“Milk t-teeth…they’re j-just m-milk teeth,” the doctor stammered, nervously trying to explain away the fact that our newborn baby girl, Kayla, was born with a mouthful of angry, snapping, baby—a.k.a. “milk”—teeth; teeth which had already drawn blood from him and two nurses, within ten minutes of her birth. To me, the doctor’s statement seemed to be more to convince himself than to inform anyone else. I’ve never in my life seen a doctor abandon a delivery room so fast.
Kayla’s teeth made breast-feeding especially painful for my wife, Mandy, to say the least. In fact, it was out of the question. No matter what we did, Kayla was always hungry. We tried the usual cereals and such early on, but it wasn’t long before the doctor recommended—from a safe distance—that we put her on meat. Chicken, beef, pork…you name it, Kayla devoured it. In fact, at nine months, her first word was “meat”. Strapped into her high chair, she would smack the plastic tray and chant, “Meat…meat…meat…MEEEAATT!” in this very disturbing, unnatural voice. We didn’t dare disobey, simply due to the fact that she bit us nearly every chance she got, but even more so when she was angry. It was then that she would rend flesh from bone like a piranha.
It wasn’t surprising that Mandy and I were terrified to pick her up. Sometimes she’d be so sweet and loving that we’d forget her nature for a moment. Then, in an instant, she’d bury her golden-curl-crowned head in our necks and sink her little needle-teeth into our soft, vulnerable flesh. Stitches were a normal part of life in our house.
Fortunately, Kayla napped well during the day. It was at night when she was at her worst. She would usually scream bloody murder when we left her alone in her room. We quickly found out that no crib would contain her. I remember the dread we’d feel when we’d go into the bedroom, not knowing if she was in her crib; then she’d be dropping on us from the bookshelf, or darting like a blur from under her bed to snap and tear at our exposed ankles. It felt like more of a lion’s den than a nursery.
One day, Mandy got desperate. Nurses and doctors had been no help. She decided to turn to some shady sources for advice. It was them who recommended leaving Kayla’s bedroom window open. It worked like a charm. We actually began to get some rest. The bites lessened. Our skin began to heal.
But then our neighbors’ pets began disappearing. I’m sure it was a coincidence. I never saw her squeezing out of her third-floor window and scurrying like a spider down the stone face of our home, only to return, blood-soaked, an hour before dawn.
She’s five now; a beautiful, happy little girl. I don’t know what she does at night; I don’t ask questions. Her teeth are sharp…even if they are just “milk teeth.”