The Brat was always a bad teether. My old blog was full of stories of painful teething. My pain while he teethed, that is. He’d get fever, cry, whine, puke, refuse to eat and I’d be exhausted and sleepless and cranky by the end of it. Let me start with the first tooth. He was four months old and we were visiting this man’s wife Tina(what? he was incidental to the visit) when the good natured, gurgly Brat began to throw up wildly and his temperature began to rise. He’s teething, I said to Tina, who not knowing much about babies in those days, went with my diagnosis. Anyway, we needed a pediatrician and she found us one and we rushed to him.
The man told me that the Brat had put something dirty in his mouth. Considering the Brat had been entirely breastfed since the day he was born, that threw serious doubts on my err… personal hygiene. I told the pediatrician that family history is vitally important in such matters and my brother, the mad sibling, aka Tambi also teethed at a mere three months. The Brat was born without a soft spot, the bones having knitted together in utero. Basically we have a lot of calcium in the family (except, clearly, around my knee region). Anyhow, after telling me that young mothers who read too many baby books and surf the internet are a menace to the medical community he sent me on my way with a prescription that was a druggist’s dream.
I did what any young mother does in a dilemma – I called my mum. And she agreed that it sounded like teething, to hell with the dear doctor. So to hell with the doctor it was. I went with the my gut and fed the Brat, steeling myself to the puking and crying. Sure enough, on the train home, we opened the Brat’s mouth and his first little tooth had cut and was shining through the gum. The OA who until then had carefully avoided commenting on my disobeying the doctor and insisting that my family did things in its own way was rather grateful that I was right for once. And I, was just grateful that the trauma had come to an end.
Oh, I didn’t realise what lay ahead – nursing a four month old with teeth – I had no option but to suffer the biting. The rest of the teeth were equally traumatic but I knew what to expect and weathered the storm.
The next shocker the Brat gave us was at about 12 months. He spent four days again feverish, puking and crying while the doctor gave us medication for food poisoning. It had been a while since he’d teethed of course and I didn’t remember the last time. This time he produced 4 premolars at one shot and naturally his system didn’t take it very well. Neither did I. I was a wreck by the time we were done with it.
So when at age six his first tooth got shaky, I felt my knees begin to shake too. I knew what lay ahead. Yes, fever, loss of appetite and general crankiness. It’s probably what led to the scene at his birthday as well as the days ahead. The more the tooth wiggled, the crankier my dear son and heir grew. He wouldn’t eat because his tooth was hurting. He wouldn’t smile because his tooth was hurting. He needed to do exactly what he wanted to do else his tooth would ache mysteriously. And it breaks this doting mother’s heart to admit this, but man, he is as much a crybaby in matters of health as every other man. His father thinks the common cold calls for quiet, quarantine and coddling. And I have patience with neither.
And annoying though it was, there was this other side of me that refused to believe that my son was losing his milk teeth. It was too soon. I mean, it was just yesterday that the mite teethed for God’s sake! I lay awake nights wondering what the last bit would be. Would I need to help him yank it out? Would it happen in school? What would he do when it fell out? Who would console him? What would I do with the tooth? Should I wrap it in cotton and put it away with the bit of cord I have preserved? And what amount should the tooth fairy leave him?
I was getting the Bean ready for school when I heard some commotion. The entire family was down on their knees around the bathroom sink, digging in, opening up the elbow joint, all sorts. Apparently fate knowing the fond mother’s crazy need to commemorate took the matter out of my hands. And his tooth fell out while brushing and went down the sink. Instead of the tooth fairy, the sink fairy took it.
I mourned the loss of his tooth – I mean the real loss of it. And then figured it was probably for the best. One less thing for me to get emotional over! And oh, finally an end to the moaning and groaning!