Teeth Brushing

Some people have trouble getting their kids to brush their teeth before bed.

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It makes sense.

Kids don’t want to brush their teeth because it means bedtime looms. The party is over.

Fortunately, I don’t have this problem. Ever. I love the bedtime routine! It always is so simple and easy and nobody ever complains! I just don’t understand what other parents are talking about, bedtime routine is lovely. It marks the end of a perfect and lovely day. Always.

Believe me? No? Good. Just making sure you were paying attention. 

I do have a super secret awesome way to get my kids to brush their teeth without fuss though.

just-brush-your-teeth-2

Open wide! Make sure you get those sharp teeth in back!

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Smile like a monkey and get those side teeth!

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A mouse would keep his front teeth really clean!

Some would call my super secret awesome method “playful parenting” or “engaged parenting” or other fancy things that make me look like a good parent. But really, I’m just tricking them. They have no idea we aren’t actually playing.

However.

It takes energy to do this.

I don’t always have energy.

Sometimes, no most of the time, it looks more like this:

just-brush-your-teeth-6

Those nights when I’m exhausted and can’t possibly pretend to be a monkey?

Those nights when my patience is worn thin?

Those nights when I just need them to go to bed so I can finally have a moment alone?

Those are the nights when nothing works.

Crappy Law of Parenting #10: The nights when you are exhausted and just need them to go to bed are the nights when they fight every single step of the bedtime routine.

(See more Crappy Laws of Parenting here. And I should mention that I have a whole chapter of these in my book. 50 of them in fact. But you’ll have to wait a few more months for that.)

Do you enjoy the bedtime routine? Don’t lie. Unless it is funny.

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218 Responses to Teeth Brushing

  1. Kendra says:

    My husband handles the bedtime routine with our boys (5 and 3). I call it their “quality” time when really I’ve just suckered him into it while I play on the computer or lock myself in our bedroom and watch grown-up shows.

    • Kirsty says:

      Ours like brushing their teeth. They willingly go to bed and stay in their rooms until 7.30. I must have seriously f*cked up somewhere :)

      • Kim says:

        I think you just got really, REALLY lucky. Enjoy it, but please do so quietly. My daughter is screaming like I beat her with a stick because I told her she needs clean socks EVERY DAY. ;)

        • Emily S. says:

          I know what you mean! My kids are really upset that they must brush their hair daily… wear new underwear even if they didn’t take a bath… and STAYING in bed? HA! The two older ones do, but it took years for that! The boys, that’s going to take some doing. And the teeth brushing, ugh. They’ll do their own, but they don’t really get it. Those front two teeth sure are clean!

          • PattyLA says:

            I asked my daughter to brush her hair. Her reply? “I brushed my hair yesterday and I’ll brush it tomorrow.”

      • Kennedy says:

        Kirsty I must have f*ucked up too then. My older two just go and get ready, brush teeth, and tuck themselves in. The 22 month old lets us brush her teeth no problem (I think she just likes the bubble gum tooth paste to be honest) and then all we have to do is make sure she has kissed everyone good night before laying her down in her big girl bed (aka mattress on the floor- she is a roller lol) and *boom* girl is out. Baby boy is the only one that takes a bit of coaxing but he is 6 months so I cut him some slack. And all of them stay happily in their beds until I come and get them every morning.

        Yeah…I’m pretty sure I have done something very wrong in my parenting… ;o)

    • Veronica says:

      My husband has done bedtime routine on the nights he’s home their WHOLE lives. I call it me time. He enjoys it, the kids ACTUALLY LISTEN (and go to bed like angels, seriously, wtf). I love nights when he’s home (typically 3-4 nights a week).

    • Amanda says:

      That’s bath time at our house! ;o)

    • Sarah says:

      I feel so much less guilty knowing I’m not the only one who makes daddy do bedtime so I can hang on the computer.

      • Raquel says:

        Me too! I tricked my husband into the “quality time” bedtime routine for our older kid (4yo). Still working on it for the younger one (9mo), though…

        • Charlie says:

          I’m a Dad. We’re not “tricked”. We get that you need some time to yourself and bedtime (once you get it down) isn’t that tough. I’m not up multiple times every night nursing the baby, so it’s a traed I’m happy to make. ;-)

        • Yvonne says:

          Mine isn’t emotionally mature enough to put two kids to bed on his own without having a mental breakdown.

