Hello, this is Simon.
My son has started teething. It has become quite apparent because he will chew anything that he can get his hands on. If he can’t chew on something, he gets very grumpy. So, we give him these kind of hard biscuits called rusks for it. My sister actually sent some a couple of years ago for when my daughter was teething, and they have been a lifesaver.
The problem is that he has been chewing through them like they were candy, because he loves them so much, and so the supply started running very low at one point. I asked my mother to send some more, but she had a lot trouble getting hold of them. She told me that they are as rare as hen’s teeth at the moment.
However, after searching far and wide, she fortunately was able to find one shop that had a few boxes left. She got them all ready to go, but then had difficulty sending them. It seemed that the post office had completely changed their system sometime during the pandemic, and they were still having teething problems. After a lot of toing and froing she finally managed to get them sent, and they arrived just as we had gotten down to our last rusk. It seems we were saved by the skin of our teeth.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had run out. It would have made for a very grumpy little boy. I couldn’t blame him for getting upset either. He isn’t even one yet, and it’s not like we can just sit him down and tell him to grit his teeth and bear it.
Anyway, as I write this I can hear him chomping on one in the background. I just turned around to look at him and got a toothy grin from a very happy little boy.
Since my son has been teething, I thought it would be a good chance to to introduce some words and idioms that are related to teeth.
The verb to “teethe” is the process where a baby or small child’s teeth begin to appear, which usually causes them discomfort (e.g. Our puppy is currently teething, so she is chewing u everything in the house.)
“chewing through them”
To “chew through” something means to use or consume it, usually at a fast rate (e.g. My new printer chews through ink cartridges like you wouldn’t believe./My hay fever was so bad that I chew through a whole box of tissues last night.)
“rare as hen’s teeth”
The phrase “rare as hen’s teeth” means incredibly scarce or rare, or very incredibly difficult to find or get hold of. Just think, how many hen’s teeth have you ever seen (e.g. I managed to get my hands on a superman comic from the original series. They’re as rare as hen’s teeth.)
“they were still having teething problems”
The noun “teething problems” problems that occur with something new, or that occur in the early stages of something, just as teething and the troubles that come with it occurs in the early stages of a person’s development (e.g. We are having some teething problems with the newly installed network, but we hope to get them resolved by the end of the week.)
“saved by the skin of our teeth”
To be “saved by the skin of your teeth” means to escape a problem or manage to get something done by the narrowest of margins (e.g. He got out of losing his job by the skin of his teeth./We made the deadline by the skin of our teeth.)
“grit his teeth”
To “grit” your teeth means to clench your teeth tightly when facing something annoying or unpleasant. It is also used to mean to show determination in dealing with an unpleasant situation (e.g. I really don’t like dieting, but it I want to lose weight, I’ll have to grit my teeth and push through it.)
A “toothy grin” is a broad smile in which you show all of your teeth.
Spring is in the air! I hope you are enjoying this lovely warm weather.
See you next month!
Hello! My name is Simon.
I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999.
My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.