Friday, June 17, 2016

Squeaky Clean: How I Got My Toddler to Brush Her Teeth

This post was originally published on Parent.co. You can read the post in full here


With her pajamas finally on, I reach my hand up above my daughter’s belly, widen my eyes, and grin at her; she stills and begins to giggle in the middle of the long pause as she anticipates another round of tickle wrestling.

I growl playfully and plunge the tips of my fingers onto her belly, underarms, legs. The squeal of tickled laughter fills the tiny bedroom. This is my favorite part of the exhausting process that is the bedtime routine.

And then I remember. Dang it. It can wait until morning, right?
But tonight, Elmo toothpaste has apparently lost its appeal.

“Zoe, we forgot to brush your teeth,” I say, wishing I could have blocked that other part of me that whispered something about having to build consistent dental hygiene habits.

“Uh oh!” she replies smiling, the tickles still miraculously working their happy effect.

“I know, silly mama forgot. Let’s go to the bathroom, kiddo.”

We trudge down the hall and flip on the lights. I sigh as I lift her up to sit on the bathroom counter so she can only move so far. I pull out her generic caterpillar toothbrush and the Elmo toothpaste. In this house, Elmo wins everything, and so far, Elmo toothpaste has helped us with the teethbrushing routine. Thanks, Elmo.

“Please, Zoe, open your mouth. We need to brush your teeth!”

I am met with pursed lips. I don’t have the energy for pursed lips.

“Come on, Zoe, we can get it done really fast and then go rock and snuggle!”

Toddler bedtime ranks right up there with doing your taxes and driving the freeway during rush hour in the way that it can suck the life out of you...

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