how to survive teething.

you know how everyone tells you how bad teething is?

they have no idea.

if i could remove one aspect of the child-rearing process (which includes pregnancy and childbirth and the rest of it), it would be teething. i mean, bone cutting through gums of a tiny little baby?? it’s so mean! the only thing i can think to rationalize it is that God put teething during the part of life that a child can’t remember, so they won’t be scarred forever.

amelia started teething really young, around three months old. her first two teeth (the bottom two) were all the way in by the time she was five and half months old, and now, at eight months old, she has six teeth, and is working on the next two in a big way. so we’ve been dealing with some sort of teething pain off and on for the last five months. i’m convinced that if it weren’t for that, and she were teething at a normal rate, she would have slept through the night a while ago, but there is no rest for the weary – or the teething.

all this to say, we’ve tried almost every single remedy out there, and have learned some tricks as to what works for the worst of the teething. i wanted to share them all in one place, because when you are dealing with a 6 month old who hasn’t napped all day because her head hurts, having an easy resource is a lifesaver. feel free to bookmark this and thank me later. fair warning for you sensitive types out there, there is some pretty strong sass coming up later in this post, so just let it wash over you.

teething remedies that have worked for us

1. frozen teether toys: these are the plastic, gel-filled toys that you keep in the freezer or the fridge for the babes to chomp on when their gums hurt. amelia only started to like these once she had her bottom teeth and could grip them better. they’re great for those mild pain days, or when their gums are inflamed and they need just a little relief.

2. mesh teether filled with iceyou can get the mesh “feeders” at target or most baby stores. they are actually for feeding babies softer whole foods, but we love to fill them with ice so amelia can hold them herself and chew on the ice to get some relief. these are great to bring with you places, as it’s usually not too hard to ask for ice when you’re out, and you can use it on the go.

3. washcloth filled with ice chips: i can’t tell you the amount of times i’ve walked circles around my kitchen and living room with amelia in the sling, her head on my shoulder, and me holding a washcloth filled with ice chips in her mouth for her. there is something about the texture of the cloth and the cold crunch of the ice that is magic for teething pain. a bonus is that since babies lose their appetites for both solids and nursing when their mouths hurt, they can get some hydration by sucking the water out of the cloth when the ice melts.

4. orajel: i’ve encountered a lot of people that say that orajel is the devil because of CHEMICALS and MEDICINE and DEATH and DESTRUCTION, but all i will say to that is that those moms are idiots who have never dealt with monster teething pain. orajel is a great way to relieve teething pain without pulling out the big guns. and i dare you to tell me that it’s better for my baby not to sleep than to use orajel. i guess what i’m trying to say is that i trust my pediatrician more than the crazies in mommy groups, and using this before naps and bedtime has been our saving grace during all of this.

5. ibuprofen: see above with the death and destruction of using medicine on your precious bundle of joy. if i were a good mom i would just use essential oils to fix everything, but since i’m just an okay mom, i use the stuff that’s proven by science-y folks to relieve pain. we seem to have an extra sensitive babe on our hands, so tylenol hasn’t really worked for her and we were given the go ahead by her doctor to use ibuprofen. we try our best to use it only at night to help with sleep, although there are days here and there that require it as well.

6. beer: this is not for the baby, this is for you. you will need to crack open a brew to keep you sanity and your spirits up during this time. i’m toasting to the end of this phase as i write this.

teething remedies that haven’t worked for us, but might work for you

1. hyland’s teething tablets: according to everyone and their mom, these are the best ever at soothing teething pain. i really wish they had worked for us. they are homeopathic, so they may or may not be super effective on the serious pain, but they are worth a try to see if they are effective for your baby. edit: there has been some controversy around the safety of homeopathic teething remedies lately. please do your research and only do what you and your doctor feel is best for your baby. 

2. tylenol: like i said above, tylenol only cuts it as a fever reducer in our house. but if it works for relieving teething pain, then give it a try.

3. amber necklacefull disclosure, we have not tried the amber teething necklace, and have no plans to do so. i just haven’t been able to get behind the reasoning for this working, and since i have a child that is busy and into everything all the time, this just isn’t an option for us. that being said, there are plenty of people who swear by these, so do your own research, because it could be a magic wand that i just wasn’t smart enough to use.

if you’re going through this right now, bless you and peace be with you. if you aren’t going through this right now, i’m jealous of you. high fives and hugs to everyone.

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how to lose the baby weight.

i’m going to be honest with you; getting my pre-baby body back has been the furthest thing from my mind these past couple of months. maybe it’s because i’ve been lucky and have been wearing my regular jeans for a while (although not if i can wear leggings instead…), maybe it’s because the idea of doing a true workout makes me stabby, maybe it’s that this little one is more interesting to me than the state of my body, who knows.

what i do know is that taking care of an infant makes it easier to shed those last couple of pounds. i mean, it’s like having a personal trainer who will never let you stop moving and screams at you if you do. i realized this pretty early on, and decided to make it work for my best interest.

here’s my fool-proof plan for losing the baby weight*. new moms, all you’ll need is your newborn and most of your sanity intact. you can thank me later.

