Monday, December 10, 2012

Tantrums and Teeth

I hate tantrums.

I hate them so much that I want to throw myself on the floor, kicking and screaming, and have a tantrum over them, myself.

I hate to sound like a complainer. I am thankful, after all, that my daughter's tantrums are non-violent and relatively non-destructive; are the product of a happy, healthy, intelligent, well-adjusted toddler; and that they are, after all, just part of a phase. A phase that will seem diminutive and insignificant in the grand scheme of her bright future.

However, it's hard to hang on to that thankfulness in the moment. It's hard, in fact, to hang on to any rational thought at all.

Especially when said tantrums make my dinnertime look something like this:

First, she wanted cheese on her risotto, but we offered her the wrong kind (after all, there was also cheese in the Palak Paneer- maybe that's what she meant), or she just didn't "get" that the little shavings of Parmesan that we offered were, indeed, the ideal way to ingest that kind of cheese; that you couldn't simply take bites off of the block.

Then, she wanted seltzer water, rather than regular water (she'd already downed two sippies of milk during dinner preparation, so we cut her off from that). But seltzer water isn't the best combination to offer with foods that have a bit of spice to them, like Palak Paneer. It makes the burn more palpable.

Next, she wanted to watch a Christmas video, which we had to explain was inappropriate to do during dinnertime.

But mostly, she was overtired (we had dinner a little too close to bedtime), a little emotional, and a lot (I suspect) uncomfortable. So, she didn't always need a reason. And didn't always state one.

You can see by the way that she's contorting her mouth while she screams, in the pictures below, that something's going on in there.

That's my conclusion, anyway, founded on the above evidence, along with the observations I've made for weeks now of her constant need to chew on everything, especially her hands, and her very recent attempts to keep a binky in her mouth 24-7 (she keeps stealing Michael's) if I will let her. I'm always conflicted when I finally make a move to confiscate it from her. Clearly, it's providing some amount of comfort, but I'm uncomfortable with humoring such a strong dependency when she's over two years old, and needs to be using her mouth for things like speaking. Though, to be fair, she is quite advanced in that area already.

I've tried several times to look inside of her mouth, but all I can see so far is the tiniest bit of white gleaming through on the lower-right side. Still, if there's one thing I've learned about teething, it's that most of the worst of it takes place unseen. And she's due for those two-year molars right about now.

It was hard to think, let alone digest, in all of the ruckus, and I must admit that I required a two-minute time-out in the living room for my own sanity. Tom was stoic and strong, however, and kept his head through the whole ordeal. Bless him. By some miracle, I don't think we've (yet) hit our personal breaking points at the same time, and that's been a lifesaver, I must say.

But then, suddenly, the dark clouds lifted, and Abby began to sing.  "If you're happy and you know it, hug your friend..."

I took that picture, and then decided that her performance was better suited for video.

Oh, Abby. Sometimes I want to ask you, "Why not more of the cute?" But then, if you were like that all the time, I might just overdose on all of the cuteness at some point, no?

Thankfully, Michael was Mr. Happy Baby through the whole thing, despite the fact that he boycotted his afternoon nap. He's got lots to be happy about, though, finally. We had another puke-free day, and I was even brave enough to let him start munching on solids again, like rice chex and risotto, and he was all too eager for the opportunity. We even worked up to 5 oz. bottles by the end of the day, and will hopefully be back up to our usual six-ounce servings by tomorrow.

Best of all, that Big Meanie Tooth has finally ended its reign of terror. It did not bust through without a fight, however, and managed to pull some gum tissue down with it, if you can believe it. On the second or third day of its long-awaited appearance (Sunday), there seemed to be a half-tooth half-gum growth poking out from the top of his mouth that turned into a little blood blister, and then finally broke open to reveal a tooth-edge beneath.

If you're into that kind of thing, you can see the blister upon very close inspection. It's hard to make out because it is dark, like the background of his mouth.

Amazingly, as icky as it looked, it did not appear to bother Michael at all, and within hours of taking the above picture, the gruesomeness had disappeared completely.

Check out that winning smile (this was tonight)!

So, it seems we've gone from one teething trial to another, and we'll rotate back again before too long, I'm sure.

But I'll take the good days (and moments) when I can get them, and try to hold on to them in my heart when I cannot.

Easier said than done though, right?