I’ve written before about teething. My post about Toddlers and Teething gets lots of traffic, and I can really appreciate where the parents of teething toddlers are at. Toddler teething will make you go searching for something, anything that will make getting through the phase any easier. Toddler teething is tough.
You know what, though? Big kids go through teething too. They may not wake up in the night as much, or get fevers and strange rashes. But the process of losing baby teeth and having new, bigger adult teeth grow in affects kids emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a major milestone, and in the Waldorf tradition losing baby teeth represents a child’s readiness for more structured academic learning, like learning to read.
What does big kid teething look like?
- Grumpiness and mood swings, from happy to sad and back again in under five minutes.
- Soreness in the gums.
- Difficulty eating, especially if your child is losing baby teeth and getting her first adult molars at the same time.
- New personality traits emerging, and going through a phase of “trying on” new phrases and behaviours.
- The beginning of the end of the “age of magic and wonder”. Losing teeth happens around the same time as a major developmental shift occurring around age 6, and kids begin to focus more on what is real and less on what is make-believe.
- Irritability and short temper, especially at the time an adult tooth actually starts cutting through the gum.
Compared to dealing with a teething toddler, watching a big kid lose their baby teeth is a whole lot more fun. I’m certainly less sleep deprived, and that helps tremendously. It also helps that Bea is really excited about losing her baby teeth and gaining her adult ones. The tooth fairy is a nice bonus.
However, if your teething kid is being especially irrational and emotional, don’t discount the fact that losing baby teeth and having adult teeth grow in represents a major shift in their development. Having big teeth cut through is painful too. Developmental growth and change is always positive overall, but can make for some really bumpy roads while those changes are happening.