day breaks blue


my son cut his first teeth saturday night (i know, i expected them to come singly too). it was a tremendous relief. and before any naysayers have a chance to argue, let me assert that the teeth did just appear over night - i swear to you, they WERE NOT there before bed.

last week was awful for my husband and i, who took turns bearing the grunt of waking up to the escalating siren of our son's cry in the next room.  (i deliberately chose to botch that idiom, by the way.)  i have to say though, it was quite artful the way one of us would relieve the other in complete silence; like we had rehearsed the choreography a thousand times. by the end of the week, our dance was impeccable - though we were not as compassionate, handing baby off with an indignant flash to the reliever. really? you couldn't have come thrity minutes ago when i guarantee you were NOT sleeping through all this? (consciousness is harsh to a tired mind - it does dreadful things.)

it's all good though, we both survived the week going through an apathetic routine fueled by more coffee than is healthy. anything we emotionally had to give went to the boy while everything else got the dregs. c'est la vie.

anyway, when my mother pointed put the two protruding, white, jagged edges of his bottom front teeth yesterday, it was a glorious affirmation - validation for our son's "fussiness" and not a negligence of our parenting. a pair of little ivory trophies for our efforts.

everything is very dramatic to a new mom - maybe for new dads too, but I'm not going to make any assumptions - all i know as a woman is that when you become a mother, you constantly question your actions and instinct because you're terrified of ruining your child. despite five boastful months of having a "good sleeper", last week's regression had me eating my words and ringing my hands. what am I doing wrong? why won't he sleep? should i just let him learn to put himself back to sleep? is he hungry and waking up because the milk isn't lasting him enough to make it through the night? should i bring him in bed or would that form new (bad) habits?

of course, this all way more urgent at 4:30am when your reason is still cozily slumbering under the blankets of your brain. the possibility of getting calls from school in ten years to pick up your bully-kid hinges on the choice you make at that very moment: to sooth or "toughen"? then it all goes out the window just so he'll stop crying and go back to sleep. you want to sprawl, starfish-like accross the bed while i hold on for dear life to the edge of the mattress? deal. but no more crying.

depending on where you stand on whole the nature vs nurture debate, babies are blank canvases. as parents it our challenge to help create masterpieces, which all are, but the works range from having a figurative aesthetic to being forms of abstract expressionism. that is to say, some are more easily understood than others. in either case - and even in my most exhausted state - i look at this boy and think, god, he is beautiful.


Katie F said...

Hang in there! It seemed like my little girl was in pain over teeth for sooo long before they finally broke through! It gets better but it takes a while (:

lucinda smith said...

thanks katie. i've heard that the first teeth are always the most painful. now that we've all been through it once, i'm hoping we'll know how to deal better with the next ones that come in. it's awesome to see those two little teeth in his smile now though! ;)


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