The dentist advised us that we needed to start brushing all eight of Maddie’s teeth. This seemed a bit excessive since the baby is only 11-months-old. But since I’m obviously no expert on the finer points of a baby’s dental hygiene, we decided to let the games begin tonight.
Maddie came out of the tub with a wicked gleam in her eye. She knew that something strange was afoot and was ready to meet the challenge. Hah, that what she thought. First I started with a personal demonstration with my own toothbrush. Maddie knew I was faking it because she knows that my electric toothbrush makes a loud buzzing noise.
I continued with the show just before it was time for Maddie to feel the tingle of her brush inside her mouth. Keep in mind, this is a girl that will put almost everything she can find into her mouth. But when it was time for the tooth brush, her mouth slammed shut and for all purposes was hermetically sealed.
Her locked jaw and steely-eyed determination told the tale of the tape – the brush was not going to be an easy sell. The more we tried to brush the baby’s teeth, the more Maddie got her little lips brushed. This was stunningly cute, but horribly unproductive. Brushing Maddie’s teeth is obviously an acquired taste – but we are already working on some new strategies.
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.
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!