Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Spit or Swallow Debate

It is entirely possible I look like a troll doll. I have a button nose, my hair gets good and frizzy in the humidity and I have an adorable belly button.

But if I was going to have good self esteem about any part of my body it would definitely be the mouth region. I have a nice healthy smile. I take very good care of my teethies. I floss regularly. Brush regularly. I buy fluoride rinse by the jug. And I think my dentist might have a little crush on my “stunningly healthy gums.”

The second my daughter’s little teeth poked through the surface on her 10 month birthday I bought her a cute little Strawberry Shortcake toothbrush.

Gotta teach em young.

So we started with just water on the toothbrush. Two teethies got brushed two times a day. She was very cool with it and even tried to help. Enjoyed the bristles. Tried to brush the dog’s teeth one time…but you know, just passing on the knowledge of the tooth to the other living things in the house. I thought it was a good sign.

After 7 more teeth and 2 molars she was ready for the “training toothpaste.” This is a brilliant invention-yummy flavors, clear to avoid accidental staining, but most importantly it is toothpaste that one can swallow. No fluoride so no worries about tummy aches or white spots on the teethies. Just keeps getting them closer and closer to the real deal.

Well, now my daughter is almost 3. Almost all the teethies that she is going to get for a while are in. Almost ready for her first trip to the real dentist. Almost ready for a steak. And so close to ready for real big girl Strawberry Shortcake toothpaste-WITH FLUORIDE! Woooo.

But you see, in all my training I didn’t cross the “Spitting Bridge.” She has to learn how to spit in order to learn how to brush her teeth. SPIT. Put something in her mouth, make it all foamy, and spit spit spit into the sink.

How can something so healthy and so good for you be so contrary to everything I have taught her so far?

Spitting is disgusting. It is something that should never be done. Joggers spitting on the sidewalk get BIG MEAN EVIL stares of death from me. If anyone that I know even considers chewing tobacco-even once-I will disown them instantly. And my daughter has been taught that spit bubbles are the quickest way to make her mother bad scary angry.

Spitting is not ever cool. Ever. But now here I am actually TRAINING the fruit of my looms HOW to spit.

It’s one thing when I have to do it myself. I feel like it’s a completely separate element from the gross non toothpaste spitting. Somehow I feel anytime there is a minty foam involved it’s not horridly wrong. And the fact that I do it in the privacy of my own bathroom, well that helps too. But teaching her to “poo poo poo” in the sink? I feel like I’m teaching her how to burp the alphabet. Telling her “No Sweet Girl, you need to get MORE out. Spit harder!” ? Might as well be giving her a tutorial on how to scratch herself.

I have never had to go so far past myself to teach her something. I am so scared that she’ll use this knowledge for evil instead of good. But like any dentist will tell you, it is a necessary evil. She needs to learn to spit.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Fine. Yes, she needs to learn how to spit so she can get that great healthy smile. She needs to learn how to spit so she can use the big girl toothpaste so she can have her very own “stunningly healthy gums.” In one of the most perverse ironies of life, you have to learn how to spit so you can be more grown up.


On a bright note she has mastered flossing.


Nizo said...

Brilliant attention-grabbing title..

A Living Nadneyda said...

Actually, watching my 3-year-old spit after brushing his teeth is one of my great joys in life. Really.

(Also, "watering" the flowers, now that he is finally toilet trained - Thank G-d!).

Enjoy -- one day we'll miss this stage...