The Brush Off

Following the dentist’s instructions, we brush the kids’ teeth each evening. They do it in the morning, we do it in the evenings.

I’m not a big fan of this particular chore, so I’ve done everything I could to make it interesting. About a month ago, I thought up a fun twist: asking them questions as I brush. Since they’re not allowed to close their mouths, they end up laughing and bubbling toothpaste.

As amusing as this is for me, they’re not quite so fond of it. Yes, they think it’s funny, but it’s also frustrating. In fact, it treads a rather thin line, being neither upsetting enough to warrant true anger, nor funny enough to be enjoyed.

In short, it makes them start giggling nervously whenever I pick up a toothbrush.

The 7-year old tried issuing stern instructions before opening his mouth: “No questions, Daddy! Just stay quiet!”

Didn’t work. I have a horrible habit of ignoring instructions.

The 5-year old tried biting the toothbrush.

That didn’t work either. With his teeth together he couldn’t answer questions or get his teeth brushed.

Last night, however, the little guy tried a new tactic. He had his head tilted back and mouth opened wide at the time, and I had just asked him who had come to visit today.

“Ah-ha-ha,” he said, which is the closest he could come to saying “Samantha.”

“Max?” I said. “Her name was Max? That doesn’t sound right. What was her-”

His little hand swung forward and fixed itself on my mouth, stopping me from speaking.

I tried to pull it away with my free hand, but he caught that in his other hand. We were stuck, neither of us able to move or speak until I finished brushing his teeth. I tried to stay focussed, but couldn’t keep myself from giggling. Finally, I pulled the toothbrush out and we called it a night.

Well-played, little man. Well-played.

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