          • Beth says:

            Ha! I’m convinced mine is mentally challenged. No other way to explain his lack of ability/motivation. Gonna start calling him “Lenny”…

            (as in Lenny from the book Of Mice and Men)

  2. Kirsty says:

    You had me at the title of the post – that’s exactly what we sing to make my toddler brush his teeth. Each verse ends with an utterly non-scanning thing we’ve done that day (“when we’ve been to the zoo and seen monkeys and giraffes and penguins”!). He loves it and dances while he brushes. You can tell the days I don’t have energy because the verses end “when we’ve refused to eat any of our dinner and thrown it on the floor” and other such fun comments!

    Of course “teeth time” is preceeded by about an hour of “no bed, no bed”, which often starts during dinner time as he realises that if he finishes his dinner then at some point bed time will come!

  3. SusieQ says:

    ah, so familiar. I have this battle regularly so recently I showed my 2 and 4 year old boys some photos from internet of rotten teeth. Now the 4 year old panics about teeth cleaning and has tearful rows about wanting to get up and do them again after he has gone to bed. Overkill on my part…maybe….

    • Carrie says:

      Hahahahaa! Nice. Better safe than sorry.

    • Chris B. says:

      LOVE IT! Totally going to Google images to share with my kids. (Disclaimer – my boys are 9 and 12 and are pretty good at brushing but hey, never hurts to put a scare into them.)

    • Molly says:

      When my oldest was 5ish, and really hated brushing his teeth, we were watching the movie Iceman, which has a guy with really nasty teeth. My mom told him ‘that is what your teeth are gonna look like’, well he sat there for a little while, then slipped out of the room to brush his teeth. LOL! Yeah a little scare does some good sometimes! He is 32 now, and has his own boy ;)

    • kelleyellen says:

      hahahah! totally going to remember this when my 1 year old decides she *doesn’t* love brushing her teeth (now she wants to brush her every.single.time we walk by the bathroom).

    • Ceri says:

      I just have to say, watch out! Don’t scare them too bad. (not in a bad way like I am judging you for doing it just as a PSA) Do you know you can brush your teeth too hard!?!? And brush away your GUMS! WTF?? I have done such an awesome job brushing my own teeth, I have brushed away my gums. GUMS DON’T GROW Back! Again WTF? How am I 35 and do not know all this?? How have I come to the age of 35 growing up with dental care getting my twice a year cleaning but not finding this out until I went to a new dentist this year?? Anyway, I have always brushed my sons teeth, and now I fear I have been brushing away his gums too…. UGH!

      • Janelle says:

        Do not fear so, love. I, too, have brushed too emphatically and worn away my gums in doing so. Add to that my propensity for grinding which apparently pushes the gums away from the teeth as well from the pressure and I have double whammy’ed my gums away. Anyway, you *should* brush your gums, just gently. There is bacteria and plaque that extends onto the gums and needs brushing away (& it feels good too! Like a gum massage). The best thing for you is a healthy use of floss and burning mouth wash (ACT is what my dentist recommended highly).

        I doubt that your gums are all that bad if your dentist for years never said anything to you about it. Your new dentist is probably using the fear tactic to get you to floss more and brush more gently. It’s ok. Promise. :)

        (I’m 38 and basically got the same line of scare tactic around age 31.)

        • Carol Gardens says:

          Yikes!That is scary! My gums started growing when I started drinking green tea,every day.The dentist was all,”Wow.You are taking good care of everything,now!”I said,”Nope…drinking more green tea.”

  4. Gingerert says:

    My three and a half year old takes… ooh… 20 mins to put to bed if there are TWO adults working on him and he doesn’t have a bath. If one person does it, with a bath, you are looking at an hour, minumum.

    My five month old takes literally five minutes… or maybe 10 with a bath.

    The nights I have to put my eldest to bed by myself are the ones I dread. *JUST GO TO BEDDDD!!*

    • J says:

      20 min … uh oh, I think that’s the length of time it takes my 5 year old to put on his pjs … on a good night … ;)

      If bedtime for our 3 and 5 year old to bed takes only an hour, it’s a good night. Bad nights … never end. We NEVER do bedtime baths – as each child wants a full hour, at least.

      We rotate bedtime responsibility. No point making everybody miserable every night! And then I am able to get myself through the torture by thinking, I don’t have to do this tomorrow night!

