Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'd like my teeth brushed in English, please.

Brushing a toddler's teeth is a royal pain. When I hadn't found a good way to do it yet I searched for advice on the subject and found suggestions on blogs, my local parenting listservs and the like. There were all kinds of crazy suggestions, but the one that seemed to be common to all of them was: Hey! Pretend there's an animal in your toddler's mouth! Tell him you need to reach waaay back there with the toothbrush and "get" the tiger that's hiding in his mouth!

I guess that worked for some people, or they wouldn't have suggested it. But I didn't even try it because it just sounded silly, and our evening teeth-brushing sessions degenerated into wrestling matches. (I love, love, love having twins, but one petty reason I'm slightly jealous of mothers of singletons? They only have one set of teeth to brush at night. I've always been somewhat overwhelmed by TWO sets of toddler teeth.)

Primo, though, is obsessed with numbers, and one night, I happened upon a brilliant solution, which consisted of, Hey! Let's see how high Mama can count while brushing your teeth! It worked. That boy is so enamored of the number one hundred that I think he would endure practically anything to hear me count that high. And Secondo, who was watching the merriment in the next crib over and giggling all the while, wanted in on the action, so the method worked with him too, although his limit was always around fifty, not a hundred.

The other day, though, Secondo rebelled and clenched his teeth together right after I started brushing. So I moved on to Primo, and started with my usual enthusiastic Uno! Dos! Tres!

Except he was having none of that, either. Instead, he grabbed the toothbrush from me and commanded: "English!" So I started over, in English, and we counted to one hundred, as usual. And though Secondo doesn't have the "English! EspaƱol!" thing down the way Primo does, he let me know by exclaiming, "One! Two! Three!" that he would like his teeth brushed in English too, please. I obliged, and I'll be damned if it didn't work.

I'm such a stickler for speaking Spanish. But for now, the boys apparently want their teeth brushed in English. So I'm going to go with that, if only for the sake of dental hygiene.

(Did I just write an entire post about brushing toddlers' teeth? I think I did. Anyone reading might want to just skip this one. Yeah.)

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