The teething times have begun, folks, so I'm documenting our experience.
Here's what teething today looked like...
I've eaten a quick lunch and just barely started writing some work emails when I hear you wake up crying 35 minutes after you finally put yourself to sleep. I know it's teething because you can usually nap for at least an hour, and I know you're still tired because you normally wake up cooing, smiling like a Cheshire cat.
The tears are streaming down your face and your nose is dripping buckets. You've gotten onto your belly and are just too tired and sad to roll yourself back. Pushed up onto your hands, you lock eyes with me the second I open your door. I decide (for once) to try nursing you back to sleep again. You cry and writhe until you're latched on, then drink quietly and quickly fall asleep in my arms.
This never happens; you haven't taken a nap on me in months. You are a mover and a shaker. Not a snuggler. We've taught you to sleep in your crib and you do it well (except when growing new teeth, apparently). Nursing is my only chance to hold you close while you're relaxed and still, and even then you are ready to rock'n'roll as soon as you finish eating. So I decide to relish this opportunity; you're snuggled up peacefully, getting the rest you need, and your room is cool and dark.
I'm not comfortable as we sit. The thrift store rocking chair we have in your room isn't great for longer than the time it takes to read a few short books. My tailbone is falling asleep and my right arm aches. You weigh at least 17 pounds now and I'm not used to holding you in one position for long periods of time.
I mentally commit to letting you sleep on me until you wake up by yourself. Or until 3pm. Whichever comes first. "I love you but an hour of this holding thing might make me a little crazy," I think.
But then I start to watch you. The flutter of your feathery, dark, mascara-commercial lashes. The twitch of your little hand. The way your eyelids flicker; I wonder what you are dreaming. The purse of your lips and the arch of your s-shaped brows. Tears prick my eyes as I see your face contort with pain or fear or sadness (I'll never know which). But then I almost laugh aloud as your perfect mouth turns into a grin. My heart aches with love.
Eventually you're sleeping deeply. I can feel you relax and your body becomes heavier. I adjust you slightly in an attempt to be more comfortable, but still you rest on my right arm and you're cuddled up close to my chest. My arm is still aching and I'm tired. But so happy. So content.
At 2:58pm your eyes open.
You wiggle to sit up and begin to look around. We make eye contact. You sit quietly on my lap, checking out your room as if you're in it for the first time. Then you start kicking happily, cooing, and smiling like a Cheshire cat.
It's worth it, little one. My aching arm. The emails that never got written. The unfinished load of laundry, still sitting in the washer at 8pm. You're worth it. I thank God for giving me you and for giving me the chance to hold you while you sleep.
Teething today was holding you, feeding you, comforting you, and helping you sleep. Teething today was maddening and confusing and precious and life-giving.