…Bite me. No, really.
Disclaimer: I apologize up front if you or anyone you hold dear is a member of this, um, nobel profession. But, ARE THESE PEOPLE CRAZY??!!
I think it was at the girls’ one year check-up when my pediatrician first asked me how the tooth brushing was going. Come again? You were serious about that? Loud sigh. So, off I went to Wal-mart to purchase the necessary supplies. Incidentally, who knew baby toothpaste was so expensive?!
I drove home with a lighter wallet, but with high hopes for our first tooth brushing session that night. I was optimistic, and dare I say, excited, to add this to our bedtime routine. They seem interested when I brush my teeth, I thought to myself. I’ll just instruct them to open wide and say aah. Then, I’ll brush their little white stubs for the recommended two minutes, all the while explaining what I’m doing and why healthy teeth practices are so important. Piece of cake. Note to self: immediately refill whatever prescription I was on that day.
Holy freaking moly, people! The screaming, the crying, the flailing about! It was like wrestling two alligators to the ground, and I strongly suspect, just as dangerous. Wrestling aside, I didn’t get too upset over their initial reaction, and chalked it up to the unfamiliarity of the experience. Best not to push too hard, too fast. We’ll just try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and went. Lots of tomorrows have come and gone. My girls will be two in September, and they still hate having their teeth brushed. I’ve tried everything — battery operated brushes, funky toothpaste flavors, singing silly tooth-related songs — ad nauseum. They are so not convinced. Neither am I. It doesn’t help matters that the dental hygiene portion of our day occurs at bedtime; the girls’ antics are typically at a record high, while Mama’s patience is dangerously circling the drain. Consequently, I regulary declare Ladies’ Choice Nights and hand over the tooth brushes. Brush your teeth or don’t: your choice, ladies!
Several months ago, I even consulted a pediatric dentist for advice on tooth brushing when my concern over Amelia’s swollen gums prompted me to schedule an appointment (Note: see my prior post on hypochondria!). His advice: keep it up. Hold them down by force if necessary, and brush for two minutes, or as long as tolerated. When I told him their duration of tolerance was typically somewhere in the 2-3 SECOND range, he offered me this gem of a metaphor: Kids don’t always like to ride in carseats, but you strap them down nonetheless. Why? Because carseats are in their best interests — just like teeth brushing. Um, so not the same, buddy. I told you these people were crazy!!
So, I’m dying to know… what are your toddler tooth brushing secrets? What works for you?