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11:23 a.m. - September 29, 2005
It's Teething Time
Recently, Liz and I were thinking that our life had finally settled down. Katie was still a pill at times (what 3 ½ year old isn’t) but she’s mostly nice and sweet. She doesn’t get up until 7 (when her clock says it’s 7) and at ‘nap’ time she mostly plays in her room quietly until 2 (when her clock says it’s 2).

Kristin has been sleeping through the night, and for the most part has been a really mellow baby. Well, not mellow in the artificial pharmaceutical sense. She’s mellow in the “she doesn’t cry unless she’s hungry, needs changing or is bored, and then that’s easily alleviated” sense. Which for 3 ½ months is pretty spiffy.

And then one day, while I was holding Kristin trying to get a burp out of her, I noticed that my left shoulder was getting, well, damp.

Here comes the drool!

And that means one thing…teething time.

For the past few days, my sweet little Kristin - who now can polish off 8 ounces of formula with no issues and sometimes wants more – who looks at you with those (still) blue eyes like you’re the best thing in the world – who can smile a big smile and laugh at her big sister – has been extra fussy.

And extra drooly.

Now she won’t get teeth for a while, obviously, but the process has already started. There’s something going on inside her gums that is causing all of this.

Teething can be the most difficult part of raising a baby, as just when you think you are over the waking up at odd hours portion of the program, here comes the inconsolable crying baby that you just need to hold and cuddle and take out of the room so the other adult can actually do something in peace.

Katie had her moments when she was teething, but frankly I had forgotten about them.

That is, until Kristin started exhibiting those same traits.

A few times, Katie would go on a crying jag for a couple of hours that was only stopped when there was something in her mouth, and inevitably (because babies do that) whatever was put inside her mouth would fall out – and the cycle would start again.

I’m surprised more parents don’t go insane about this time. You have all kinds of emotions going through your head:

• Concern – you don’t want your sweet one to be uncomfortable.
• Fear – you hope nothing is really wrong, and it’s just teething.
• Resentment – you wonder why YOU are the one dealing with the kid right now! The game’s on!
• Hope – you hope that soon (a minute, an hour, a day) the baby will be calm.
• Wishcasting – you wish you had a nanny (or better yet, an au-pair – ok that would be better for me – Liz has banned any mention of an au-pair in our household, dang!) that could take the kid for an hour while you grab a beer and watch the game.
• Rage – usually the next day, when you find out the most incredible play was made in the World Series, and you missed it. (This was pre-TiVo – now the rage would come in when you couldn’t record the World Series because of all the elaborate season’s passes you have constructed).

See, that’s the recipe for a scrambled brain strew. Pass the biscuits!

But except for a few nights, Katie made it through teething OK. From what I remember of her teething, though, Kristin is leaps and bounds ahead of her in a few categories.

Well, one category. The drool. Kristin is a veritable fountain of that stuff right now.

It’s really funny to see her in her bassinette, with her hand jammed inside her mouth, and her face just glistening with slobber. Well, funny in a cute baby kind of way. If you saw ME like that you’d be marveling on how I could fit my hand in my mouth – and repulsed that I was emulating an obscure and gross John Belushi character from Saturday Night Live.

Usually, you only have to worry about the inevitable spit up and the inevitable accidents that could cause you to have to change clothes. But at this juncture, the drool becomes another weapon that could be lobbed against you.

And because of that, Kristin now goes through three or four outfits a day, at the least. Katie changes clothes like she’s a supermodel, but that’s just because she likes to dress up. Kristin could really care less (well, unless her bottom is all wet) but it’s just soooo sad to see her cute outfits with formula stains and drool all around the neck.

At this stage, some people are afraid to hold babies because they are loaded weapons – a triple threat of liquids. I can sort of see that they don’t want their nice clothes messed up.

But I’m not afraid – no sir. I will feed my baby, burp it, and hold her close over my shoulder. And if there’s some drool, so be it. If I must run an errand, I will walk in with that badge of honor on my shoulder. Because that’s how I roll! Step off, man with a 3 ½ month old coming through…


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