Tag Archives: tired

5 Ways Teething is Like Labor

Thus far, as a parent, I have never felt as helpless as when Dragonling started teething. All I could do was stand by and watch with feeble attempts at pain relief thrown in for good measure. I’ve never wanted to take away someone’s pain as much as during that time.

I think this may be how my husband felt when I was in labor and all he could do was be there for support, he couldn’t fix it and he couldn’t speed up the process.

I didn’t expect to be comparing the two situations 7 months down the road, but here I am. Teething and labor are a like in a few ways.

#1 – You don’t know when it’s going to start.

With teething, as with labor, no one knows exactly when it is going to start.  Doctors and other informed persons can give you a general timeline, but even experts cannot give you an exact start time.

This can cause a lot of stress for some people. You know… the type A kind. The ones who like to schedule their life. Completely.

Labor is a little easier to pin down, 9 months is pretty standard, but even then there are exceptions to the norm and, unless, you’re being induced or having a scheduled c-section you don’t know when it’s going to happen.

Teething is not quite so predictable.

According to BabyCenter.com, most babies get their first tooth when they are between 4 and 7 months old. That’s a pretty big time span. They then go on to say that some babies are late bloomers and could have to wait until after a year old to pop their first tooth. Still others, although quite rare, are born with a tooth!

#2 – You don’t know how long it will last.

For some women, labor is a very short, fast endeavor and for some it can last a few days. Teething is similar in that sometimes the tooth comes in days and sometimes it can take much, much longer.

Dragonling has been teething, off and on, for about 4 months with nothing to show.

This means that for 4 months no one has slept more than 3 hours at a time, we’re all a little (or a lot) crabby, and Momma and Papa are running out of methods for pain management that works. Which brings us to number three.

#3 – Pain management isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When a woman is in labor there are many different options for pain management. Some prefer to go all natural (no drugs), some want to be signed up for an epidural the moment they find out they’re pregnant, and there is a whole spectrum between the two. Even after choosing the type of pain management you want, there is no guarantee it will work.

That’s pretty much how teething works too.

Some parents want all natural pain relief. Some are all for dosing their child with pain medicine so that they are as comfortable as possible. And then there are a whole lot of us trying to find a workable balance between the two.

Since Dragonling started teething so early we only had one medicine option, acetaminophen, which we used sparingly.  Because our medical options were limited I went on a search for other methods we could employ at home. Some of the things we’ve tried include: teething toys, cold/frozen wash cloth, clove oil, teething gel (not Orajel), and teething tablets.

#4 – Everyone’s experience is different.

Try asking a room full of women what labor was like. None of them will give the exact same answer.

Then, try asking a room full of parents what teething was like for their children. Same problem.

Plus, not only will the answers be different they will vary by pregnancy and by child, respectively.

#5 – After it’s over you forget how bad it really was.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that women forget how bad labor was after they have children. (Yay hormones!) I mean, we’d have to forget or the human race would cease to exist, right?

I think the same must be true of teething because otherwise people would only have one child. I can’t completely attest to this point because we’re still in the throes of the worst, but it has to be true. (Please someone tell me it’s true…)





In the First Six Months, I Have Learned…

One week ago marked six months of motherhood. Six glorious, sleep-deprived, challenging, beautiful months.

In the months of pregnancy people give you lots of advice, whether you want it or not. During that time, you take it all in stride and try to remember the big things while your pregnancy brain is trying to remember to put pants on before you leave for work.

Seriously, some days it was a miracle I got out the door fully clothed.

In the first six months of Drangonling’s life I have learned a plethora of things about myself, about parenting, and about children.

I have learned that despite my track record as a champion procrastinator, resulting in many nights of very little or no sleep in high school and college, I had NO IDEA what tired actually was.  In the first two weeks of Dragonling’s life, I very quickly learned that my previous understanding of exhausted would become my daily norm.  I now reserve “exhausted” for special occasions when I get less than 3 hours of sleep multiple days in a row.

I have learned that it is possible to function during the day without having completed a single REM cycle during the previous night. Not fun, but possible.

I have learned the art of napping during the day. Before Dragonling, I was always someone who rarely napped because when I did it ended up being three hours and I always had things I needed to do. I reserved naps for when I  had nothing that had to be done the rest of the day and when I was sick. Now, I’m just grateful for a few minutes of sleep when I can get them. These day naps are still irritating to me because I usually wake up feeling less rested than before but I still usually take them when I get a chance.

I have learned housework will always come second to baby snuggles.  A sink piled full of dishes, four loads of laundry to fold, and a vacuum collecting dust in the corner are just a few of the sights readily available to visitors in my home. I know as soon as we pass the ‘crawling’ milestone that vacuum will be used almost everyday, I wouldn’t want to wear it out too soon.

I have learned that you will have more beds/chairs for your child than you will for the rest of the family combined. I won’t even start counting the toys, how can one tiny person can amass so many things in such a short amount of time is amazing. Especially since they are just as happy playing with a pair of bright socks as a cute stuff toy that makes noise.

I have learned that my child’s bodily functions will be a regular part of at least one conversation my husband I have every day. Having a child will cure you of most discomfort about such topics. After six months, we could (and probably have) had such conversations while eating and not even bat an eye.

I have learned that cloth diapers really do contain the poo better. I find myself saying, after a blow out in a disposable, “If she had been in cloth that wouldn’t have happened.”

I have learned that lots of people think it’s weird that I use cloth diapers. I’m not exactly sure why they have this reaction. Cloth diapers have been around longer than disposables. Plus, with the trend towards sustainable living I’m surprised more people don’t use them. I don’t use cloth all the time but I definitely prefer it.

I have learned how to distinguish what my daughter needs by the sound of her cry. I know that is supposed to happen, but those first few weeks I was sure I would never figure it out. In those first few weeks all the cries sound the same, “Why aren’t you fixing this, you’re supposed to be the one to make it better!” Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a baby crying when you don’t know how to make it better.

I have learned that the sharpest object in the known universe are the slightly-too-long fingernails of an infant. They can peel your face off in mere seconds of tiny rage if her hands are too close to your cheek.

I have learned that fastening a snap, popping knees, squeaky floor boards, and refastening a nursing bra are all causes to wake the Dragonling. However, two cats racing through the house at top speed will not even cause a change in breathing. I will never understand…

The most important thing I have learned in the last six months is that nobody has all the answers. It doesn’t matter if they have one kid or seven, each one is different and will require a different tactic for each step of their development. They will still be happy to tell you what worked for them, even if you didn’t ask, but it does help to ask questions. Every parent has gone through the same major developmental stages, the details may be different but the big picture is generally the same. You never know who will have the right solution for you, maybe no one and then you’ll have to make your own solution but at least you are reaching out when there is the need.

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