Hatred, Thy Name Is Teething

I’m starting to hate teething. I loathe it. I detest it. I wish it would cease and desist. I realize its necessary for sharp, hard objects to push and break through the Monkey’s tender gums, but the misery they induce is just, well … miserable.

I suppose I would dislike it less if teething merely meant the Monkey was irritable. I could handle a little cranky. A little whiney? Not so bad. Nothing some teething tablets, iced binkies, and cold chew rings can’t help.

No, what truly pushes teething into the realm of torture is what it does to the Monkey’s nose: He’s barely been able to breathe for the past two days. He’s sneezing and producing a steady stream of snot and boogers. And he HATES having his nose cleaned. You practically have to hog-tie the kid to the changing pad just to get clear of his hands and feet.

Yes, I said feet. The kid’s got a spine like Gumby and I’ve gotten face fulls of toes the past three nights.

I wish I could say cleaning his nose makes a huge difference. That it makes his nose normal again so he can go crawl around and get into more mischief. But it isn’t true: It helps a little bit, but the kid’s so stuffed up he can barely nurse. And when he does nurse, it sounds like he’s coming up for air after free diving: He guzzles as much as he can before gasping for air, taking in a few lungfuls, before plunging back down for more. Yesterday, when his nose was at his worst, I made him a bottle of formula instead. He didn’t want it until nursing became too tough — then he gulped down 3 oz before finally falling asleep.

The nights are always the worst: Around 1 a.m., he’s jolted awake — unable to breathe through his nose again. I hurry him into the bathroom, put the shower on scalding, and rock him near the open door, letting the steam and mist wash over us. When the warm mist has loosened things up for him, I clean his nose with saline solution and Q-Tips. Then we plunge back into the steam.

You don’t want to see our water bill.

When he’s breathing easier, we return to his room, where a cool-mist, ultrasonic humidifier runs all night. (It DOES help.) We snuggle in our glider, I give him his binkie or I’ll nurse him for a few minutes, since it seems to help clear his nose sometimes. Then I’ll try to put him back in his crib. When his nose is bad, I’ll only try the crib once — or not at all.

We usually end up spending the night in our rocker/recliner, the Monkey reclined in the crook of my arm or against my chest, almost upright, his hands laying on my arm that I wrap around him for safety. I don’t sleep until I can tell he’s not struggling anymore. Then I lean back, pull a comforter over us, and try to sleep.

I usually wake up stiff, and in the same position I fell asleep in. If its a weekend, I’ll hold still until the Monkey wakes up, dozing until he does. If its a work day, I’ll carry him to the changing table and start getting him dressed for the day. Once dressed, he clings to my sweater with both hands, his head resting on my shoulder.

It’s nature’s trick: The cuteness, cuddliness, and snuggles warm your heart and make it impossible to be annoyed with the lack of sleep. Its not his fault.

But I still blame the teeth.

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