What is the cruelest joke that your baby has ever played on you? You read that right. I want to know how your baby had you fooled.
If nothing comes to mind right away, perhaps this will jog your memory. So you think that you are finally going to get in some good nights of sleep. Your baby has graduated from waking up every two hours for feedings to sleeping for hours at a time. Sleep has evaded you for so long, you had forgot that you were still friends. For a few weeks you have had quite a few restful nights and there is a little spring in your step when you walk. You are (somewhat) refreshed each day and you are really starting to feel like you can "do this parent thing."
And then it happens and smacks the June Cleaver right out of you. Teething happens. Teething is a cruel joke for the sleep-deprived parent that has waited so long to sleep straight through a full dream. There are some babies who sail right through teething with barely a whimper, barely a fever. Then there are THOSE babies. Those babies who cry ... all night, and are inconsolable. Those babies who experience that plethora of symptoms that teething brings with it, including severe pain, fever, irritability and an increased amount of "if baby ain't happy, then nobody is happy." You may have guessed it - my baby is one of those babies.
My little girl would initially fall asleep, but then right when I would be at the point where I was in a sleepy daze with a little drool ready to drip out of the side of my mouth, she would start to wail in pain. My husband would groggily administer Tylenol and Orajel to Isabella while he was sleepwalking, but then would head back to bed, leaving me with an extremely unhappy baby. Sometimes he would bear the brunt of the crying baby, but for the most part Isabella just wanted to be with her mommy. Not that she would immediately cease all tears, it's just that she would not scream as loud when in my arms. In other words, she would wake up our immediate neighbors, rather than the entire block of residents. At least I was able to provide her with some comfort, because she did not seem to find much comfort elsewhere. Teething rings fresh from the refrigerator? Nope. Teething biscuits? No thanks. I would walk around with Isabella trying to calm her down and cease the crying. Sometimes I would sing made-up songs to her in my most calming voice. Sometimes my singing would make her cry. And sometimes I even thought I heard a dog or two howl in chorus.
The nights were long, tiring and rough. The pain was worse at night, but still persistent during the day. When the sun was up, Isabella was still fussy, but a lot easier to placate. Refrigerated teething rings still did not work for my daughter. In fact, I think the chill just irritated her, adding insult to injury. What did help pacify my drooling little one was Teething Bling. I do not normally plug products in my blog, but I fell in love with the pendant and bangle that I purchased for myself for Mother's Day. Teething Bling is jewelry that is safe for moms to wear and for babies to gnaw on. Oh, and did I mention that many celeb moms have been spotted with it? Yeah, I'm cool like that, too. My daughter loved to chomp down on my bling and was so preoccupied with the jewelry that the tears dried up and she even seemed to forget she was in pain. And since my daughter claims everything that I thought was mine, she could safely steal my bracelet from me without any worry that she would get hurt or break it. My husband used to roll his eyes when he would spot me decked out in my teething jewelry. But when he realized that it would soothe Isabella, he would start to ask me where my "bling-thing" was.
But then again, once the day was over, the night crept up with it's own little bag of tricks - like sore, swollen gums and sharp cutting baby teeth. There are so many symptoms that could be teething, or might not be. Talk about confusing for a first-time parent. We were never sure if teething was the culprit for the fever, or the ear-pulling, or the overall crankiness.
I would like to say the days of teething, and subsequently no slumber, are over. Considering babies develop twenty primary teeth and my daughter has only four of them, it's pretty safe to say that I shouldn't retire my Teething Bling, Tylenol and Orajel just yet. The sleep that I am enjoying now is just the prelude to the continuation of the cruel joke that is teething.