But what if???

I hear mamas all the time blame whatever annoying, bad or frustrating behavior their baby has on teething. Wouldn’t it be nice if adults could do the same?

Gosh my sister is being so inconsiderate!! It’s fine, she’s just teething. My husband isn’t being very sympathetic to my needs, goodness, he must be teething! And why on EARTH did that driver just pull out in front of me!!??

Ah, must be teething.

At 4 months Olson started drooling a lot and, I’m serious when I say this, every single person who noticed his drool told me, “How strange! He must be teething already.” Well, I just assumed he was drooling cause he’s, ya know, a BABY. But all of a sudden everything changed and I had a TEETHER on my hands. Was I supposed to apply something to his gums? Does he need medicine? What is the protocol for handling a teether? I read 153 articles in babies before Olson was born but nothing about teething came to mind.

Finally it was time for Olsons 4 month appointment. I was all, “Doctor! I have a teething human, what do I doooo?” He asked if Olson’s gums were swollen. I said no. Did I see teeth? I said no. He told me that until I saw teeth or swollen red gums, I shouldnt worry about teething or I’ll be blaming everything on teething for the next 8 months.

This was revolutionary to me. Doesn’t sound like it. But hang in there with me.

As parents we will make just about any excuse for our children’s bad behavior. It can’t be that they’re imperfect. We must be able to point their bad or fussy behavior to something. (Because we don’t want people to think we’re bad parents!) I know this because I found and still find myself doing it. I’m discovering that it’s so much easier to just do the best job I can as a mom and understand that there are things I don’t quite understand yet about my baby. He is tiny and learning the world around him. I don’t have to make excuses for him.

Adults on the other hand are a different kind of pickle. Some times we act like we’re teething. We’re just inconsiderate, selfish and cranky. And we don’t think we have to have an excuse because being an adult is hard sometimes. We don’t take very good care of our inner demons and struggles and so we act ugly toward other people. Joel helped me realize this when we experienced disappointment from people in our first year of marriage. He’d remind me that adult teething is sort of actually a little bit of a real thing.

“When a dog is hurt, it bites. Even a good dog will snap at you if it is injured,” he said. In a specific instance, these people had been through more hurt both emotionally and physically than anyone else I have personally known in my life. And they snapped at us. Does it excuse their behavior? No. But does it help me to love and forgive? Yes.

You know of adult teethers in your life. And we can’t necessarily treat them like babies and shrug off their fussy behavior. But we CAN find compassion for their hurt. Understanding that their gums may not be swollen, but there is hurt of some kind in their heart… sets us up to show them some grace. And maybe be a little kinder. A little more sensitive. And perhaps deal with our own hurt a little more proactively.

Happy Saturday everyone 🙂 Show some love to your fellow teethers.