Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chew Chew Train

My husband mocks me because I’ve been swearing our daughter is getting teeth for about 4 months now. But I think this time she really is. I can’t feel any teeth under her gums yet, but she must be teething because she’s chewing on EVERYTHING.

Babies her age love to explore things by putting them in their mouths, but lately she goes way beyond just putting things in her mouth. She puts things in her mouth and chews them, chomps them, gnaws on them, and gnashes them with her gums. When I hold her against my shoulder, she bites down on my collarbone with all her strength, or gnaws on my jawbone. When I tickle her belly with my head, she grabs handfuls of my hair with both hands, pulls me toward her, and chomps on my hair – or my nose – or my neck. When her daddy nuzzles her with his nose, she attempts to gnaw on his head. If I stick my finger in her mouth, she chomps down with all her might.

I’ve tried offering her traditional teething toys, and although she’ll try them out, she loses interest very quickly. The frozen duck teething ring was rejected almost immediately. The cold, wet washcloth lasted for a few minutes before it was cast aside. The stuffed toys with textured plastic teething rings also get a few minutes of attention before being tossed overboard. We have a mesh feeding bag that her brother liked as a teether, especially when we filled it with a few ice cubes. My daughter, however, when presented with the ice cubes, licked it a few times then looked at us as if to say, “Is there supposed to be some flavor here?” I tried putting some frozen peas in it, but she gave it a half-hearted nibble then ignored it. She gave a similar response to a bite of frozen waffle and some chilled apple chunks.

She has managed to find her own favorite teether, though: her brother’s toys. More specifically, her brother’s trains. There must be something about the size, shape, or texture of Thomas and his Friends that makes them the perfect teethers in her opinion. They’re just the right size and shape to fit in her hand, and the wheels add enough lumpiness that they don’t slip through her fingers. The ridges of their funnels and smokestacks apparently feel good on her tender gums. Fortunately, her brother’s train collection is extensive enough that she can “borrow” one for a while even when he’s playing and he doesn’t protest. And since none of her teeth have popped through yet, she can’t do any damage to them.

We’re lucky that she’s pretty good-natured, even when she’s teething, but there are moments when her gums really seem to be hurting her and she gets cranky. And when that happens, the best thing I can do is hand her a train and think, “Go go, Thomas!” and agree that Thomas really is number one.

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