When Miles was getting his teeth cleaned last week, the dentist remarked that it looked like his molars were about ready to start coming in. I didn’t really give that warning much attention at the time, but last night it became impossible to ignore.
We were about three quarters of the way through another bleak, devastating episode of The Handmaid’s Tale when Miles became audibly restless in his bedroom. His cries started out normal enough — the kind of whimpering that usually subsides after a moment or two — but things quickly escalated to the point that he was howling like some transmogrifying lupine beast bathing in the moonlight.
Lifting him from his bed is usually enough to compel him to stop crying; however, this did nothing to stem the tide of his tears (or copious amounts of drool). We walked him around the house, speculating that birds might be out the window, but this also had no effect. Jaclyn asked him what he wanted, and Miles pointed to the refrigerator, only to loudly reject one-by-one everything offered to him.
Have you ever been in a building with an alarm ringing and no way to turn it off or leave? The result is a form of auditory torture that would cause even the most devout zealots to crack like so many eggshells. This is the closest approximation I can make to what we experienced as we stood powerless in the din of Miles’s cries.
We did, of course, eventually put on some Sesame Street for Miles, desperately trying to help him focus on something other than his discomfort. And as he saw Elmo once again prance across the screen, he gradually began to calm down. After about ten minutes, he had collected himself enough to eat some ice cream, which we both hoped would help with the pain in his jaw.
In time (around 11:30), Miles once again appeared ready to go to bed. We tucked him in, finished our TV show, and then went to bed ourselves, hoping that Miles would sleep peacefully the rest of the night.
This prayer would go wholly unanswered.