We have entered the teething stage. Also known as The Realms Of Hell.
I thought I'd pretty much got used to everything being my fault and nothing I do being good enough with my five year old who has suddenly sprung the attitude of...well... me, circa 1998.
But he's got nothing on my five month old in this new phase who has developed an even worse attitude of....well...me, circa 2000.
People who are unfamiliar with teething think you have a few days of an upset baby before a cute little milk tooth appears and we're all happy again.
It's not a few days. It's not even weeks. It's fucking months! Months I tell you! Endless days of being screamed at, endless poking at gums in the hope you'll feel one of those pesky Peggy's poking through, and endless disappointment when you feel nothing but a rubbery gum. Again.
In these desperate times I've decided that I need to devise a list of do's and don'ts. A teething survival guide if you will. Something I can flick to in my time of need
A Puzzled Mummy's Teething Survival Guide.
1. DO use alcohol. For centuries women have been using this as a numbing solution for teething. Whiskey is the usual recommendation, however I've found that a bottle of wine or a strong gin usually numbs me sufficiently to the point where teething is just a walk (ok, stumble) in the park.
2. DON'T ask any of your more experienced mum friends if they remember the hell of teething. They won't. The trauma of teething is parallel to child birth. You forget. I forgot once myself. You're likely to get tales of how they woke up one day and their child had a full mouth of teeth without a whimper. If you do mistakenly ask this question, refer back to point 1 and drink gin.
3. DO hold your child at arms length as soon as they've taken a dump. If you don't then prepare yourself for the warm feeling on your leg as their nappy leaks its contents all over their clothes and yours. Teething babies nappies are wet and runny. Hold them at arms length and drink gin.
4. DON'T take offence when your child makes it clear that they fucking despise you. They really don't. Well, maybe they do at the minute. But think how pissed of you would be! Gum ache, choking on your own drool, the shits, and to top it off an unsightly rash round your mouth and glowing red cheeks. If the only thing that cheers them up includes you never leaving the room and simultaneously not making eye contact whilst holding them by an open window, then you're probably best just doing it. Hell hath no fury than a teething baby whose parents can't be controlled sufficiently. Do as they demand and drink gin.
5. DO be cautious when breastfeeding. Your child's irritability and aggressive fist biting can be mistaken for hunger. Or maybe you just think a quick nursing sesh will provide some comfort, like I did yesterday. It was at this point I found out that when in the throes of teething my child fails to recognise the difference between my nipple and a teething ring. Ouch. So much ouch.
But I was fine after a gin.
On a serious note. Do remember they're just a baby. They're your precious little bundle who is struggling to figure out what to do with themselves.
They need you to cuddle them. No they don't.
They need something to bite on, but not that.
They need sleep, but only an hour.
They want to play, but not here.
Refer back to point 1 and drink gin