Want to know how I sleep these days? With a sound machine blaring, earplugs shoved so deep they’re touching my brain, and a pillow held so tightly over my head it might smother me. In fact, let me go on the record now and say that if they ever find me dead in the morning from my pillow, my husband didn’t do it. I did. Maybe by accident, maybe because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Take what you ask? Teething.
Uggggh, it’s like the moment you get your kid to sleep through the night, God looks down and says, “Not so fast, suckerrr. Now I’m going to make really dull knives from within in his mouth slowly grow and cut through his sensitive gums.” Think about it. What would it feel like if your tibia started growing longer and longer and out through your skin over a period of months? Not good. Not good at all.
So every night my husband and I have the very same dilemma about what to do.
ME: Should we let him cry it out?
HUSBAND: I think so.
ME: But he’s in pain.
HUSBAND: Then let’s go in.
ME: But then it’ll become a habit.
HUSBAND: So we’ll let him cry it out.
ME: Agggh, make up your mind already.
(Translation: You decide because there’s no good answer and I don’t want to claim responsibility when it doesn’t work)
And then at some point in the middle of the night I start to worry—what if it’s not teething and what if he has an ear infection and if I don’t get him checked the infection spreads from his ear to his brain? I don’t even know if this is possible, but that’s the way I think at four in the morning.
So at 7:59 AM I’m calling the pediatrician because I want the first available appointment. I get through right away. To the answering machine. So I redial and redial until it’s 8:02 and I’m pissed as hell at the receptionist. You opened up two minutes ago, turn the phones over already damn it! And then I finally get through, and what does she do? She puts me on hold. WTF?! My kid is fighting a brain infection! He could die at any minute!
Sixteen minutes later I’m sitting in the exam room with my son who’s still in his pajamas and eating tic tacs because we didn’t have time for breakfast. DSS is probably waiting for me in the waiting room, or as I like to call it, the Ebola train table room.
DOCTOR: Good news, it’s not an ear infection
(Translation: Bad news, you don’t get antibiotics.)
Ahhh shit, back to square one. So tonight I will be debating with my husband whether we should give him Advil or Tylenol before he goes to bed. And then when he’s screaming his head off in the middle of the night, we’ll be debating whether to give him another dose. And then the following night we’ll be debating how many nights in a row can we drug our child. And then the same thing for the rest of the week. Month. Year. Until he gets his two-year molars. Or until I don’t sleep enough and I’m so exhausted that I fall asleep at the steering wheel and crash and die. Whichever comes first.