All weekend long, Avery spent most of the time in a cranky, no-good-for-nothing mood, and his poor mom didn’t get to see much of a happy baby. I’ve come to accept the fussiness from Avery since, as an at-home dad, she is my “co-worker” every day of the week, but it bothers me when she is so cantankerous on the weekends.
I always hope Avery will be in a great mood all weekend long while her Mommy, Kelley, is home from her job and taking over most of the at-home parenting duties from me, but it rarely happens. At least this time, we knew why.
The signs of teething
After reading through a list of symptoms for a certain stage of teething, we quickly confirmed Avery was in a full blown session of sprouting molars. Biting, excessive pooping, very moody, hands in mouth, refusing food, etc. You name it, Avery was doing it.
Most of the signs of teething started showing on Friday, and lasted until, well, they’re still here actually. Damn. But besides the agony of hearing your baby in agony, something happened late Sunday night/early Monday morning: we had a real family bonding experience.
Kelley and I were in the living room when Avery’s cries emanated through the monitor. Sometimes they’re really quick and only happen when she is shifting in her crib, this wasn’t one of those times. I tried to tell Kelley to just let it pass, but she’s too caring of a mother and quickly went to Avery’s aid to nurse her back to sleep. Or so she thought. Instead, Avery nursed some but then wouldn’t have anymore and instead more screaming ensued. Before I made it to the nursery, Kelley appeared in the living room with our poor little girl crying in pain.
We tried to figure out what to do. Turn on the TV? No, too stimulating. Give her homeopathic teething pills? No, too ineffective at this point. Pet the cat? Ohhh, yes, that worked … for a minute. Our attempts were futile so we continued sitting there holding Avery and hoping she’d finally calm down and go back to sleep.
Hoping only gets you far
After taking turns holding her, I suggested we just lay on the rug in the middle of our living room and hope she falls asleep with us or we’ll all join in on the crying fest. We grabbed pillows from the couch and laid down next to each other with Avery to see what she would do.
More crying followed, interspersed with yawns and putting her hands in her mouth. Kelley was taking a beating from Avery’s flailing limbs, so I took over holding our restless baby. Still crying and squirming in my arms, we were at our wit’s end on what else to do, so I just laid flat on my back and had Avery resting on her back on my stomach. I mean, why not, right?
Well, the crying stopped, but every half second she’d turn her head to the left or right and swing her arms around. I felt like it was a lost cause, but then Avery grew silent and her arms hung to the side and head stayed still. She was quiet and almost asleep.
Relief … for us
Kelley and I exchanged glances in disbelief as it happened so suddenly, but we didn’t want to risk testing her. Part of me felt extremely guilty after my dear wife spent so long trying to comfort Avery and after she became so exhausted, she winds up falling asleep on me. But then again, maybe my wife didn’t really want a 20-plus pound baby lying on her chest on the flat, hard ground.
My lower back was in pain and my feet couldn’t stretch all the way out, but there was no way I was messing this up. She was sliding a little, so I slowly turned Avery over on her stomach while still on my chest and secured her as best as I could. Kelley and I, laying side by side on our living room floor, said “I love you” to each other and fell asleep.
Okay, I didn’t sleep much as I had to keep readjusting Avery and my urge to pee was increasing by the minute. Finally, after about an hour and a half, I really had to pee and didn’t see Avery lasting much longer on my chest anyway. Using my Turkish Get-up skills, I stood up with Avery still asleep and laid her in her crib. She hardly budged, poor girl was worn out!
Our bed welcomed Kelley and me as we transferred from the floor, but as uncomfortable as it was, I will always look back on that night and smile. We rarely get to hold Avery to our chest when sleeping like we did almost daily as a newborn, so this rare occasion was a treat. And to think, I didn’t even want my wife going in there in the first place! Thank you, Kelley, for not listening to me!
Do you have any sweet memorable moments during a stressful time? Sweetness aside, how long did teething last for your baby?
A version of this first appears on Going Dad.