Teething gel, ice packs, popsicle molds, baby Tylenol. All things you’ll receive at a baby shower or see in your friend’s newborn baby’s nursery. If you attend any expectant mom’s meetings or join any parenting Facebook groups, one topic will always be centered around teething.
“You won’t sleep during the teething stage,” quips a seasoned mom.
“Your baby will cry for hours on end,” sighs a tired dad.
“Make sure you have plenty of numbing gel and chewing toys for your new baby,” chimes a wise grandma.
And yes, your sweet baby will suddenly become a crying bundle of discomfort and you will lose sleep during the teething months. However, you will be somewhat prepared for this stage from all of the prior warnings and baby products that were gifted to you during those early weeks.
What they fail to leave out is that losing teeth is just as traumatic as cutting teeth.
Yes, kids are emotional and sensitive little beings, but those emotions are quite amplified when they discover their teeth can actually fall out of their sweet, little heads. Not to mention your own emotions when you realize your child is shedding their last remnants of babyhood.
My daughter didn’t get her first tooth until she was almost 12 months, which meant she didn’t lose her first tooth until the very end of kindergarten. While other kids were on their third or fourth tooth loss, we were still learning that teeth can actually become loose. I was honestly looking forward to her losing her first tooth so we could have those cute, keepsake photos with the front teeth missing. Those hopeful feelings went out the window when her first tooth finally became loose.
I always kind of assumed the teeth would just fall out easily or come out gently as she bit into an apple. Or maybe one would fall out as she was playing and not even notice. I was not prepared for the semi-loose teeth stage when it’s loose, but not quite ready to come out yet. This stage is by far the worst. She would cry anytime she bit into any food, or even worse, she would skip brushing her teeth in fear she would bump the loose tooth.
I would ask to pull it out and she would run away in terror. “No, don’t touch it!” she would yell in fright. At least teething babies can’t yell at you with words, I thought to myself in frustration.
“But once I pull it out, you will feel better and you can eat again,” I would plead.
“No, it will hurt!” she’d cry.
The back and forth. The crying and sadness. The hopelessness.
It will all go on for a few days until the tooth finally frees itself from an unbrushed mouth or your preschooler finally allows you to take matters into your own hands and remove it.
Oh yes, there will be blood. Once the tooth finally comes out, you will have a brief moment of victory and then your little one will discover she doesn’t care for the sight of blood and begin to panic all over again.
After a good mouth rinse and mirror check, you place the tooth in a plastic baggy for a magical send-off to the Tooth Fairy.
If you’re lucky, the tooth will come out at school and you can avoid this dramatic episode. And bonus: your kid’s teacher may even send their tooth home in a snazzy keepsake tooth box or necklace.
But now you will at least be better prepared for the next loose tooth.
And if you see a kid with a cute toothless grin, give their parent a fist bump because they probably recently survived an emotional battle.