Kids say funny things: Part 6, The agony of brushing teeth

Brushing teeth is the dreaded chore my kids want to avoid at all costs. Every time I ask, “did you brush your teeth?” my tone and decibel go up each time I repeat (or yell) this despised question. It seems a simple task but to them it means war.

Below is a snippet of our typical conversation:

Mommy: “Did you brush your teeth?”

Elliot: “No, not yet…(moping around)…do I HAVE to?”

Mommy: “Uh…yes. You have some grown-up teeth now and you need to take care of them. Do you want the dentist to yank out your tooth like he did mine? You want a fake tooth like me (referring to a long, expensive, and inconvenient implant process the kids witnessed)?”

Elliot: “I know…I know (Sounding exacerbated, perhaps with some eye rolling). But why does Ellis get to rinse her mouth instead of brushing her teeth?”

Ellis: looking guilty and darting her eyes back and forth from me to her brother. holding her blankie and sniffing it while brother and I heatedly discuss her teeth-brushing habits.

Mommy: “Because she may throw up again. You know she does some mornings. She’ll brush tonight, ok?”

Ellis looks satisfied with my response and nods in agreement with a serious face.

Elliot: “No she won’t! Ugh, why does grown-up teeth take so much CARE???” (Grumbling while getting his toothbrush ready)

Many more battles will come throughout day. Then, we do it all over again with nighttime brushing.

This conversation occurs almost everyday. By the time both sets of teeth are clean, I’m pooped out. This is just one battle to start the day.

Maybe when they start brushing by themselves I’ll miss these talks. I try to remember that so I don’t drive myself nuts. Situation has improved however in the past few years: they’ve stopped chomping my finger while I brushed their tiny teeth.