      • Ceri says:

        I finally demanded a rotation too, after 3 years of I get him ready and bush the teeth and hubby read the story, I was like HEY! I am getting the crappy side of this deal. Now we switch. I make hubby do it way more because he has 3 years of catching up to do. (my son is 5)

    • Liah says:

      My 13 year old takes 20 minutes to get ready for bed. My 5 yo takes 20 minutes to get in his pjs.

  5. Angela says:

    I have a trick too, It’s a song from leap frog ~ The Letter Factory. vowel sounds make them keep their mouths open. Especially the “O” (the o says ahhhhh, the o says ahhhhh, every letter makes a sound, the o says ahhhhhwwwwwwwwww). then we can get in there and brush their teeth.

  6. Kristin says:

    OMG! Brilliant! I have to try the animal thing! My little guy loves making animal noises. And happens to hate brushing his teeth. He won’t even show me his teeth, for fear I may try to brush them…

  7. Leslie says:

    LOL!! I’m just about peeing my pants from laughing so hard!!!! hahahahahahahahaha (I also have 5 & 3 y/o boys that I “pawn off” on my husband at bedtime…which also happens to be when he gets home from work, so he doesn’t complain)

  8. Amy says:

    You’ve gotta get them a ToothTunes toothbrush! I am not a representative of whatever company makes them. I just know my 4.5 year old son will stand there and dance to the music (Black Eyed Peas – Tonight’s Gunna Be A Good Night) until the song ends with his toothbrush apparently moving in his mouth. It’s amazing because before this, it was a nightly battle to get him to brush. I swear by them – worth the risk of investment with much less Mama effort.

  9. jen says:

    Funny how true this is. I have one who wont brush and desperately needs to, no amount of playful engaging parenting will do the trick…he will fight NO.MATTER.WHAT

    The other one is the one who lies down and says “oops we forgot to brush my teeth” then hops up to do it…in fact the other day we are in the car on the way to grandma’s and he says “OH NO!” And I reply “OMIHECK! What? WHAAT??? WHATTTTT????” His response “I.FORGOT.TO.BRUSH.MY.TEEEEEETHHHHH!”

  10. Olivia says:

    I soooo fully agree with Law#10!! “Those nights” I also try to leave the routine to hubby so I don’t commit murder…

  11. I’m trying that tonight! I already use that scam for eating (“take a dinosaur bite”); so it should work. Thank you!

    • Jess says:

      Jenn, us too! ours is a tic-tock-crock though. I can just see the tick-tock-crock snapping on my fingers as I help him brush though… uh oh…

  12. Kari says:

    My daughter is only 1 year old, and she already hates brushing her teeth. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when she’s older. We’re in trouble…

  13. Kimberly says:

    Our bedtime ritual tends to change every few months, but right now it’s awesome, because we just bought a big boy bed and the bloom is still on the rose, so I can make bedtime sound really exciting. Fingers crossed this one lasts a while.

    Also, your dinosaur/monkey/mouse technique is brilliant. I may have to try that just as a teaching aid.

  14. Christine says:

    Not a mom but a full time nanny to three kids…the only problem I have with the 2 and a half year old is that he likes to try every tube of toothpaste in the house every time…mom and dad each have their own preferred toothpaste, big sister has her own toothpaste, big brother has his own toothpaste(he hates minty so he gets strawberry flavour) and baby gets his own toothpaste too. (actually he’s just running through the stock of brands we bought when big brother was being a pain about which toothpaste he liked!) but that means 5 different teeth brushing in two different bathrooms!!! Thankfully I don’t do the bedtime run and in the mornings we have lots of time!

    • SD Murray says:

      Maybe you could pre-load the toothbrush with a tiny bit from each tube so he only brushes once. Call it a super combo or something “mega” …mega mouth! Hopefully it will save time.

  15. Teresa says:

    OH yes. I get it. We have a super elaborate bedtime routine, and there are MANY nights that I want him to just go the F to bed. Mommy’s too tired to be a ghost and do jump hugs and read a super long story and wrestle you down for teeth-brushing. AAAH!

  16. Ginger says:

    OMG you have no idea how much I want to read your book! It will probably be the first book I will have ever bought in years (excluding text books–bc those don’t count).
    You should do a post on toddler discipline, my 17 month old is starting to tantrum ALOT. Little drama king throws himself on the floor lol.

    • Rachel says:

      Go all ‘broken record’ on him by repeating over and over “We do not negotiate with terrorists”.

