Yes, we're back on the subject of teething. Teething has, without a doubt, been the most challenging aspect of parenting for me. We had a short reprise from teething and it was heaven. Xander began sleeping 11.5 hours through the night and taking 1.5 hour naps every day. He was a happy, carefree baby turned toddler. Never a fuss, always a smile. Laughing, playing, loving. Like I said, heaven. Then, overnight, the demise of the evil tooth returned.
It is what I quickly dubbed as "Molar Hell." He stopped napping for more than 45 minutes and wants to be nursed to sleep for naps and bedtime. He wakes every 2-3 hours at night wanting to nurse for hours and is unable to go back to sleep on his own. He has tantrums when I put him in his highchair or car seat or wants to be held for hours. He pulls my shirt down and cries to nurse far more frequently than ever before. I know my sweet loving baby is in there, but now there's a fussy toddler in the mix whom I've never before met! I sing to him, tickle him, play with him, let him nurse as often as he wants and try to keep him as happy and content as possible. I know what it's like to be in pain and it's no walk in the park, so I can truly empathize with my sweet boy.
Xander has always been a terrible teether. Whenever he cuts a tooth there are inevitably a plethora of sleepless nights. But these molars are a different breed. Normally after nursing he happily goes back to sleep. Not with molars. Not even with Advil, Motrin, Orajel, Camilia, Hyland's teething tabs, frozen binkys, frozen teethers or Mama sleeping in the crib (yes, I actually crawled in the crib with him one desperate morning at 4am). Not even with five hours of boob. Not even in bed with Mommy and Daddy. Not even in the glider with Daddy. For most of Xander's babyhood I'd done the night shifts alone figuring there wasn't much my hubby could do since I'm nursing. I felt bad for hubby that he had to work all day and wanted him to get a full nights sleep. No more feeling bad. I made sure he felt bad for Xander and me! After all, constant sleep deprivation is a form of torture!
After ten days of Hand, Foot and Mouth virus, six days of a nasty cold, six weeks of Molar Hell with three popping through, a three week reprieve and then back on for three more weeks I'm spent. I have aged five years in three months. I have bags under my eyes the size of Texas. I honestly don't remember it being this hard as a newborn. As a newborn Xander would sleep, nurse, poop and cuddle. And I got to rest in between. As a super active toddler with toddler teething problems he runs around all day and doesn't want to sleep at night so there is no time for rest. Mostly we've just ended up bringing him into bed whereupon he latches on to the boob for the remainder of the night. We have reverted to the days of co-sleeping and in the mode of "whatever works." Recently however, he refuses to sleep in bed and just wants to talk and move around. So I go back to the nursery and sleep in the glider with him. Not the best thing for my back and neck. I have grown to dread the glider.
Now the last molar and the first canine are simultaneously cutting through. Every tooth is a 3-6 week process of no sleeping and fussy baby time. My poor sweet boy is hurting. Though I've been told it would be far easier on me if I weren't still nursing and could have my husband soothe him too, Xander really relies on it and I feel as though it's a blessing for us. If I can make him more comfortable why not?
Through the rough patches I attempt to adopt a new lifestyle out of necessity. This is teaching me that sitting at my desk is a thing of the past. Blogging is far and few between. Painting is a luxury. Getting into bed with my laptop and an ice pack after Xander goes to bed is more in line with my current routine. I'm realizing I'm so damn tired that social plans feel like more of an obligation than a luxury. Bed, a book or my remote is truly all I want by the time 8pm rolls around. I'm realizing the smallest things can seem hard with a severe lack of sleep, like looking decent when leaving your house or washing your hair more than every three days. You know things are bad when you're too tired to get a pedicure! :) My how life changes when you have a teething toddler!! However, obligations persist and especially during the holidays plans and events are inevitable. So, I've accepted being and looking tired and having a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day all over again and muster the energy to be cheery and bright eyed for my baby in need. I am his world and I have fleeting magical mommy powers to help him feel better. I know that these amazing magical mommy powers, and his treacherous teething, won't last forever so regardless of how exhausted I am I must accept this as a passage of time and a rite of motherhood.
I'm looking forward to molar hell being over very soon so I can get back my happy go lucky precious boy and my, well...zest for life. Until then, Xander can have as much Bibi/boob as he wants and I will be here to soothe him. After all, though it's hard being a sleep deprived forty year old mama with neck problems it's also hard being a one year old baby whose swollen gums are being cut open by sharp knife like pearly whites. It aint easy being a baby, but thank God for breastfeeding!