Once upon a time, there was a sweet, sweet girl, name Tahra. She was a little girl with a lot of personality, but also with some incredible self control. She would be mad and just walk away, be frustrated and simply ask again and again for what she wanted, without a single fit or scream and would dutifully say please, whenever she was hungry, tired or wanted to nurse. Tahra might try to get away with pressing buttons on mommy’s computer, even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to and fuss a bit now and then when she was eating, but mostly, she had a very happy and tranquil disposition, even when teething kept her up at night or made it hard to eat.
One day, a strange transformation started to happen.. The little sweet girl would be up all night, and instead of calling “Mama”, or crying gently, like she used to, she would scream, a painful frightening sound, that came from places unknown to her mommy. During the day the strange symptoms would also show themselves in mysterious ways.
Much like the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, our beautiful little girl would have sudden moments of screaming at us, angrily, whenever she wanted something. She would fluctuate between the screaming angry baby and the sweet polite girl from minute to minute. She would be angry one moment, then her mommy would hold her tight, tell her she knew she was upset but that she had to ask nicely anyway.
Could this be the beginning of the famous “terrible twos”? Mommy didn’t think so. To her the terrible twos were a name created to explain a series of symptoms caused by a little one’s attempt to communicate or learn the rules of engagement now that they could talk and walk. It would not have showed up overnight.
Then…one fateful night, while brushing the baby girl’s teeth, after noticing she had a runny nose and even a slight fever, it all became clear. When the soft little Pooh Bear toothbrush touched the back of her mouth, the little one cringed in pain and began to cry. Upon investigation, her mommy discovered not one, but 2 molars, piercing through her poor little bunny’s gums.
From then on, mommy reminded herself of a line she read somewhere on the ‘wise’ pages of a classic called Facebook, “Kids aren’t GIVING you a hard time, they are HAVING a hard time”. Trying to put myself in the baby’s shoes was very helpful when choosing how to handle her reactions.
Two weeks went by, when mommy and dada had to deal much more carefully with our sensitive and volatile little one, but then one day, as if foggy thunderous skies were parting to show beautiful blue, sunny skies underneath, our little one woke up with a smile and a giggle, instead of the cranky, serious look she had had the week before. She would still have moments when her hands would be in her mouth and she was less happy, but the worst part had gone by.
Do we wish we had found a magic potion? Certainly. We tried homeopathy, beads, cold toys and fruit, and even some over the counter baby pain killer. The only thing that worked was a lot of patience, kisses when she was cranky and soft food and homemade smoothies for when even that was too hard to eat. Like in the original story, love and care still seem to be the only way to control Mr. Hyde.
How about you? Have you ever faced a scary teething baby transformation? How did you work through it? Any good suggestions (there are two more molars still to erupt)?