The period when a baby is teething is a difficult time. It is a time of fussiness, irritability and sleep problems. But, believe it or not, experts disagree on whether this is caused by teething, or whether it’s simply a coincidence. Clearly, I’m no expert (experts get paid a lot of money for their opinions), but I think that, what is essentially a tiny ax blade slowly cutting through tender, nerve-rich gums might cause one to be irritable.
Some have said that, relatively speaking, if we, as adults, had to experience similar pain, we wouldn’t be able to handle it. Such a fundamental change to our physiology would make us like werewolves, and if the movies have taught us anything, it’s that the transformation from human to werewolf is a fairly uncomfortable one. In fact, it makes us so irritable that we mutilate tourists that don’t keep to the path. Just imagine how your baby feels.
During this time, Baby also wants to chew on everything. While once she was exploring the world with her mouth, now she seems to want to destroy it like a meth-addicted beaver.
There are some things you can do, however, to alleviate some of the discomfort that is (coincidentally) occurring when your baby’s first teeth erupt. First, a solid rubber or wood teething ring is good to have. Don’t get the ones that are filled with liquid; if your baby’s bite is freakishly strong, they could rupture.
Baby also might enjoy sucking on a cold washcloth, or you could give him what your parents might have given you: A zwieback cracker. Keep in mind, this was also during the days before things like car seats, outlet covers, and most other safety regulations.
The word “zwieback,” by the way, is German for “twice baked.” Our parents gave us zwieback because, even back in the day, it was frowned upon to make Baby gnaw on a 2×4. Zwieback is the hardest substance known to Man, and can be used as body armor in an emergency.
Zwieback also teaches children that the best way to fight discomfort is with more discomfort. This idea is so popular with Lutherans that they occasionally use zwieback wafers for communion.
Then again, there are some parents that claim that teething didn’t bother their babies at all. If you are one of these parents, you should know that, when you tell this to the rest of us, we despise you.
The most important thing to remember is that, in time, teething will pass, just like when the werewolves went on to live full lives filled with joy and…oh, wait.
Only 19 more to go.