      He may not know all the words, but he’ll get the meaning pretty quickly.

    • Melissa says:

      YES! A tantrum post please! Not sure if you did one already but it deserves another if you did!!

    • S says:

      My kid started doing that, and I told him he could lie n the floor while I went back to my dinner, and he became flummoxed. A different day, he tried it on grandma, who jollied him out of his lie-down tantrum.

      My approach to handling tantrums varies on the level of parental tolerances and the level of toddler tolerance for frustration. “Teaching” moments works best when kid is trying it on. “Jollying” moments work best when kid is at edge of losing self-control/awareness and needs help to get back to sanity.

      It also depends on why the kid is losing it. Is it because his Play is interrupted? Or is he pushing boundaries because he hasn’t been taught the boundaries? Or, has he learned new behaviours from the kids at day care and he’s experimenting with them in a new context? (I’m sure that’s it; he was such a good boy previously!)

  17. I have my 4 year old convinced that if she doesn’t brush her teeth they will all fall out and she’ll be forced to eat nothing but mushy Brussels Sprouts. She now brushes her teeth approxmately 17 times a day.

  18. Cheryl P. says:

    Umm, hmm, well, uh, my child, he’s three years old and well, he just loves to brush his teeth. In fact, in the middle of the day he’ll say, “Mommy, my teeth are dirty. I need to brush my teeth.” I don’t know where it came from. He just does it.

    Another confession, he loves to clean too. I don’t know where he gets that either.

    *shrugs*

    • Amanda says:

      OMGoodness! I have one of those cleaning children too (didn’t come from me)…it’s good when I need to get jobs done :) but not so fun when he makes me clean up when I don’t want to haha!

  19. hahaha! I don’t have kids, but I still think your posts are hilarious. Thanks for making me laugh. Often.

    Ms. CrankyPants

  20. Nikki says:

    We have an app in Australia called Macleans Nurdle. They sing the Nurdle Durdle song, complete with instructions, reward points and outfits to trade them for. Seriously, the only argument now is who gets to go first! A singing, dancing, animated squirt of toothpaste did the trick – who knew!

    • Yoli says:

      OMG, I know the exact song you are referring to! Except in the U.S. it was paired with Aqua Fresh toothpaste. It’s a super little jingle that got my, then 1yo, interested in allowing us to brush her teeth.
      Now, a 3yo, and she insists on doing it herself, half-assed and all…

  21. Bethany says:

    I’ll have to try that when mine gets old enough to brush her teeth. I do have a trick or two up my sleeve for other things though ;) But, really, how do they always know when you’re exhausted and desperately need a break? If I’m really excited to actually put my feet up and watch tv or read at naptime (or even if I REALLY need to get something done), those are always the days she won’t take a nap…sigh.

  22. Tiffany says:

    This made me crack up! My boys are little bit older than yours. There are threats of the dentist finding cavities. I believe the words “rot,” “drill,” and “needles” get thrown around. We even watched an instructional video on youtube about how a dentist fills a cavity.

  23. Dawn Rosiello says:

    I “brush” my 15 month old’s teeth every night before bed. And by brush I mean he sucks the toothpaste off the bristles and then uses it as a teether. Also tried one of those finger brushes (aka a good way to lose your fucking hand in the vice grip of your toddler’s mouth). They’re gonna’ fall out anyway….right?

    • amber says:

      Totally. This set is a throw away.

      • Colleen Potvin says:

        Just be careful, sometimes damage done to those “throw away” teeth can effect the second permanent set. Check with a dentist to be sure. A girl who went to school with me had some repercussions when her permanent teeth came in.

  24. serenity says:

    HAHA, yep.

  25. Susan says:

    I’ve resorted to some really quality parenting tactics. I told my 3 yo daughter that if she doesn’t brush her teeth, they’ll turn black and fall out of her head, and she won’t be able to eat. Then I took it a step further. I did a google image search for “rotten teeth” and showed her the results. They were so disgusting that I couldn’t look because I started gagging. She was spellbound. Or was that scarred for life? Hmmmm. Not sure, but it worked.

  26. Vickie says:

    I have two boys aged 4 and 5.5 (yes the half is important) The half is important because my eldest used to eat anything and everything i fed him, he also used to brush his teeth no problems at all, then he hit 5 years 6 months and now food and teeth brushing is like trying to push shit(The sloppy kind) up hill. Thank god my 4 year old LOVES brushing his teeth. My 5.5 yr old WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Make it stop…. LOL

    • amber says:

      That is interesting. I saw a change as we edged towards six too. And here I was told it would get EASIER as they got older. We’ve been tricked!

