This is what happens when you parent in isolation, away from family. The other evening, I was fighting Tau to get his teeth brushed. Like most toddlers, he opens his mouth long enough to suck off all the water and “training toothpaste” and then clamps his jaw shut over the brush and grins at me.
Dave’s mom is great, and very good at not offering unsolicited advice. After prying the mouth open with the brush and getting in a few jabs before he clamped shut again, I muttered, “Always such a fight with him!” And Mom said quietly, “You know, we just didn’t bother with brushing teeth this early.”
Hmn. And Dave has all his adult teeth. A successful, dashing man with all the requisite molars.
Never occurred to me not to at least try. Good parents brush the baby teeth. Twice a day. Right?
Last week, I was eating a meal with the parents of a lovely one-year-old child, their first. As the very cute baby played with her food, I noticed she was managing to get quite a bit of her mashed peas into her rosebud mouth with her small spoon.
“Wow, she’s really getting the hang of that spoon,” I commented with a smile.
“Yes,” her mother replied, “I’ve been working really hard with her on it all week. It’s kept me pretty busy.”
Working really hard on teaching her to use a spoon? All week? Kept her pretty busy?
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Hearing this intelligent, accomplished woman with a master’s degree in biology tell me how consuming she’s found teaching her toddler to use a spoon is just one more example of our current culture of hysterical parenting. I mean, really, when did parenting become this difficult? When did the admirable quality of involved parenting become this?
Uh, like looking in a mirror? Somewhat. Moral of the story? Lighten up. Go with the flow.
And then today I read about a fellow blogger’s first visit to the dentist with her triplets. See the link to her very sweet ABCs of Parenthood in Loving This … over to the right in our sidebar. Jen makes a good point. There are all sorts of things going on in baby mouths and dental hygiene is important.
So, adjusting the moral of the story: Lighten up, go with the flow a bit more and try to brush teeth as often as possible. Currently he’s teething, which makes it hard and painful. But occasionally he does let you in. Especially if you hop around like a clown and “brush” your own teeth with his little brush, making “chicka-chicka-chicka” noises. Then he laughs his silly head off, opening wide in the process.
Ah. Parenting. Ever so good for the ego.