1) walk up and down the one flight of stairs in your house fifty times. do this while holding a 10.5 pound baby.

2) wear your 10.5 pound baby in a sling carrier all morning so she sleeps. bonus if you walk around and fold laundry while doing so.

3) breastfeed if you can. you will then understand the meaning of the phrase “sucking the life out of me”. i’m no scientist but i think the calories get sucked out too…

BONUS TIP: if you’re lucky enough to have a gassy/colicky/active baby, spend additional time each day bouncing and swaying your baby to soothe them, preferably when you would be eating a meal or drinking your coffee. less calories ingested, more calories burned!

there you go. this is what’s working for me. just follow my tips for losing the baby weight and you’ll be back in pre-baby shape in no time!

*this plan is neither fool-proof nor is it an actual plan. it’s actually just a description of my daily routine. i hope it didn’t take you this long to pick up on the snark.

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stolen cars and downpours.

i was maybe planning on writing about the decision to work vs. stay home today, but that was far too weighty for me right now. doesn’t that feel too weighty for today? it felt like the immensity of that conversation with myself might crush me if i tried on this specific day. and then also we had the weirdest morning, so i was saved from myself.

on this thursday morning, like most other mornings, i woke up, and did all the normal getting ready things: made coffee, picked on my still sleeping husband, went to the bathroom twice, ate breakfast, packed my lunch (leftover green curry, oh em gosh), and opened the shades on a very gloomy day. it was at that point that i noticed the vehicle parked on our driveway. a silver minivan to be exact. we don’t have a silver minivan. so naturally i was intrigued.

our neighbor is selling their house, so there have been a lot of odd cars parked where they shouldn’t be lately, but this car was parked by our house, not theirs. and there were no lights on in the house, so no one was walking through it. i made Mister Man go outside to investigate, and he found the driver’s side window open, with the door handle hanging off it. someone had stolen a car and dumped it in our driveway. not a great start to our day, and definitely a worse start to someone else’s.

so my husband went to call the police while i RAN to catch the bus. nothing to throw off your schedule like some theft. i got to the corner and waited for the light to change, and then watched my bus drive by without me on it. it then decided to start downpouring. because haven’t you heard? that’s what happens on mornings when you find a stolen car in your driveway and miss your bus by a stoplight.

because we were parked in by this stolen van, i had to trek it home in the rain and thunder and lightning to wait for the next bus to come. i think you can imagine how adorable i looked for work today. soggy is the new chic. by the time i finally made it to work, i was pretty much over today, with 8 hours left to go. always a good way to spend your thursday! hooray! sarcasm!

we eventually found out, when the police arrived, that the stolen minivan belonged to a mom of two young kids, and YOU GUYS. these jerks stole her carseats from the van. as someone who has just been shopping around for things like carseats, strollers and the like, i am upset on her behalf. do you know how expensive car seats are?? i mean, it’s offensive enough that they expire after a number of years, and you can barely reuse them for your own children, but to have someone steal them out of the car they just stole from you? unforgivable! poor lady easily wins the worst day award, my soggy morning doesn’t even compare.

so really, there was no point to this other than to say, why is it not friday yet? and here’s hoping tomorrow morning there aren’t any abandoned things sitting in our driveway.

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can’t write, too busy running to the loo.

i don’t know why i wrote “loo” instead of “restroom”, “bathroom”, or just “too busy having to pee”. “running to the loo” just sounds more refined i guess? less trashy? more british? i wanted this post about pee to sound cute? i don’t know.

[in between bathroom breaks.]

turns out that whole thing about pregnant women having to pee all the time, that’s for real. i found that out real good this week. my already small bladder has shrunk three sizes, the opposite of the grinch’s heart on christmas morning. yesterday i had to go three times before i left for work. today i woke up at 5:00am and never went back to sleep. i just waited for my next trip to the bathroom.

my days now are just comprised of activities that i fit in between bathroom breaks. any outing is either timed so that i can be back home in time for the next one, or planned so that i know with great certainty that there will be facilities available to me to use. i know the location and proximity of the restrooms in every target, menards, home depot, coffee shop & grocery store within a 5 mile radius of home.

be right back.

okay, back. pretty sure i hadn’t consumed any liquid since my last break, so biologically speaking, i’m not sure where my body is even finding anything else to expel from my body. does anyone have the science to explain this to me?

where was i again? oh yea, talking about my tiny pregnant bladder (dad, is this entire blog post making you uncomfortable? if so, just think about all the other terrible things about pregnancy i could have chosen to write about and you should feel better!).

here are the things i can’t do anymore now that my bladder is the size of an acorn:

  • spend more than 20 minutes on the elliptical at the gym
  • act like i’m not having a panic attack in the mall when i can’t find a bathroom
  • make it through my workout dvd without pausing
  • sit through a meeting at work that lasts longer than an hour
  • watch a tv show all the way through
  • sleep through the night

i’m only 23 weeks pregnant, so i know i’m just at the beginning of this stage, and i’ve got a long way to go before it’s over. i’ve even heard that i get to look forward to someone actually KICKING my bladder once they get big enough for that – i’m looking at you baby z., and hear me now, i will not suffer silently through that madness. i will not.

this would all be a lot easier if i could survive without consuming any water to sustain myself and the baby. someone invent that please? or tell me it’s okay to just live in the loo?