      • Erin says:

        I have a 5.5 year old as well, and I’m glad to know that we’re not the only parents with a suddenly picky eater! He used to eat tons of things and now only eats things that involve bread and cheese (grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc, etc). To get him to brush his teeth I got him a lightsaber toothbrush (he LOVES StarWars) that lights up for 1 minute and told him he needs to keep brushing until it stops.

        • Sara says:

          Yet again, feeling not-so-alone. My 5-and-3-month-old is suddenly only eating spaghetti with butter for every meal. Fortunatley, I have discovered a pasta with protein and Omega-3 in it, so I don’t feel too bad. Also, fortunatley, he’ll still eat whatever vegetable I put as a side.

          • Melly says:

            My 5.5 year old went opposite with food-used to be fussy and is now starting to try different things. However, this is paired with an attitude from hell. At 5 he was still my sweet little toddler like boy, 5 years 6 months hit and boom! Mr narky smart arse! Maybe it’s the ood he’s beginning to try?? lol

    • Devan says:

      Yeah….between 5 and 6 they get possesed by the devil! People say 3 is bad, I disagree – 6 is the WORST!! And how is it like flipping a switch? I don’t understand what happens to them, brain growth?? UGH!

  27. Veronica says:

    My kids are freaks. They LOVE brushing their teeth and love going to the dentist. LOL. Seriously. LOVE. Usually they’re coming to me to ask to brush their teeth. This is good since they have likely inherited my soft enamel.

  28. Leia says:

    My son says he wants his teeth to be dirty. So we tell him we have special dirt paste for his teeth. Then ask him to be a crocodile. When that fades we start taking away the amount of books he gets for bedtime. Love those electric toothbrushes for extra scrubbing power.

  29. Charlotte says:

    The brushing teeth part of the bedtime routine is HOR-RI-BLE! We have an 18 month old and a 3 year old who BOTH want to stand on the teeny tiny step stool, at the same time. Neither can wait. Then neither refuse to actually BRUSH, they just pretend brush and spit. When I take over, wailing ensues. And for a while hubby did it, because I couldn’t stand the struggle, but the dentist told us off, because the teeth of our youngest are not brushed properly. Which means, I’m back on teeth brushing duty. *sigh* I’ve tried finding a second step stool, but they did not have one when I checked last. :(

    The best part of the bedtime routine, which we started about one month ago, is me cuddling with my daughter for 5-10 minutes before I plop her in bed. Finally, after 17 months, she goes to bed and sleeps through the night. Amazing the energy one gets from an entire nights worth of sleep…

  30. Melissa says:

    I told my 3 year old that his teeth will turn black and fall out if he doesn’t brush them (!) I usually don’t say things like that but I was desperate one night. Once I made the mistake of letting him choose which room we brush his teeth in….now he’s always changing his mind:”‘Brush teeth in kitchen! No! Brush teeth in living room!” *sigh* …and so on.

    • Charlotte says:

      It is true though… as a child I constantly sipped kool aid and was a terrible brusher. By the time I was 3, all my teeth were black and rotted. Luckily my permanent teeth were generally ok, though I seem to be more prone to cavities than others.

  31. Libby says:

    One night when my own crappy boy was refusing to brush and in a moment of frustration I told him that if he didn’t brush every tooth lady bugs would crawl into his mouth at night. I’m not proud of threatening him with something gross or scary but it worked! I’m sure it will backfire later on, whatever!

  32. Kate says:

    We got ours to LOVE brushing when we found light up brushes (bonus they were the cheap ones too!) Next round we couldn’t find them again BUT we found light up lightsaber ones instead. I was tempted to get one for myself too.

    • Katie says:

      We just got the lightsaber toothbrushes for Christmas. My boys (3 and 6) LOVE them. They are very excited to brush, at least for another week or so.

  33. Melinda says:

    Brushing itself is one thing we haven’t had to battle with our 4 and 5 yr olds. However, getting them to brush long enough to actually do any good has been trouble. I used to sing ridiculous songs in different voices but a few months ago their dentist gave them each a flashing toothbrush. They flash for one minute so each kid knows how long they have to brush for (they do it twice). Getting them in bed is the easy part for us; getting them to sleep is always a lot harder! And yes, they know when mom just needs them to sleep and both throw the biggest fits and don’t fall asleep until 10pm.

