real head scratcher. Since eating is not a problem during any other time of day, there is no need for concern. But if she goes for the trifecta (3 Days in row) I wonder if our faux lunchtime together will become part of our daily ritual.

Teething Trouble Taking its Toll on the Baby

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Are we in the right place?

I’ve always heard that the teething process is no picnic. Maddie is driving that point home while her bottom gum line is under assault by an erupting tooth.

Her eating and sleeping schedules are in complete chaos as she searches for some balance during this process. Maddie is such a good girl, and it makes it all the more difficult that she really is trying to be sweet despite her obvious discomfort.

At this point we are all about the distractions. We are trying everything from juggling clowns to large jungle cats to keep Maddie’s mind off of her aching mouth. We took a long walk this morning, but by the end, the offending tooth was sticking it to my little girl.

We’ve also been trying a variety of tricky items for Maddie to chew on. Since Maddie likes chewing on her own toes so much, we thought a little fake plastic foot that goes into the refrigerator might be pleasing to suck on for a while – No Dice!

Someone suggested that we freeze or cool off a washcloth and let the baby gnaw on that. Maddie is still pondering what road scholar came up with that one. She took one look at thing all the while giving off that famous McEnroe vibe, “You can not be serious!”

The baby did enjoy chewing on a bagel and gumming up a few slices of pear this morning, but that was the extent of our success.

My wife and I had a pharmacist tell us that soothing medicines for the gums can cause problems for children later in life. This might be due to the fact that many people grapple with the concept of moderation. I’m pretty sure a little Baby Orajel here and there isn’t going turn the baby into a werewolf or a zombie.

So for now, the baby is fighting the good fight – thank god we only have about 6 to 9 months of this to go!

Baby Grapples With Sore Gums

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I think I'll pass on this teething thing

After a vaccination-fueled weekend of interrupted sleep, it’s been our pleasure to welcome in Maddie’s sore gums. That’s right, out with the shots and in with the teeth.

Maddie’s gums are giving her the dickens and she is letting everybody know about it. This morning’s early morning nap was almost over before it began, lasting only 30 minutes. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.

Maddie was out of sorts and only could only be soothed in short stints. Even one of our short walks (usually a Maddie favorite) only seemed to make matters worse.

The baby has started drooling like a rabid wolf now and is looking for relief in all the wrong places. She wants to chew anything and everything, but nothing we have tried seems to provide any relief.

From what I understand, we had better get settled in because the teething process is only going to get more difficult. The telltale sign that things were really changing was at dinnertime.

In recent weeks, the solid food dinner has really become a fan favorite. This is the meal Maddie really looks forward to. So after the baby endured such a difficult day, I made it a point to pick out some sweet potatoes, one of Maddie’s favorites.

I got her all prepped and spooned out some of that orange goodness only to be stopped at the gate. I couldn’t even get her to execute her favorite trick – the spoon grab! Maddie just wasn’t interested. I tried all the food tricks, the ones that help her to eat the non-favorites, but her heart just wasn’t into it.

We have all been blessed because Maddie feels so good and happy so often. But these gum issues have left her in a rather contemplative state. She realizes something is different and uncomfortable, but is still trying to piece together the origin of the problem.

After dinner, Maddie was far from enthusiastic with prospect of being put to bed. Even though several attempts ended badly, we are hopeful that the baby is able to work out some of these issues and get some much needed rest.

If anyone has any great advice or guidance for helping Maddie get through these tough times, we are all ears!