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I Loved That Kate Gosselin Brushed Her Kids' Teeth Every Morning

Posted by Kristen on March 29, 2010 at 8:35 AM in Good Habits
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He crawled into bed with me this morning because he had only seen me for five minutes here and there all weekend.

K: Good morning, Ethan. I missed you. How was your weekend?
Ethan: Great, Mom. Dad bought us crackers with sugar on them.
K: Technically that is high fructose sugar but I saw them. Did you like them?
Ethan: (sighing) It was so great, Mom.
K: I know. What else did you do?
Ethan: Mom. We did what you said when you called. We didn't burn the house or even have to get stitches.
K: That was great, Buddy. Thanks so much for doing that for me. Did you brush your teeth yesterday before you went to bed since you had those crackers?
Ethan: NO, Mom. I don't like to brush my teeth.

Derek does the bath/books/bed every night but the teeth brushing seems to elude him and I don't know why. I mean, every single night as the kids are playing in the bath, he flosses and brushes his teeth while he is in the bathroom with them. How complicated is it to lean over into the tub and scrub, scrub, scrub the teeth that they have? If you are brushing your own teeth, why not the teeth of the three children less than three feet away from you? I don't even expect you to use a different tooth brush.

I was fascinated when I saw Kate Gosselin in her kitchen with the 8 tooth brushes lined up on the counter (and don't try to tell me you never watched the show). She made some remark about how she knew people were going to mock her for brushing her children's teeth but at least she knew her kids had clean teeth. Personally I chose to mock her for using 8 different tooth brushes (you could probably get away with 3 or 4 and just throw them out every 6 weeks) and for brushing the teeth in the kitchen. There are a lot of things I will do in my kitchen but brushing my teeth or the teeth of the ones I love is not on that list.

Fast forward to the Highly Public Dental Checkup and Cleaning Episode and hygienist after hygienist "oooh"-ing and "aaah"-ing over the excellent condition of every child's mouth. Looks like you had the last laugh, Kate. Well played.

So now, I too brush my children's teeth. At night I trudge up the stairs and load up tooth brush after tooth brush with toothpaste. I lean past my husband and brush, brush, brush. But what about the spitting, you ask? Let's be honest. Two out of three children swallow the toothpaste so there are no worries there. Third? Here's my hand. Nasty, yes. Effective, yes. No toothpaste on the pajamas after, YES!!! When I am away? Crusty teeth. But back to the conversation.

K: Ethan, if you don't brush your teeth, you will get cavities.
Ethan: I know, Mom. But it's okay. I have TWO sets of teeth. These ones with cavities will just fall out and then I can get new ones. And if you get cavities, you just go to the dentist and get them fixed anyway.

I blame DORA, who in her infinite childish wisdom in attempting to keep kids from fearing the dentist in her going to the dentist book, successfully convinced children everywhere that getting cavities is FUN and when you get one fixed, you get a sticker. It's not the first time Dora has annoyed me and it won't be the last.

K: Ethan, if you don't learn to take care of your teeth now, your second set of teeth might fall out too and there are no more teeth after that.
Ethan: How about fake teeth? Wait. If my teeth fall out, then I can get FAKE TEETH??? I can get fake teeth. I CAN'T BELIEVE I CAN GET FAKE TEETH!!!

Along the way, something just got lost in the conversation and there was no way to get it back. I guess brushing your teeth is just something you have to do because the consequences angle is clearly missed by some kids. Or maybe it's just mine?


Jess writes...

Maybe he needs to see those ultra-scary full-color photos of periodontal disease that are on the wall of every dentist's exam room? You know, the one with the caption that goes something like THIS IS YOUR MOUTH IF YOU DON'T FLOSS FIVE TIMES A DAY...YOU HYGIENELESS HEATHEN.

We mostly brush the kids' teeth, too. One dentist told me that the parents should do all the brushing until the kid is 9. NINE. Who is she kidding? But it did convince me that letting the 3 y/o chew on his brush and calling it good was probably not sufficient.

Totally feel you on not brushing in the kitchen. All spitting happens in the bathroom here. Bathtub, even better. Grossed me out until my husband pointed out that they drink the water, anyway, and that toothpaste is only soap.

Jess writes...

I thank you for making me literally laugh out loud today.

Ethan can call Jack and ask how it feels to get a shot in the mouth, maybe he will consider brushing his teeth then.

Amber writes...

"It's not the first time Dora has annoyed me and it won't be the last."

Amen, sister. Amen. That line had me laughing out loud.

Mary Ellen writes...

It has only gotten better with Elijah since first grade has been covering it. Yes! Since he will only listen to the teacher anyway. They even handed out egg timers! Yes!! :)

Jean writes...

Here's my tip for getting little ones to brush their teeth and have fun doing it, even more fun than Dora's cavities! When my daughter was three and resisted brushing her teeth, I told her we were going on an animal safari. When she opened her mouth I said, "Oh, I see an elephant in the back of your mouth, can you brush it with your toothbrush? And there is a giraffe, and a lion!" Each time I called out an animal she would brush her teeth a little more. She had such fun looking for animals with her tooth brush that she couldn't wait to brush her teeth the next time.

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