At my son Dylan’s three-month doctor visit, we were told that he was “teething.” The doctor told us that symptoms may include drooling, drool rashes, night-waking, diaper rashes, diarrhea, crankiness, bulging gums, biting, coughing and fever. My husband and I looked at each other. Teething? It seemed like a biblical plague. Over the weeks that followed, Dylan began to exhibit some of these signs. The most noticeable was the crankiness and then, without warning, the dreaded night-waking. Now the real question was, “how long before he cuts a tooth.” We suffered through weeks of this behavior and then, as quickly as it had started, it stopped. There was one thing missing though…the tooth. After all that terror, nothing had sprouted out of his bulging little gums.
The symptoms have come and gone for months now. He is now nine months old and guess what…still no teeth. For the last six months, we have blamed every slightly high temperature, every weird poop, every rash and all that crankiness (oh the humanity…the crankiness!) on teething and yet the boy remains toothless.
I know that the strange and mysterious process of teething is different for every child and there is no timeline, but come on! Everyone keeps telling me, “you’ll know when he’s about to cut a tooth. It gets really bad and then it’s fine once the tooth finally comes in.” We have thought he was “about to cut a tooth” for months now. I stick my finger in his mouth all the time, and I feel the same little lump that’s been there for months, but nada.
The other thing about teething, like many other baby-related issues, is that everyone has their own teething remedy and is happy to tell you about it. I’m not talking about people I know that I ask for advice. If you are a new mom or dad, you know what I’m talking about — gratuitous unsolicited advice from strangers. I’ve had multiple people come up to me randomly and give me advice on the subject. Some old lady in the grocery store spotted him chewing on my hand, and informed me that, “that boy is definitely teething.” She went on to suggest that I shouldn’t let him chew on my hand, and the ONLY thing that would work was a wet rag covered in sugar (I’m pretty sure she called it a “sugar teet”). Um, give my son, who is already (quite literally) trying to climb the walls sugar…no thanks. Another old-school remedy is whiskey on the gums. I can’t say I don’t like this idea though. My dad did it to me and I have a healthy love for all that is scotch and whiskey to this day. Well, I guess I could see how maybe that could be a problem…Anyway, my husband is opposed to this method, so we’ve stuck to cold teething rings and our beloved Sophie the Giraffe.
For now, we live in fear that he will start the night-waking again and that the crankiness will amp up even more. I guess we’ll never know exactly when he will cut that first tooth. All we can do is wait (and seriously consider loading him–or ourselves–up on sugar and alcohol). One valuable thing we have learned along the way is that teething ain’t no joke.