I feel like every time Gabe is about to hit a milestone he does something remarkable. Whether it is gain 5 lbs in a matter of hours, sit up all by himself, or (in this case) pop out his very first tooth on his 7 month eve.
(Gabe at 6 months)
Last night I had a doctor’s appointment and on our way over there we picked up Gabe from daycare. While we were in the waiting room I noticed he had some rash on his tummy and then I noticed he had more rash all over his back. And then I noticed that one side of his face was bright red and hot while the other was normal and cool. I told Kamel to call the doctor right away and then I was called to the back for my own appointment. We ended up going to urgent care around the block just to make sure something wasn’t up. He had had an ear infection a month ago and I wanted to make sure it hadn’t come back…. and you know, to make sure he hadn’t gotten the measles or the plague, that sort of thing.
(Gabe meeting Big Bird. Lol. They are friends now, I swear.)
The doctor didn’t really know what it was. At first she said hives, then she said maybe heat rash? She checked his feet and hands and mouth, and no foot/hand/mouth disease (phew!), and he didn’t have a fever so… home we went. Babies get rashes, apparently. And it doesn’t always mean their dying? I’m skeptical.
I did ask her to check for teeth, though, as the big red cheek made me think: teething. (or some sort of infection, but no fever and no fussy baby, and totally a-ok ears ruled that one out.) She said, “Oh his front teeth are coming in, they are just now poking through a little.” And I didn’t even think about it much, she was so nonchalant and mostly I was thinking, “Well… she hasn’t put her hazmat suit on yet, so I’m pretty confident he doesn’t have the plague….” Priorities.
So we carted him home and it wasn’t until after dinner when I went with my fingers to investigate his gums that I felt it and then saw it! His first tooth! poking through the gums! It had broken through! On the eve of his 7th month! And I hadn’t even noticed him teething! We have just had a few fussy nights, and last week was kind of ridiculous in the lack of sleep department, but it wasn’t anything that signaled the big bad teething to me.
I thought teething was inconsolable-ness, and maybe it is. I’m sure the molars are the worst when they come in. And his tooth hasn’t cut all the way through yet. I have tylenol on hand, but no oralgel – because really, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. (Parents of teethers or babies with teeth: what do you recommend?)
When I was getting ready to write this, I kept thinking about babies. The word babies, who I think of when I think – babies – and what really equals: BABY. I realized: I have no clue. When I look at other kids this age I think: BABY. But when I look at Gabe I see something so different. He is already way beyond baby. Sometimes I am surprised at the idea of him as a baby. I use the phrase “when he was little” as if he is big now. He is bigger, sure, but … I know in my brain he is still teensy. Seven months today. Seven. Months.
That’s nothing! That’s not even as long as I was pregnant! But he chatters now, and sits up by himself like a big boy, and he laughs the greatest laugh, oh you have to hear it some time it is the greatest sound there ever was. And he plays by himself on his quilt that Kathleen made, and he is eating food! Purees like a champ! This kid will eat all the things (and poop all the poops!…. my god, the poops).
So where is this baby you speak of? Oh, you mean this child? Who is wearing 9 month old clothes? Who is a master manipulator? Who has personality and spunk and growls and yelps and waves his arms when he gets excited like a penguin? You couldn’t possibly mean him.
Sometimes Gabe drives me crazy. He doesn’t want to be put down, or he screams through the episode of the Daily Show I’ve waited 4 days to watch. Sometimes he doesn’t want to sleep at night when Kamel and I are both begging him, please Gabe, you little shit head, go to sleep for the love of God.
He pulls on my hair and he wants to grab every single thing. He is impossible to have a meal with, he will upend my plate, try to stab his eye out with my fork, and then attempt to throw himself out of my lap backwards and upside down.
And then something scares him and he makes a big sad face and a silent cry turns into a wail. And he is in my arms and burrying his face into my shoulder and crying his little heart out. And I remember: He’s just a baby, this one.
This guy is just a baby. And he is already so terrific.
Happy 7 months, little man. You’re going to be a runner, I can already tell. So bring it. Bring all you got. Be awesome.