Brush, brush, brush.

It seems like a small thing. I mean, in our daily lives. Seriously, does anyone remember how we first learned to brush our teeth...before we cared. Before we knew the consequences. Before we'd ever felt a dentist's drill? I certainly don't.

But I do now know the slight panic of comprehending for the first time the seemingly insuperable task of teaching a one-and-a-half-year-old - a child, mind you, with exceptionally fragile teeth thanks to her early lack of nutrition and her medical condition - to brush her teeth. Or, at very least, to allow her teeth to be brushed.

Yah. This is something I'd never considered, when I was reading up diligently on attachment issues, types of diapers, sign language, and nutrition.

So it was that after only a few weeks of trying with the actual toothbrush (in the beginning, I just mopped her teeth as quickly as humanly possible with a wash cloth, as the cleft team had advised) Q learned not only to let me brush her teeth top and bottom, front and back, but to brush them more or less effectively herself.
I am so impressed. Oh, man, am I impressed!

In the beginning, yeah, she fought me. She clamped down her jaws, or bit my fingers, or arched her back and thrashed around (briefly, it has to be said).
But these days, she lies back luxuriously in my lap, opens her mouth, and lets me go at it. She only closes her mouth (gently) when she needs to swallow.

We both had learning to do. She had to learn tolerance, patience and trust. I had to learn how to angle the brush so as to target her tiny teeth, without hitting the sensitive parts of her mouth, or her gag reflex.

These days, both of us having become accustomed to the routine, tooth brushing time is hunky dory.
Of course, in the process of accustoming her to the ritual, I ended up brushing the teeth of every toy, book and stuffed animal in her room, every night, for at least two or three weeks. So now, on those nights when she's feeling patient enough to brush her own teeth, she follows it up by brushing the teeth of all her toys as well.
And that's fine.
That's great.
I just feel so... lucky.


Snowflowers Mum said...

our girls both brush well, and do the cheshire grin and say "shiny?"

it was tough with both girls in the beginning, we had out fingers bitten a few times too.

Heather Thompson said...

motherhood is all about enjoying the "little things" that now we realize aren't so little after all! Congrats on the clean teeth:)