Rivers began to live up to his name as early as two months of age. Caring for him was like playing dangerously with a can of silly sting; the drool would inevitably end up all over us, it was just a matter of how much. The constant stream required at least six costume changes daily. That is, before a kind passerby, upon seeing my sticky child and his soaked shirt, introduced me to teething bibs. Basically it’s a wash cloth with a snap. Why didn’t I think of that? I was too busy drowning, I guess.
Due to early onset of waterworks, Jonathan and I were completely convinced we had an early teether. Not only did we wonder how such a little body could produce such an abundance of saliva, but nothing within our son’s grasp was safe from his mouth. Not even the floor-mat! Instead of laying contently and playing with toys or books, Rivers would (and still does) gravitate to the corners, curl up the edges and chomp away happily. Similar to a child’s excitement on Christmas morning, we would run our fingers over his gums in hopes of finding a prize. And every morning he would only produce a goofy grin, gum our knuckles and leave a trail of slim all over our helpless hands. And shoulders. And hair. And faces. So many gooey messes and so many months of anticipation produced nothing but a lesson on patience for two parents. Finally at exactly six months, his first pearly white made its debut!
Despite all the expectation, we didn’t make any teething purchases other than mother-child, matching amber necklaces. I wore mine constantly in the early months of motherhood to deal with nipple pain. Amber releases a natural anti-inflammitory than can sooth the nervous system when worn directly on skin. Proper teething necklaces should be short enough to be worn comfortably, but not able to be chewed. And each bead should be individually knotted to the string to prevent breaking.
I’ve heard a cluster of opinions about the necklaces. Some people swear only by raw, unpolished stones, others say only the light colors work and still others say the amber must be warmed in the sun to jump-start the relieving effects. We use raw baltic amber, but it’s a mahogany tone and has never been in the sun, aside from when it’s in use and we happen to be outdoors. I have no complaints. Originally our son only wore the necklace during the day, but as soon as our sleep schedule became interrupted by whimpers, the amber became a 24/7 accessory. So far, so good and sleeping through the night again.
Of course his tolerance for pain depends on his mood and the time of day. Afternoon and evenings are the toughest, right before nap-time and right before bedtime. This is when the amber is not enough.
By some twist of fate, the farmer’s market has been carrying jumbo carrots and, in the middle of prepping them for baby-food purée I cut a thick slice off the end for Rivers to gnaw. The texture and coolness must have hit the spot. I was so mesmerized by his demeanor, I had to stop what I was doing to watch (and photograph). He, of course, was not at all interrupted. Once the chewing finished, the carrot became the perfect temporary toy and eventually ended up in the compost pile. My favorite baby toy, the recyclable one!
Despite the fact that our son is obsessed with textiles, frozen carrots rule over frozen wet washcloths when it comes to pain relief. Of course I’ll have to figure out something new once the upper pearls arrive and he has the ability to bite off a large piece of carrot. Maybe that’s the day the washcloths will be the go-to. For now, it warms my heart to share anything food-related with him, especially something that hasn’t been cooked and blended to oblivion.
Knock on wood for restful nights.
Knock on wood that the compostable toys are working their magic.
We’ll see what the next stage brings in another month or two or three. So much anticipation.