Hand in her mouth, her little fingers come out all red and slimy. Drooling since she was three months old, we thought her teeth would come in quickly. But here we are almost ten months old and no teeth. But they are certainly coming. Tonight was rough. You could tell she was tired, blood shot eyes, yawning, her body wanting to let go and fall asleep, but those gums were just so sore. She would grab my face and gnaw on my jaw. Her gums were hurting her and even my jaw bone was not helping. I brought my sleepy girl back downstairs and tried to rub some teething gel onto her sore gums. She doesn’t want anyone else’s fingers in her mouth but her own so she turns away and the gel spreads to her lips instead. She’s fussy and fidgety and I try my best to be patient and calm as I try to get her to sleep hours after her regular bedtime. We nurse, we rock, we walk around the house. She wants so badly to fall asleep but she’s focusing on those sore gums and flips around in my arms. I hold her and hum a quiet song, rubbing her legs and trying to get her little nine month old body to relax. I sit in the rocker and offer her milk. She cuddles into my body, the body that once held her inside so safe. I’m still her safe, cozy place. I hum her sleepy song and she nurses, fading quickly this time. I pet her warm head, stroking the little threads of baby hair off her forehead. Her body relaxes and as she nurses she rests her hand on my breast. It breaks my heart to see her uncomfortable or in pain. But this is part of growing and so I try to help her by being there. I fear this tough teething night is only the beginning of teeth time woes. There will be more late nights and sore gummy tears, but Mama will be here to hold her when she needs it, to help her get to sleep again and again. I am her safe place. She’s sleeping now. Her head on my chest and her hand on my heart.