I've never seen teething like this before. I thought he was cranky before with his teeth. I knew nothing. For the past few days, my normally cheerful son has woken up whining. He usually wakes up cooing. When I heard him again this morning, I felt dread settle in my stomach. "How long is this going to continue?", I thought.
I'm pretty sure it's just teeth and not something else. It looks like he's got a nasty premolar coming in. All the classic signs are there. He's drooling, gnawing, grabbing at his ears, tons of clear snot that I wipe all day, a little fever, and... excessive crankiness. He has moments when he's happy, but the ones when he's not are definitely outweighing the ones when he is. We need to buy stock in Motrin.
I consider my life as a parent to be pretty stress free most of the time. Seth is an abnormally laid back child, I think. So when he isn't easy, I don't have tons of experience in what to do. I've been praying a lot this morning. They're mostly lots of bullet prayers. "Please help me to be loving, God." "God, please show me what might help." I need patience and gentleness and kindness and grace in my heart. There is precious little of it there, I think.
I remember when I was pregnant with Seth, and I would watch mothers of toddlers and feel completely panicked. My thought was, "I don't think I can handle this." They looked so patient, and while I watched the minutes creep by as they played ball with a baby, they didn't seem to notice. I have friends who are pregnant with their first now. They look at me the same way I used to look at my friends with toddlers. I see the worried expression.
The good news is that most of the time... you don't start with a toddler! You start with a tiny baby who you don't have to wrestle a diaper on. You start with a baby who snuggles and sleeps. Not enough at night, but they do sleep.
God is very gracious to often allow the parenting stages to move slowly. We get used to one thing, and then slowly, carefully, almost before we notice it, we're used to another, slightly harder, thing. It builds on itself. We don't get thrown into the deep end of the pool most of the time. (Exception: colicky babies and adopted children and probably others I'm not thinking of). As hard as this little stage is now, I'm sure I would've handled it with less patience as a freshly minted mom. Ahh, that makes me feel better. God has equipped me over time to have what I, personally, need to thrive in this situation. I just need to remember it.