Ye 'Ole Teeth Brushing Fiasco
By Tom and Sherry Bushnell
Steps to Independence - Teeth Brushing
1. Resists having teeth brushed. In fact, teeth are clamped shut, you can't pry them open with a screwdriver!
2. Opens mouth for bubble gum flavored toothpaste only.
3. Permits having teeth and gums rubbed with an adult's finger or cloth. (For those who are very ticklish, or sensitive, if you steel yourself to brush a hysterical, laughing child, you've got a good beginning.)
4. Holds and chews on tooth brush. Is capable of turning the bristles into something resembling a 90-year-old, flattened, used, floor brush.
5. Permits teeth to be brushed with a tooth brush and tooth paste, but does not help. Swallows toothpaste and water alike, asks for more toothpaste.....more toothpaste.....more toothpaste.
6. Permits teeth to be brushed and helps hand over hand. Interested in the steps leading to toothpaste entering mouth. May wish to apply toothpaste to brush.
7. Finally gets sick of toothpaste snacks. Spits toothpaste and water out with gusto. Most of it lands down chin in a white river. The actual brushing of the teeth is a minor attraction compared to the fun of learning to spit properly.
8. Can find their own toothbrush. (unless baby brother happens to have found it). Finds toothpaste.
(Editor's note: With many children in the house we have found it helpful to give each child a separate toiletries bag with zipper. These are kept in their top dresser drawer, safe from middle-of-the-day marauders). Can use toothbrush, with some resemblance of accuracy. Needs help with putting toothpaste cap on and off, if indeed it still has one! Likes to receive input on exactly where to brush.
9. Finds toothbrush, applies toothpaste, brushes teeth, puts things back where they belong. Needs supervision to assure teeth get brushed thoroughly. Can learn a specific pattern in brushing to help get the job done well.
10. Doesn't need to be reminded to brush teeth. Does an accurate job.