At almost 20 months, the whole teeth brushing thing has not yet become a chore to Evan. He loves it. (I know his Grammy, a semi-retired dental hygienist, is beaming with pride over this.) Whenever one of us heads to the bathroom to do anything, he trots behind us, standing on his tiptoes on Kostyn’s stool so he can point at the toothbrushes that are just out of his reach. “Teeeeeth!” he says, all smiles, over and over, until you wet his brush and hand it to him. Which I often do when I just want to finish brushing my teeth, or putting on makeup, or whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish at the bathroom sink.
Evan loves wetting his brush over and over under the running faucet, and he loves showing you his shiny white teeth when he’s finished. This amounts to saying “Seeee!” and then sticking his tongue out, so that all you see is pink tongue and no white teeth, but you fake it anyway and say “Wow, Evan! Look at those nice clean teeth!” and he beams and runs away.
Anyway, the thing about handing my toddler something in a distracted state (the way I usually am when I’ve come into the bathroom to accomplish some manner of personal hygiene as quickly as possible) is that I sometimes do not fully register that I’m handing it to him. And couple my distraction with the natural distracted tendencies of said toddler, and I often find the toothbrush 20 minutes later on the kitchen floor, or the playroom floor, or any number of places where people’s feet are supposed to be, not people’s toothbrushes. (I know, Ick. Just wait.)
So today I distractedly gave him his toothbrush. Ten minutes later the three of us were in the living room where I was talking to Kostyn and I noticed Evan was still gnawing on it. I was about to ask him for it when he looked at me, took the toothbrush out of his mouth and said, “More.” Then he made a beeline for the bathroom.
I reached him just as he lifted the toilet lid and said “Wawer,” poised to plunge his toothbrush into the toilet.
“Noooo!” I yelled so fiercely that I scared him. He jumped, looking at me, and his lip quivered as if he might cry. For an instant I was glad I’d gotten there just in time, and then I remembered that he’d just said “more” in the living room. As in, “Mmmm, that tasted sorta interesting. If anyone needs me I’ll be in the bathroom dunking my toothbrush into the toilet again.”
I grabbed the toothbrush and said, as calmly as I could, “Evan, no. This water is yucky. We never never never put anything in the potty.”
“O-Tay,” he said.
“Did you put your toothbrush in here?” I asked.
“Nooooo,” he said, shaking his head solemnly. I wanted to believe him. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to BOIL HIS MOUTH, which was the next goal my motherly instinct was telling me to accomplish.
But then I noticed the drops of water all over the toilet seat.
“Evan, did you put your toothbrush in here, to get it wet? Did you wet your toothbrush in the potty?” I asked.
“Yeaaaah,” he said, and you could tell that until about 10 seconds ago he had been pretty proud of this display of independence and ingenuity. I threw the toothbrush into the sink as if it were on fire, and allowed myself five seconds to do that ridiculous tongue-flapping “grossed out” dance we chicks do when we’ve seen or touched something that’s either disgusting or has several more legs than we do. Then I closed the lid of the toilet and scooped up my son, carrying him into the kitchen to boil his mouth.
“Don’t ever, ever, EVER put anything in the potty, OK Evan?” I said. “No, no, no. The potty is dirty. Yuck.”
“Yut,” he said.
“That’s right, yuck!”
“Yut!” he said, faking disgust to please Mommy.
Then because I couldn’t figure out how to boil is mouth, I boiled his toothbrush. (And his brother’s, for good measure.) And I vowed to do two things from now on:
- Institute a “Teethbrushing Only Under Strict Adult Supervision From Beginning to End” rule.
- Clean the toilet WAY more often.