Beast Mode

Monday, December 5, 2011

So last week, I was working on this post about how my generally sweet, easy-going baby girl had suddenly turned into a beast/monster/little hellion (fill in the blank, really). I questioned what could have possibly happened to cause my toddler to throw needless temper tantrums every two minutes.

We'd put her on the changing table. Tantrum.
We'd try to put her in her high chair. Tantrum.
Leave the house? Tantrum.
Strap her in her car seat? Tantrum.
Pick her up. Tantrum.
Put her down. Tantrum.
Pick her up from daycare? Epic meltdown. (This was, by far, the worst. Working mommy FOR THE WIN.)

It seemed that we really couldn't win with her. No matter what we did, our little girl just wasn't happy.

At first, I thought perhaps she was sick. Surely she must be sick, right? I kind of wanted her to be sick. But she was sleeping fine. Eating fine. No fevers. And, she seemed to be able to turn the crying/screaming/biting (oh, I didn't mention the BITING yet?) fits off as quickly as she could turn them on.

Some of these tantrums were complete with throwing herself on the floor, kicking her legs, rolling around, looking over at us with big crocodile tears for dramatic effect. I was starting to think I should prepare myself to be the parent of a future Oscar winner. So, we were feeling pretty sure that this was just Nora, trying to assert her growing sense of independence. Or expressing her frustration at not yet being able to communicate very efficiently. A stage. This, too, shall pass.

We exercised as much patience as we could muster. And we were actually really patient. But we were also miserable. All of us. When you only really get to spend 2-3 hours a day with your kid (between morning and evening), you don't want to spend that time fighting a kicking, screaming, crying mess of a child. It was hard.

And I found myself wondering, Isn't she too young for this? Because seriously, if this is what tantrums and attitude are like at 14 months old, I'm terrified of the "Terrible Twos," y'all.

It had been maybe 3-4 days of near constant misery. We were about to lose our ever-loving minds. But then something extraordinary happened. Nora flipped the switch back the other way, and she was suddenly back to her normal self. I picked her up from daycare, and once we were home... No tantrums. We had a pleasant evening at the dinner table together. We managed to get her through to bedtime without a single tear.

We were thanking our lucky stars.

Then, yesterday, I was riding in the backseat with her in the car, and playing peek-a-boo and other games with her. I had her laughing big belly laughs, squealing with glee, mimicking me, etc. And there, with her mouth wide open, in the bright light of day, I saw them.

Teeny tiny little white specks poking up out of her gums. And red, swollen marks in not one, not two, but three other spots in her mouth. And possibly two other swollen spots as well.

The girl is cutting 4-6 new teeth. Seemingly all at the same time.

Cue the feelings of being the worst mother in the entire world. I didn't even consider that her antics last week could be teething. I never even gave her ibuprofen to experiment to see if it would make a difference. I just assumed attitude and did... nothing. Nothing, while my poor kid was probably in pain.


In my (half-hearted) defense, I have two points: 1) She only has four teeth--the ones in front, two top, two bottom. Those are supposedly the "easy" ones to cut, so we've never really gone through any sort of teething hell before. I had no idea that it could make them so completely irritable like 24/7, and that teething would manifest itself through constant crying and temper tantrums. And 2) If I hadn't spotted those budding teeth, we probably still wouldn't know what the problem was. But we noticed a drop-off in her appetite this weekend, too, and more hands-in-the-mouth activity.

Now, of course, it all makes perfect sense.

Hindsight is 20/20, you know.


Ashley December 5, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

don't feel too bad... I have on more than one occasion, been in your position, where my son was a monster, and I absolutely couldn't figure out why, never even thought of teething, and then sure enough a new tooth or two would pop up...

and as far as "Terrible Two's"... the more people I talk to, the more agree, that the terrible two's actually starts at the beginning of their second year ( ie. around 1 ) rather than when they turn 2. My son had the 'terrible two's from about 13 months until about 22 months. He's 26 months now, and for the most part, he's a good kid. We still have the occasional tantrum, but not nearly what we had from 1-2 years old.

Kate December 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM  

My 13 month old is cutting 2 molars... the past week has been a nightmare :(

Heather December 5, 2011 at 10:52 PM  

Now the poor thing has a 103 degree fever! :( I don't think it's teething related (103 degrees is too high for that, right?) but it just adds insult to injury. I'll be home with a sick kid tomorrow!

Kimberley December 5, 2011 at 10:56 PM  

i think all parents have been right there with ya! guilty!! hope she feels better soon!

Stephanie December 5, 2011 at 11:02 PM  

Grace had a fever of 101 with cutting her molars, she's almost 11 months and has had a really hard time with teeth (she has 12 already.) If we were able to keep the fever down with medicine, our doctor wasn't worried. I hope she feels better soon.

Melanie,  December 6, 2011 at 8:46 AM  

I could have written this post!!! This happened to us last week. My easy going wonderful daughter was throwing fit after fit, and the biting was getting out of control. Lo and behold, two new teeth. You're not alone, we're all learning as we go, haha.
Hope Nora feels better! And I agree, 103 is probably too high for a teething fever.

amybyrd December 6, 2011 at 10:44 AM  

Sums up our weekend. At one point we put elle in her crib so she could have her tantrum without hurting herself. And then last night my husband feels in her mouth and yep a nice big tooth coming in next to her molars. We always knew when she was teething before and orajel does the trick for us!

Jaime December 11, 2011 at 4:51 PM  

sorry your little girl was sick :( she is just precious.

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