Little white pearls of misery.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Her teeth are adorable, and I hate them.

She grins now, and all four five six of them burst out of her smile like little happy marshmallows. She puts Cheerios into her mouth with gusto, happily busting each one into pieces with a loud crunch via her four front choppers. She chews seriously on an apple slice and actually makes progress, pulverizing it in record time.

I am so proud of those little teeth. (I need to start brushing those little teeth. Note: buy baby toothbrush. Do they stock those in Toothbrushes or in Baby Gear?) However, those teeth cause me grief, and not just in Toothbrush Momguilt.

Those Gerber "teething biscuits" only earn me a few minutes of kitchen work instead of half an hour like they did last month. She sometimes appears to be chewing studiously on the wooden end table with her top teeth, and I'm pretty sure that could be doing some kind of damage to my mom's furniture. (Don't look closely, and you don't know and don't have to confess.) She can now bite the snot out of my fingers when I'm feeling for new teeth or applying the blessed Walgreens-brand Orajel Knockoff to help her get back to sleep at night.

But more than my fingers, my conscience, or any other part of me, my nipples take issue with this sudden appearance of her pearly whites. Particularly those front four.

I decided long ago that I was going to breastfeed Bird past the one year minimum recommended by the Pediatrics Association. It's so good for her, I thought. So simple and pure and inexpensive and good for my body and hers. Who wouldn't do this if they could?

And besides, it was lovely. Bird snuggled up to my chest, fingers fluttering around my breasts and shoulders and jawline like little butterflies as she ate. The feel of her body relaxing as I gave her what she needed, straight from me (without bottles and sterilizing and heating and shaking and stirring). Watching her fall asleep in my arms, completely sated and at peace. Lovely, I tell you.

My doctor plowed along doggedly at her nine-month appointment, handing me papers about Weaning and generally implying that Everyone, Everyone Weans At One Year. I smiled thinly and mentally sniffed and plotted our rebellion. We'd go fourteen months AT LEAST, I thought.

But of late, nursing has become a pit stop in the great race of Bird's day. Let's get this over with, quick, because there are toys on the floor and power cords along the walls and Cheerios in the kitchen and a dog who needs to be harassed and books and windows to look out of and musical buttons to be pushed overandoverandoverandover again, and what exactly was it that I was supposed to be doing? Oh, yeah, drinking milk. Right.

And about then, after she's barely settled down for two minutes of suck-gulping, the teeth kick in. A micropause in her eating warns me and gives me just enough time to get my finger headed toward her mouth to break the chomp. Her tongue slides out of the way, and pow. Momma jumps through the roof every time. So far, Momma's still managing to insert finger, remove the maligned nipple, and not drop the child who has caused this unjust agony.

For a few days, I tried thumping her on the head to try and dissuade her. Her brow would wrinkle in confusion. Then she'd flinch as she bit, anticipating the thump. Then she started to laugh as the thumping followed, delighting in the cause-and-effect. Obviously, this wasn't working. I'm not willing to inflict anything more painful than the thump-- it was hard enough as it was for me to try just that.

So now, we have a two-bite rule. One bite, Bird gets a stern warning. Two bites,and the boob goes byebye. You bite each boob twice, and your meal is over.

It's not really helping. Either it doesn't compute, or she doesn't care enough about the milk anymore to give up the joys of Momchomping. I know she has no concept of how she's hurting me, but still-- it hurts me, both physically and (a bit irrationally) emotionally.

One month until she can safely drink cow's milk. My boobs are counting the hours, but I'm mourning the loss of my peaceful snuggle-feedings.

Damn teeth.


mysticalfeet Says:

10:17 PM

Hooray! You're posting! The teeth sound like agony, to me. I know people who nurse their kids well into the 2's and 3's, but have no clue how they do it, beyond always being a the child's disposal...sounds like being a milk machine to me...

How are you finding life back in the old home place? Your autumn must be gorgeous!

Angie Says:

6:38 PM

Yeah! I'm glad that I have another blog to visit.

I ended up weaning Ashlyn earlier than I had planned (we were done about 2 1/2 weeks before her first birthday) because I had medical problems that forced the issue. Once it was done, though, the thought of still nursing her kind of creeped me out. It was definitely not the nice bonding time toward the end.

KimS Says:

11:07 PM

The situation with the teeth has actually dramatically improved-- maybe she decided that she did want to drink her milk after all. I still get nipped occasionally, but not chomped. Whew.

Glad you found me, "mysticalfeet"! Can I address you by your real name, or are you preferring to remain anonymous on blogger? Yes, autumn is rapidly becoming amazing. I'm planning hiking and photography, and I promise to share here.

Angie, glad you found me! I just got started here. Yep, it's definitely not as nice of a bonding time anymore. In fact, I feel more like a fueling station than her momma lately. Still, though, it's good for her, and without further problems I'll probably continue for a bit longer.

Thanks for coming by, you two!!

Susie Says:

4:30 AM

Hi, Kim, thanks for visiting me :) I nursed my daughter for 16 months, but by the end, it was very much as you describe -- she just had more interesting things to do. So she decided when we would stop. I kept the before-bed nursing for a while, that was the last to go. As for the biting, I think I shrieked loudly, scaring the heck out of her, and that stopped it. Sounds like this is all working out for you :)

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