Lumpy has been teething for, oh... 15 or 16 years now. The first decade or so wasn't too bad - lots of drooling, a bit of finger chewing, nothing we couldn't handle. Then it started to progress. The whole fist was in the mouth, and then both fists (a trick he learnt from his mother, who had a cabaret act entirely based around this skill in the 1930s), till we began to fear our son would be left with nothing but gnawed-off stumps on the end of his arms. This was accompanied by a veritable deluge of saliva, which could soak though an outfit (and any surrounding furniture or unfortunate bystanders) in about 42 seconds.
And then it actually started bothering him. This generally manifested itself as a steady, low gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhuuuuuugggghhhooohhhhhhhhwaaaaaaaaaagffffff sort of a noise (through the filter of two fists, of course). It wasn't crying exactly, just the registering of a constant grumbling complaint, as if steadily penning shirty letters to the Daily Mail about these immigrant teeth and how they keep coming over here and invading our Great British gums. We bought him every type of teething toy and implement known to man, from Sophie the poncy French giraffe (apparently 9 out of 10 French babies are given one of these. The tenth one gets a wildebeast moulded out of Camembert, the poor little fucker) to a moose with mouthable antlers and various plastic aquatic creatures you can put in the freezer. None elicited much excitment on the part of Lumpy, or seemed to provide much relief. Nope, the double fister was the only thing fit for the job (and yes, I intended that to sound as rude as it did).
And so, as in many situations in the past, we turned to drugs. We took to slathering his chops with liberal amounts of teething gel, which seemed to shut him up for a few minutes at least. Whether this was due to the analgesic relief, or just because it was something that tasted a bit more interesting than bloody breast milk, who can tell. Unfortunately, we now seem to have created a little addict, as every time I let the Calgel tube pass in front of Lumpy's eyes, he starts to flail and grab for it, in desperate, crazed withdrawal. Which is exactly what we dreamed of for our darling son.
And, as I cave in to my (almost) five-month-old junky, and rub the sweet opiate around his mouth, what do I feel poking through those tender gums? Absolutely nothing. After centuries (at least) of grizzling, and drooling, and fist-munching, and a bit more drooling, and then some additional grizzling, there are no teeth in evidence whatsoever. Either they will all just pop out at once overnight, and I will wake to a be-fanged monstrosity in the cot, ready to munch my nipples into bloodied scabs (when Lumpy was about 10 days old I actually dreamt this happened, so am particularly phobic of this occurrence), or it's all a big con, and he will remain a gummy droolbag into his mid-forties.
Better buy some shares in Calgel, either way.