A friend of mine would brag about his daughter’s sleep habits. “Claire’s slept through since she was six weeks old,” Bob would say. This turned into “Claire started sleeping through the night when she was six weeks old, but I don’t know what the hell last night was all about.” And eventually it became “Claire slept through the night when she was six weeks old, but this month has been a hot mess.” Now he only talks about sleep in hushed tones with legitimate knocking wood nearby. Speaking with him was like speaking with Jacob Marley, I fear. Only this time, the grave that I see reads “R.I.P. Dustin’s six straight hours of sleep.”
About two weeks ago, I heard moaning coming from the magic swing that puts Mabel to sleep for 10 hours at a time. I looked over to find a set of eyeballs. This was a new development. An hour after the excited little girl was taken from the swing, she fell back asleep. For an hour and a half. Crap. It looks like the honeymoon is over. I could hear Jacob’s chains rattling as he flew out of the bedroom window.
Coincidentally, my sister called the following day and I told her about the night. “Oh. She’s probably started teething.” I looked down at Mabel, who was sitting in her high chair with all her toys and chewing on the tray. Either Mabel was trying to gum her way to freedom or my sister was onto something. This was good news. Teething implies that this is a phase. One that lasts several years, but still just a phase. Like finding out that what you thought was dog poo on somebody’s shoes before a five-hour car ride was really just gas. There was hope that I may sleep again.
So I did what anybody who didn’t read books would do, and I called people who read books. Bronwyn said that their son was only in pain for a couple days at a time. OK. I can get behind that. Keith and Meghan said their two boys never had problems teething. That’s not helpful in any way, but good for you. My sense of panic was tempered a bit.
How to handle this new hurdle? We have some chew toys, but Mabel can’t fit them in her mouth. We also didn’t want to just medicate her because we felt like that would make us bad parents. But we didn’t want to let our pretty little girl suffer because of our parental pride, which would make us worse parents. So we bought this awesome five-pronged teether which she seems to enjoy, but since the pacifier in the eye incident, not much progress has been made with her hand to mouth coordination. So in lieu of holding it her mouth for hours on end which seems unreasonable, we decided we could give her baby Tylenol on a very limited basis when we both agreed, making us about half bad parents. But Jenn and I were never on the same page at the same time. Whenever I had reached my breaking point and thought Mabel had had enough, Jenn wasn’t so sure. And vice versa. So the stars have aligned just once so far. And Mabel spit up the entire dose.
Thankfully, since our brief night of panic, Mabel hasn’t been that bad since. Surely nothing to complain to other parents about. She’s made due chewing on Mr. Giraffe and shoving her fingers violently down her throat. However, the motor in her magic swing just burnt out, so we’re hoping her exhaustion outweighs her pain before ours does.