  34. Caroline says:

    My boys are 5, 4 and 2 and they will all willingly brush their teeth. They don’t complain or whinge at bedtime either…I didn’t realise how lucky I was there until I read the stories from you other poor mums.
    Mind you they make up for it by fighting like cat and dog all day – they are probably too tired to put up a fight at bedtime after all that!

  35. Andrea says:

    My two and a half year old loves to brush. Or – loves to do what he considers brushing. Grabbing the toothbrush, sucking off the toothpaste, then brushing his tongue. Then he’s done. But he would happily do it 20 times a day.

    • S says:

      Okay, so the sucking toothpaste is normal. That’s a relief. I’ve become too fatigued to worry about not following toothpaste instructions for the kid to spit.

      For a while, my kid included a routine to Brush Teeth of a popped Popple(tm). With his toothbrush.

  36. Jenn From VT says:

    My daughter was always easy about brushing her teeth. My son has been a terror. We got sick of fighting him to let us do it and now he does it himself. He is only 21 months old but I figure what ever little bit he is getting is more then we were getting when he would clench his jaw and we could not even get the tooth brush in.

  37. Jo says:

    Bed time and dinner are the tyrannies of motherhood.

  38. heathermama says:

    ok, so as not to jinx myself… fingers crossed and all that… we have yet to have a toothbrush hater. bath haters? YES!, and all other parts of getting them to bed? YES! but somehow out of six kids none has really fought the teeth brushing. (thank god)
    and BTW i love the little swearing bit. it cracked me up… because i am like that in my head too. “just f’ing to the thing… please, god, just DO IT!!!”

  39. Allison says:

    Thank you for this! I was still looming over my kid in bed making weird faces so that he’d open his mouth. That’s step 12 in our night time routine. For a kid who allows me to leave the room and turn off the light while he’s awake, you’d think it would be easier, but after the bath, pajama chase, books, bed toy roundup, and elaborate cover arranging, I usually stumble out and collapse.

  40. Myssie says:

    We often are forced by the three year old to play dentist office. She reads a book in the bed room while we call her name. and call her name. and call her name to have her yell “I canceled!”

  41. Priscilla says:

    Oh, gosh. My 3yo son just wants to suck the toothpaste off the brush. I found him one day a few months ago in the bathroom with top off the toothpaste sucking it down. He resists brushing, so I told him we had to “tickle” his teeth to make them laugh. And we stole a song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse about “top top, bottom bottom, middle middle middle” (it’s actually about burping a baby, but it makes brushing more fun). Maybe one day we won’t have to make such a production of it? Or maybe not.

  42. Lisa says:

    We do “The Little Mermaid” during teeth brushing time. You know, we sing “Aaaahh, aaahh, aaahaah, aaaahhhhh!!” That way they open nice and wide and I can get the back teeth. I still haven’t figured out a good trick for the front teeth, I tell them “Go grrrrr!” and they refuse. Ugh!

    • Sara says:

      For the fronts, I use, “give me an ‘e’.” He still tries to talk through it, but I remind him, “Hold the ‘e’ please.”

  43. Elaine says:

    I have the opposite problem and it’s just about as annoying! I can’t get my 2 and 4 yr old girls to STOP brushing their teeth! The youngest takes hers even on car rides! Totally obsessed with it lol. Now my oldest (9) I have to constantly remind and check. Maybe cuz he’s a boy?

  44. Sarah says:

    We have the initial tantrum of not wanting to brush our teeth, the tantrum during the brushing teeth process, and then the tantrum when we need to put the toothbrushes away because suddenly, we love brushing our teeth. Don’t even get me started on putting on our pjs. I’ll happily admit there have been days where I’m so far down the dead tired road, in the end I’ve given up and they’ve just gone to bed with whatever I have been able to dress them in on whatever part of their body- if this means undies on their head and a sock, then so be it. Lifes like that. Now hand me the wine.

    My girls, 3 and 2, I swear… just do these things to screw with my mind.

