Every other day or so, I play "chase" with my kids. I pretend to be a bear, coming up on all fours from the basement. I "grrrrrrr" at them, and crawl around the corner. They wait for me, get face to face, and then scamper and squeal away. Sometimes they growl back, presumably because they think I'm only half nuts, and will soon return to the comforting tasks of blanket fetching and snack conjuring.
The bear I face at night growls and grinds away at my permanent teeth. It comes from that half nuts part of me that has apparently been driven to the brink by motherhood.
I wasn't always a grinder. I was fitted for a plastic night guard about four years ago, after I'd already made a good dusting of my enamel. Things, and by things, I mean those little white cubes in my mouth that allow me to lead a full and happy life, have only deteriorated since my daughter's birth. At the current moment, as I pamper and avoid paddling the two kids I have, and await the arrival of their sibling, that dang bear attempts to dislodge a tooth on the lower right side from its very roots. My dentist tells me that the cost to repair my own unraveling will range around $30K. My dad tells me that for that price, I could buy a new head.
Today, on the cusp of my second trimester, I learned from my OB that I have actually lost weight since the last appointment. This fact is not a result of morning sickness or loss of appetite, but because of the bear. The grinding has recently caused enough discomfort to keep me from eating. Eating, and all that munching and crunching that it requires, causes my right jaw to ache and radiate pain by dinner time. If I don't head things off with Tylenol well in advance, I might as well settle for a can of Ensure.
I'm not sure what this means. Maybe I'm coming full circle, and will soon be reduced to a baby-esque liquid diet myself. I understand through my anecdotal (and very scientific) research, that the stress of parenting small children can increase teeth grinding. Is my grinding a slow, ugli-fying, and costly form of suicide? Would the treadmill help (please say it isn't so)? Hypnosis?
Does anyone have any other ideas for grrrrring back at the bear?