Our delightful, easy-going baby is rapidly turning into a demanding, clingy toddler! She’s been working on molars for months now. First the left top and bottom, now the right. I think there was a sweet moment of reprieve between the two but it’s hard to remember when she’s asking, no, demanding, to nurse. Again. And again… and again. While her first 8 teeth were noticeable in the amount of drool, mouthing, and occasional need for some Motrin for a few nights, these molars are a completely different story. She’s been doing all of the above, ran a fever a couple of weeks ago, is cranky, clingy, has trouble settling herself at night, and like I already said, constantly needs to nurse.
So I have two choices. I can either resent her for all of the above, or I can empathize. I can look at the giant welt on her lower right gum. The spot where her gum is 3 times its normal size, tender to the touch, and looks about as uncomfortable as anything I’ve ever seen. I can look in her eyes and see the confusion, the desire to nurse and make everything feel all right again. And I can stand over her crib as she settles herself, starts to fall asleep, and then lets out a cry of desperate discomfort, a deep longing for sleep. At which point my hand starts rubbing her back, soothing words come from my lips, and her sweet little body relaxes again.
I can look at her like a little person experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort. And in those moments, I manage to wrap her in my arms, to allow her to nurse for as long as she pleases, and spend half the night next to her crib (or her in my bed). It’s funny how those are also the moments that my mama instinct comes out and I feel fiercely protective of this small being. I can’t help but stare at her deep brown eyes and marvel at the beauties God placed within her. My discomfort falls away as I attempt to comfort her, and we are like one again.
Until a dog barks outside and she runs to the window to bark back at it!