  45. Bethany says:

    A bunch of people have mentioned their kids under two brushing. Mine’s 18 months and we haven’t started brushing yet, is that terrible? In theory I wipe her teeth with a washcloth but I usually forget or get bitten. We even bought some baby toothpaste and a brush months ago, lol. My excuse has been that she only had four teeth for the longest time (and didn’t start getting teeth till almost one) but now she’s got more coming in. I guess I should bite the bullet…

    • Amy says:

      With our first son we sorta both ‘forgot’ to build that ritual into habit as well, so he actually did get a cavity at the ripe old age of 3. We’re on top of things now that we have two boys – you do the best you can and suffer the details later I suppose. With our little one (16 months) we just let him chew on it and play games where I get a couple good strokes in on his teeth… nothing too serious, and hopefully he’ll have my good-teeth genes and avoid the ‘suger bugs’ as the pediatric dentist calls them.

      • Bethany says:

        Maybe we’ll brush tonight! My husband and I both have terrible teeth and I swore that our kids would brush twice a day (I wasn’t good about brushing when I was younger). I guess I’m not off to a good start, lol.

      • Michelle says:

        We neglected to build in the nightly brushing habit with our (now) 6-yo. Mostly because the bedtime ritual routinely takes 60+ minutes without bathing. (We tell ourselves that it’s our “quality family time” so that we don’t feel so useless as parents.) :-) Consequently, we have had to fill a cavity this year…I’m hoping the “saving grace” is that insurance recommends (and covers) an enamel coating to protect the long-term back teeth, and the short-term front teeth will fall out soon…

        Also hoping she gets my good teeth and eventually develops the habit when she starts worrying about having bad breath…!

        • Bethany says:

          We started “brushing” her teeth last night. I don’t know how much good it did but hopefully it will get her in the habit :) I’m still suffering from my poor dental hygiene as my adult teeth started coming in, I don’t want that to happen to my little darling!

          • Ceri says:

            Also find a dentist if you can afford it. I did not take my son to one until he was 3 and my dentist says 1 year is a good idea to start. They will help you with teaching them to brush their teeth, and just get them used to being at the dentist… Also my dentist told me that you get a better brush if they are laying down. So my son is 5 and we only recently stopped brushing his teeth on his changing table in his room. ( 2 cups a clean water cup and a rinse cup to spit in)

        • Devan says:

          My 6 year old came home from school and said some kids call her stinky breath. I hadn’t made brushing a habbit either, I TRY to now, and I got her some ACT she does it in the mornings. It is just so problematic….so much easier to skip it. *sigh*

  46. Sapphyre says:

    I can’t even motivate myself to brush my teeth, let alone my kids. Sigh. There’s only so much you can fit into a day… not sure why teeth brushing fell off my list, but as a working full-time mum as well as being a carer I gave up on doing everything I should and just tried to concentrate on doing the most important things.

    My New Year’s resolution is to brush my teeth at least once a day. So far I’ve managed it 50% of days lol.

  47. Brittany says:

    I also have the opposite problem. My two-year old will not stop brushing her teeth. I have to force her out of the bathroom to go to bed, resulting in tantrum time. She also enjoys using her toothbrush to scratch those hard to reach places…like when she had a really bad diaper rash one time. She was “airing out” and having some naked time, walks into the kitchen with the toothbrush and proceeds to brush away at her crotch. Needless to say, I’ve had to replace her toothbrush many times.

    • S says:

      Maybe get her a special crotch brush?

      My kid uses his toothbrush to get the hard-to-reach places, like the toilet seat hinge…
      No kid, you are not putting That in my mouth.

  48. Kristen says:

    Used to suck here too but now we have Light Saber toothbrushes that light up for a minute. They brush first and then we turn it on again for our turn and it’s all good.

    Also, I want one.

  49. Charlene says:

    Hahaha so funny!

    In our house teeth brushing isn’t a huge battle (though they fight over who gets to have their teeth brushed first and my 5 year old cries if he is not the winner) but pyjammas are. When I announce it’s time to put pyjammas on they start running (and they are faster than me) around the house and doing anything they can to avoid the dreaded pyjammas. They love their bedtime stories though and so most of the time I can connvince them to get dressed by threatening to withold their bedtime books. On nights where I am exhausted and have no patience I toss their jammies in a pile on the living room floor and go to bed. Then my husband has to wrestle them through the routine.

  50. Elisabeth says:

    My kid brushes his teeth like a champ, whenever asked, sometimes without being asked … I’m an awesome mom … who has a 5 year old sleeping in her bed every last damn night. Yep, I’m great at the bedtime routine, I just forgot to insist that he sleep in the appropriate bed.

