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    Breaking Ground

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    Tyler doesn't cry very much.

    When a person is reading something, in print or on screen, it's difficult to always know what emotion is the author is trying to convey. If you knew Tyler to be a major screamer and crier, and you read that first line, you'd say to yourself, "wow... that Joe is so witty. He's being sarcastic, and I find that to be quite funny." So, let me be clear. Tyler doesn't cry very much. Scouts' honor. Honest Abe. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.

    He's only 5 months old, so his favored form of communication is crying. Luckily for us, he rarely - if ever - cries for no reason. He used to go bonkers when he was hungry, screaming like it was the end of all mankind, and his only chance for survival was some breastmilk within the next nanosecond or two. I wouldn't pass him off to Sarah until he calmed down though. I think it drove Sarah crazy, because it made her sad to hear Tyler cry. As soon as Tyler calmed down, I'd give him right to Sarah for some nursies. I hesitate to call it "tough love", mostly because I absolutely adore the little monster, but I want him to understand that screams will not get rewarded. I'm not sure if Tyler's non-crying demeanor is just a trait of his, or if it's a result of how Sarah and I responded to his screaming. He does get fussy when he's hungry, or tired, or needs changing, or wants attention, or if Delilah has licked his face a little too much. And I have no problem with this. He's been starting his hand/arm gestures recently too. He reaches out for us, he pulls my head close to his when I'm holding him, he hugs Sarah's head when she's snuggling him, he pets Delilah (and sometimes grabs and squeezes her fur and face), and he pushes her away when she's being a pest. It's a fantastic transition, and a sad one. But hand and arm gestures aren't my concern today; screaming is.

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    Tyler's first tooth has just pushed through his gums. His front, bottom, slightly-to-the-left tooth is making its grand entrance to the world. If you look closely at the picture (click to view it larger), you'll see it in there. To say that I'm elated would be an overstatement, and to say that I'm saddened would be a huge understatement. I think it's great that my little baby is growing, but I also think it's the saddest thing in the world that my little baby is growing. It's only been 5 months, and it's only felt like 3 or 4 days. Sarah noticed it a few days ago. His gums were a little swollen, and he's been grumpy with breastfeeding. Last Tuesday, he grabbed my finger and shoved it in his mouth. When he bit down, I felt it!! His first tooth broke through. *sigh*

    As a result, Tyler is screaming. I don't remember what it felt like when I was teething 29.8 years ago, but I'm sure it didn't feel good. He's not screaming because he's unhappy. He's screaming because he's - presumably - in legitimate pain. And THAT is breaking my heart. Thank the heavens above for baby Oragel, or whatever off brand it was that we bought. "Little Teethers" or something like that. I've heard of people rubbing whiskey on a baby's gums to soothe the pain, and I'd be lying if I told you that it never crossed my mind. I've got a couple different flavors to choose from, and contemplated doing a double blind taste test with Tyler, to see if he preferred a Tennessee blend over a Canadian mix. Sarah would send me to the morgue in a body bag if I got Tyler liquored up, so we've got the Benzocain to numb his aching gums instead.

    I'm sad that Tyler's teething, I'm horrified that this is only the first of 20 baby teeth. But the worst is hearing his screams. It makes my heart hurt. It's time to make sure we've got teething rings in the fridge, wet wash cloths in the freezer, and be prepared to do a lot of gum massaging.

    And just as things start to get better, Tyler starts screaming again. I looked into his mouth today, and see that his first tooth's neighbor is breaking ground as well. What was once nothing but a desolate, gummy pasture is quickly turning into a booming subdivision, and all the lots are being purchased at a record rate. One tooth has moved in, and the second has secured its lot. Before I have time to blink, all 20 lots will be purchased and in the building phase. Due to a mortgage crisis in a few more years, those teeth will be evicted, making room for a more permanent residency.


    A Free Man said...

    I promise you that he'll be way more fun as he gets older - crawling, walking, talking - much more fun for Dads than in the immobile stage.

    Sarah said...

    I love your comparisons of teeth to renters. Can't tell that you are married to an (previous) apartment manager????

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