It never fails. Simon will start to be fussy, then really fussy, and then four-letter-word fussy. I initially think he's just having a bad day, then I wonder if I have crushed his spirit with my neurotic ways, and then I doubt the existence of God. At some point during this three-day cycle maybe it occurs to me to check for fever or new teeth or both. Unfortunately, I am usually too wrapped up in worrying about poor Simon's disintegrating psyche to think of something as prosaic as a tooth.
This has happened 8 times. And yesterday, we completed the ninth cycle. Simon's fussiness started on Saturday when he screamed all through breakfast. And lunch. And then dinner. That was a really fun day. He nursed a lot more, which is mostly great, except I am now only nursing on one side (the right) so it's all a little sore these days. Sunday Simon was amping up his cries and misery. Everything seemed to make him seize up with apoplectic, wild-eyed cries. Maybe I stuck my finger in his mouth looking for a culprit, but he wasn't really sending me vibes that he would welcome my digits in his little mouth.
Finally, yesterday after more of the same I stuck my finger in my mouth with purpose: I am looking for the source of the pain. I found it. Dear Simon is getting his incisor, and he's not happy. He's still spending 95% of his waking time screaming at all of us to make the pain stop, but now that I know it's a tooth, I can take it. About 15 minutes after finding the tooth, I realized I was in the greatest mood in days. I found myself feeling buoyant and optimistic for more than 2 minutes at a time. I literally stopped what I was doing in the kitchen (cooking, believe it or not) and had to remind myself that I didn't win a shopping spree at Nordstroms or win a guest spot on Dancing With the Stars. No, I just found out the source of my son's agony (and mine, to be honest) and was basking in the knowledge that it was all temporary. He would, soon enough, go back to sleeping peacefully, smiling all the time and enjoying his meals.
On some level I must know that these little episodes won't last forever. Right? I am not stupid or amnesiac. But, so much of parenting is flying blind that it's so nice to get some proof-- I could see and feel the white tip of Simon's tooth-- that the unpleasant spell will truly come and go. I wish I didn't need the "ocular proof" but I do. So while teething sucks for everyone, especially Simon, it does have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Plus, more teeth means he's this much closer to eating real food and leaving that disgusting, gelatinous baby food where it belongs: on the baby food aisle in the grocery store.