N has almost all her teeth now. But these last four have been brutal.
Through almost all of teething she maintained a sunny disposition. Not so for this final stretch. I’m startled awake at midnight, and one a.m., and two a.m., and three a.m., etc., when she flails, kicks me in the neck, and launches into night-terror screaming. She walks around all day with her hand crammed into her mouth, steadily gnawing, covering herself with slime.
And naps became more difficult. Instead of lying down placidly to sleep after a single book (current favorites: Old Hat New Hat and The Skunk), she’ll yell, demand a snack, another book, more time spent playing, anything to make the hurting stop.
I force her to sleep anyway. I figure, if she doesn’t sleep, she’ll just end up with a headache on top of the constant jaw ache from having blunt calcified lumps steadily pushing through her flesh. But we’ve had to change our routine — I used to read one book to her, lay her down beside me, then read a book of my own after she closed her eyes.
Tooth pain means that’s not enough.
She sleeps on top of me now. I wrap my arms around her, she sets her head on my chest, I breath loudly and try to slow my heart rate. I can’t even read because the sound of turning pages would make her suddenly rear up and demand to look at the book with me (I don’t think she would enjoy Primo Levi’s The Truce). Instead I close my eyes and pretend to sleep (luckily my own exhaustion makes “pretending” easy).
One day recently, she lifted her head to tell me that my heart was talking. “What does it say?” I asked her.
“Ribbit. Ribbit. Ribbit.”