The other day at staff meeting my government boss asked me if the baby was feeling better (all my absenteeism lately has been because I need to stay home with a sick child) and I laughed and said she was fine, mostly. Then I explained that she was teething, and that she seems to be teething almost constantly, and sometimes it’s hard to tell whether she’s actually sick or just has a runny nose and general crankiness as side effects to cutting yet another tooth, but either way I can’t really remember the last time my wife and I were able to string together three consecutive nights of good, uninterrupted sleep, because if it’s not one thing it’s another.
I have to confess that I chose to unburden myself in that manner for a variety of reasons. Since my boss is a mother (whose actual diaper-changing days are far enough behind her that she no doubt looks forward expectantly to grandchildren) it’s a way to score cheap brownie points and/or sympathy. It also gave me another chance to reality-check the situation, because sometimes I think continuous teething for a baby who has eight pearly whites in plain view by the time she’s ten months old seems a bit outside of normal, and sure enough my boss was fairly astonished and assured me her children didn’t really get their teeth until they were a year old (though, again, that was decades ago so grain of salt and all).
There can be no doubt that the little girl is growing by leaps and bounds. Sometime recently she finally did get the hang of actual crawling on her hands and knees (as opposed to frantically pulling herself along on her stomach) and she’s gotten quite speedy in that mode of locomotion, so much so that her brother finds it sufficiently amusing to get down on all fours with her and race her. (He also tends to enjoy races that he is likely to win, but it has to at least feel somewhat like an actual contest of sorts.) She’s also eating new things, not necessarily every day (and most have the pretty standard menu of breast milk, Cheerios, bananas, and green beans or sweet potatoes) but certainly at a faster and less rigorously controlled clip than was imposed on the little guy. Neither their mother nor I have any food allergies, and we took caution to make sure the little guy didn’t either, but at this point we’re obviously not so concerned. Oh, second child, for better or worse you have a different experience than your trailblazing older sib. But when the calendar says it’s only about seven and a half weeks until we let the little girl smoosh chocolate cake in the general vicinity of her open mouth, I guess a bit more casual attitude is only to be expected.