I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale
I have been writing this post for a few weeks it seems. Well, technically I wasn’t writing anything down, it was all in my head. But I’ve had the intention of writing this post for weeks, that much I know. I just haven’t had the energy, the inspiration or the desire to actually sit down and get this all out. Tonight my house is quiet, I’ve made myself a cup of chamomile tea and I’m getting to work.
You see, Gigi is starting the teething phase. And while I can’t exactly blame Gigi teething for my lack of posting, it is definitely a contributor. All my energy was going to trying to help her feel better. I tried almost every ‘remedy’ I could find. Tylenol and those dissolving teething pellets didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Out of all the chewy teether thingies I bought her, I’ve narrowed it down to the two she loves the most. Sophie the giraffe is a regular in the rotation obviously. I even ordered her one of those amber necklaces (with a matching bracelet for me of course) in a moment of despair.
I know teething is the tiniest blip on the radar compared to parents who are forced to face really scary and painful circumstances with their babies, and my prayers are with them. I know (hopefully) that teething will be such a short period time in the grand scheme of Gigi’s life. So I hope I don’t come off as dramatic when I say how much teething threw me for a freakin’ loop.
My normally pretty good sleeper, who was on a consistent nap schedule, going to sleep at the same exact time for months and whose cries I could decipher in seconds seemed to change over night. She wasn’t napping, she wasn’t going to bed. She developed this random scream that absolutely broke my heart. And the look of utter frustration on her face when whatever I handed her didn’t make her feel better was devastating.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? What is so mindful about teething?
Well I started this blog with the philosophy that I was learning from the experience of motherhood. During the highs and lows I would ask myself “What can I learn from this?” and was planning on sharing my revelations.
Then came teething, and for the first time in a long time I felt helpless. I tried my best to be present and aware of my reaction to the situation. When I asked myself “What can I learn from this?”, the first thing that popped into my head was patience. But honestly, I didn’t want to be patient. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I didn’t think teething was teaching me ANY lesson. I’m pretty sure being run down and sleep deprived actually gave me the flu two days before my birthday. I decided teething was evil and horrible and I wanted it to go away.
But like they always seem to, the lesson of teething became clear once I completely let go. Gigi wasn’t sleeping. I’d given her every teether, her pacifier. I tried rocking her, having her sit in her vibrating chair, giving her teethers in her vibrating chair. Eventually I just laid her on top of me and let her cry. I was tired and hungry and needed a break from trying to fix everything.
And she cried, boy did she cry. She wailed, part from teething but part from exhaustion I’m sure. I thought to myself, am I not being compassionate enough? Am I a bad mom for being so frustrated by this? And that’s when I felt it. In the midst of all her crying she had wiggled her arms around my body and she squeezed me. I’m not completely crazy I know she wasn’t really hugging me, she’s only five months old. But when I felt her tiny little hands on my ribs, the lesson teething was trying to teach me hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes you just need someone to hold you while you cry.
We’ve all been there. When something is just so awful and gut wrenching we need to be held. I can’t imagine how confusing it must be for her to be in pain, not to mention scary. No matter how many teethers I bought or remedies I tried; that night, the only thing that worked was being held by her mommy.
And I held her for as long as she needed it. She eventually stopped crying turned her head up towards me and gave me a cute little smirk. I can’t remember what happened exactly after that. If she started crying again, or if she eventually went to bed. All I know is I was there for her.
Obviously teething is so frustrating to me because not only is my baby in pain, but her pain is completely out of my control. And I know it is just part of growing up, something she has to go through in life. The more I thought about it I realized there will be so SO many more times where she will feel a pain I cannot fix.
When some one makes fun of her in school.
When she realizes some friendships really aren’t forever.
When she doesn’t get cast in the musical, or make the volleyball team.
The first time she gets her heart-broken.
The second time she gets her heart-broken.
When she experiences the loss of someone she loved.
I promise, I will always be there for her. I will hold her when she cries. I will try my absolute best to make sure she never feels scared and alone. I will never be inconvenienced by her need for me. I pray that when she comes to me I never make her feel irrational, or dramatic, or too sensitive. I hope she will always see me as a safe place to let it all out.
So teething – while I still think you are absolutely horrible, I realize you serve a higher purpose. For that I can be grateful.