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7 things people do when you get pregnant.

in my limited experience as a pregnant person, i’ve started to notice some recurring patterns in the things people do to me since i started growing a person inside of me. and naturally, i started to realize how hysterical some of them were (at least to me, they might not be funny to you at all, now that i think about it). if you’ve ever had a baby, i hope this makes you laugh. if you’re planning on having one someday, i hope this little list helps prepare you for what will most certainly be done to you.

*if you have trouble distinguishing my sarcastic tone from my serious tone, or you just really don’t get my sense of humor, i would like to preface this by saying that all of this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. also, please feel free to do any of these things to me next time you see me. it’ll be fun.*

1. judge your coffee drinking.

actually, if you’re like me, this will happen before you even announce you’re pregnant. it will come from all sides. your doctor might say something like, “well, i made it through med school without caffeine, so i bet you can do it for 9 months”, and everyone else might will insinuate tell you to your face that the second you stop drinking coffee is the second they’ll know you’re pregnant. except joke’s on EVERYONE, because once you realize it doesn’t make you feel ill in your first trimester, you have no intention of giving up coffee. (yes, i moved to half-caf at home, and i only order lattes at the coffee shop because it’s controlled amounts of caffeine, but give it up? no sir, you’d be wrong about that, so take your judgey face elsewhere.)

2. touch your belly.

yes. this is most definitely a thing that will happen to you. and it’s okay to fall on either side of the touch is/is not okay spectrum. i thought i was firmly on the do not touch side, but want to know something incredibly unexpected that i found out about myself? turns out that now that i have a little bump, i am okay with people touching my belly. not strangers or co-workers, OBVIOUSLY, but i’m having some kind of out of body experience where i have subconsciously given the belly area to the baby, and i’m okay with people touching it! some ground rules exist: a) you must ask before you touch. b) flat palms at all times, otherwise i will feel like you’re squeezing the chub layer. c) YOU MUST ASK BEFORE YOU TOUCH.

p.s. did you see that my bump is totally popping out?

3. provide their opinion on your decision to find out the gender (or not).

you hate that we’re not finding out if we’re having a boy or girl until it’s born? oh, you were hoping we’d wait because that’s more exciting? too bad you totally missed the meeting between my husband and me where the decision was made, otherwise we would definitely have given you a say in the matter!

(we are waiting until baby z. is born to see if it’s a little lady or little gentleman. you may leave your opinion on this decision in the comment section below!)

4. raise their eyebrows when you say the word “waterbirth”.

i know this might freak people out, so the eyebrow raise is more understandable. careful though, if you make a face, i will be obligated to tell you about it in incredible detail. but yea, i might give birth in a bathtub! which also happens to be in a hospital, because i am a woman who likes to have options, and likes very much the idea of a healthy baby at the end of the ordeal, however that needs to happen. also, the idea of a natural birth without being surrounded in warm, soothing water gives me anxiety feelings.

5. tell you about the time they lost their mucus plug in a terribly horrifying situation.

firstly, i have plenty of horror stories i’m making up in my head right now about what could go wrong, i don’t need to hear about how your water broke while you were sitting at work in the middle of an important meeting with all the important people. secondly, i need time to come to terms with things like mucus plugs and broken water and the labor process, so you’ll forgive me if i don’t fully participate in the conversation. i’m trying to avoid getting ptsd BEFORE i give birth.

6. ask you if you’ve gained any weight yet.

this happened to me in the  crowded bathroom at work a few weeks ago. it wasn’t so much asked of me as yelled at me. i blinked a few times before answering “nope, not yet.” can we just all agree that unless i volunteer the information to you, and i probably will because i am a great over-sharer, you promise not to ask me about how much i weigh? you know, like i’m still a normal woman with pride?

(4 pounds so far if you care, right on track, i’m the queen of gaining pregnancy weight, go ahead and punch me in 6 months when i hate myself for saying that out loud.)

7. love on you more than you ever expected.

see, i’m not a total cold-blooded people-hater. the few hilarious/shocking/rude things that may happen to you are far outshadowed by the amazing love that is bestowed upon you when people find out you’re pregnant. i can’t count the amount of times i’ve been surprised by a card or a gift or just a “happy for you” message that we’ve gotten over the past few months. this baby of ours is going to be so loved and welcomed and cuddled, that when i think about it too much, i get a little weepy. i mean, it’s not even out in the world yet, and it’s already loved! people are wonderful.

the moral of the story is this: people will say things that surprise (and maybe even shock) you…just like when you’re not pregnant. the key is to stay calm and not let the hormones win. and then you’ll see that most of it is done out of love, and at that point the hormones might win and make you cry.

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