The Casual Father: Teething brings a world of pain for all

Casual Father

Casual Father - Credit: Archant

Teething. Every parent seems to have an anecdote on it, which makes it feel like a rite of passage that each mum and dad should go through in their quest to successfully bring up a child.

The older generation of parents, whose kids have long since flown the nest, seem committed to telling you how bad their experiences of babies cutting teeth were, while secretly enjoying the fact that you’re going through hell also. It’s almost sadistic.

In my own words, I just wonder who replaced my happy, smiley little girl with something from the Exorcist.

The teething situation has not been helped by the fact that the wife has gone back to work.

In a nutshell, this means the Casual Father has serious night duties three times a week while the wife is working on shift at the hospital.

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I can live with being woken up in the night, that’s part and parcel, but recently Elizabeth has been in a little bit of pain with her teeth and things have got ugly.

I totally get it, I mean, toothaches are the worst.

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If I was in her shoes, I’d definitely be moaning too, but my poor little girl has been inconsolable these last few weeks.

After foolishly going to bed later than normal the other night at 11pm, I was awoken at 11.30pm until 1am, and then back on duty at 4am.

Poor Elizabeth would only stop crying in my arms while pacing around the house, if I tried to stop or sit down, the wailing began again.

Sympathy was limited from the wife. “Well now you’ve got a glimpse of what I had to deal with,” and “You’re not used to it,” were two of her more loving comments.

A few days later and Elizabeth had picked up a bug.

Sickness, awful nappies, more wailing and, predictably, the first night of pain happened during my watch.

Again, I needed matchsticks in my eyes as I changed sheets and nappies, before marching around the house with the little one in my arms, feeling very sorry for myself.

My actions in this instance brought slight praise from the wife, who I’m sure muttered something like “You did well,” quietly under her breath.

Elizabeth, who clearly felt she had not put me through enough in the last week, then passed her bug onto me.

This time the wife was more sympathetic. She brought medication and kept me hydrated throughout the 36 hours that the stomach bug was at its worst.

It was only when I overheard her on the phone to a friend that I got a true sense of her feelings on the situation.

“Yeah, Elizabeth hasn’t been very well, and she passed it on to Michael. I’ve had two babies to deal with.”

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