Wednesday, June 17, 2015

For the Love of a Good Toothbrush

Audra fell in love with her toothbrush. This seems like a good thing, on the surface.

She happily accepts it and its "safe to swallow" toothpaste before bed (which is good, because I don't even know how one would teach a baby to spit something out on purpose and not just when you're out in public and really need her to actually contain food within her mouth for five seconds). It has an Elmo on it, came with the toothpaste, and was on sale at Publix. This was not a fancy toothbrush. We're not as diligent as we probably should be about brushing her wee little teeth, but I normally make a good faith effort to clean all five of them (which are, thankfully, all at the front of her mouth right now) and call it a night.

We've run into a problem, though.

She really is in love with the toothbrush.

Once she has ahold of it - and she will grab it, it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' - that's it for the toothbrush. I just frantically try to get her teeth clean in the fifteen seconds or less I have before she figures out how to get her Hercules-grip on it and steadily pulls it out of my grasp. Then she rubs it all over her own gums quite cheerfully, so I figure, hey, it's probably helping clean her teeth a little that way.

She chomps down and chews on it. She sits there smiling around her toothbrush at me, cooing happily.

This is all well and good for a few minutes, but eventually that child has to go to bed and while I'm all about breaking the "no stuffed animals or blankets in bed EVER EVER EVER or you are a BAD MOMMY" rule that the internet has proclaimed the Gospel As Told by Random Doctors on, I'm... not so much about "hard plastic things she can actually choke on".

So when it's going on bedtime and we need her to be calm and chill in the very dim light and drink her last bit of formula before bed for the night, we try to take the toothbrush away.

That's when the rage begins.

You've never seen a baby so devastated by the heartlessness of the world.

She'll start with the "eeeeehhhhhhh" whine that she learned God-knows-where (okay, it was me, she almost certainly learned it from me), ramp up into short, staccato'd "EH EH EH EH EH" and then finally wind it on up into the full on whine-shriek that is the calling card of all toddlers everywhere. She doesn't even toddle yet! Sometimes she goes for the full make-Mommy-feel-like-mud treatment, which involves her yowling "NUH NUH NUH MA MA MA" until I want to sink into the floor or buy her a pony with a solid gold saddle.

I want to tell her that there will be many toothbrushes in her life, and she will not love them like this one, but she can rest assured that her toothbrush will always be there for her.

I cannot tell her this. She understands like nine words altogether, and complexities of toothbrush relationships cannot be explained using the words "hello", "goodbye", "yay!", "no", and "doggy". She continues to yell. She is heartbroken

The love of her life is gone and Mommy (or Daddy) is the villain who stole it from her.

Then I hand her the empty plastic cup I just drank water out of and she chomps down on the edge of it, starting chewing, and forgets that the toothbrush ever existed.

She's happy... until I have to take the cup away.


  1. hahah she is sooo cute!! the kids I nanny LOVE toothbrushes! I don't understand it but I guess it's a good habit, right? ;)
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    1. I guess! I mean. I'll encourage it. I think the bristles just feel really good on those teething gums.

  2. Hold the phone, did you just say your child has FIVE TEETH?? No.

    (Also, don't tell the internet but Ros sleeps in my bed with blankets, pillows, and tiny lovey/stuffed animal.....)

    1. YES. Only now it's six, she's had one pop through since this entry was posted. SIX. TEETH.

      Hence, we haven't slept trhough the night in four days while it makes its slow, stubborn way through.

      (the internet heard you. prepare to be MOMMY JUDGED)


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