    • Sara says:

      You’re not alone. My five year old GOES to bed in his own each night, but ends up in mine sometime (mostly unnoticed) every night, too. Love the cuddle time in the morning, though. And have convinced myself that this too (soon) will pass.

  51. Lately, Baguette has taken to brushing her teeth during her bath. She does a terrible job of it, and she dunks the brush in the water, but I figure what the hell, I can’t keep her from drinking it anyhow.

  52. Carrie says:

    Unless my husband is not home for some reason, I refuse to take part in the bedtime routine. I’m usually hiding in my bedroom by that point in the evening.

  53. Yikes, am I the only one that doesn’t brush my kids’ teeth before bed. Shame. We do it inthe morning, of course… usually.

    • Phaedra says:

      We usually do it at bed time, and skip the morning. No way I’m going to take the time for another teeth brushing more than once a day.

      • Lacey S says:

        We brush at night because I have to drop my son off at the daycare at 6am and he’s usually still asleep. When he starts going to school later, hopefully we can work up to brushing twice a day because his morning breath is BAD….

  54. heather says:

    love this! we’ve had some luck with the “cavity bug” concept, where the child is a superhero eradicating the cavity bugs that are attacking his teeth. Not as fun as monkeys, but (bonus) not interactive on the parent’s part since the bug-fighter is the kid.

  55. Rhonda says:

    I’m a lucky one.. My 4 year old sees the routine as a stall to keep him from going to bed.

    “Time for bed!”
    “NOOOO!!”
    “First you can go potty, brush your teeth, and get your jammies on”
    “OK!”

    Mind you, I have to struggle to get him to hurry up and get each of these things done, but we get there without too much hastle.

  56. Michelle says:

    I did not mind it when I had one kid. Fast forward to now, with 4 boys. I hate it. Every second. I used to feel guilty about it, but gave that up years ago. Some nights those teeth just don’t get brushed!

  57. Desiree says:

    My oldest and youngest love brushing their teeth. The two in the middle don’t love it, but tolerate it with little trouble. But, getting them to actually stay in bed after they brush is a whole different story.

  58. Michelle says:

    I swear you have a camera set up in my bathroom! We do the EXACT same thing, Lion, Monkey and a mouse. I HATE tooth brushing time with a passion.

  59. Morgan says:

    Super hero toothbrushes for the win! And the electric ones are even more exciting. That part of our routine just got a lot easier. Phew!

  60. Jenn says:

    My new secrets to get my kiddos to brush their teeth: Cupcake Toothpaste (tastes like frosting) and Bacon Toothpaste (tastes like bacon). I found these on ThinkGeek and bought them for the kiddos. They’ve never been so excited about brushing their teeth!
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e77b/?pfm=Search&t=toothpaste

  61. Susie says:

    Last night I told my 3 yr old he would get bugs in his teeth like the Grinch if he didn’t brush his teeth…and that they climb in thru his ears. I felt a bit guilty but it worked!

  62. Melissa says:

    My child hates brushing her teeth simply because she has to STOP TALKING for 3 whole minutes.

  63. Shawna K. says:

    My 5 yr old daughter was good about brushing her teeth UNTIL a little girl in her class has a ‘gold’ tooth. When she first asked about it, I had no idea I was going to regret this conversation later… ‘why is her tooth gold?’, she asked-having no idea my daughter LIKED the idea. ‘ Well, she probably had a bad cavity from eating too mch sugar and not brushing her teeth.’ I was positive I was scaring her into being an avid toothbrusher for life-Wrong! Now she doesnt want to brush, she wants a Gold tooth. Sometimes theres just no right way to be a mom. You just hang on cuz this ride makes sharp, abrupt turns!

  64. Dayna says:

    I tell my 6 year old that the Tooth Fairy pays more for clean teeth. The trick that I just came up with for my 3.5 year old is way too simple. I ask him to show me his teeth then say “oh those are dirty…better brush them.” Didn’t think that would work. We’ll see how long it does.

  65. Kerri says:

    I had to look up gross decayed children’s teeth pictures on Google and scare the Crap out of my boys by showing them to what it looks like so they would brush. Even at all that I sometimes still have those “Brush your fucking teeth moments “

  66. Nicola says:

    This is so true – when you’re tired and below-par, kids smell it like dogs smell fear.

  67. Emmers says:

    At least your kids fall for the tricks some of the time. My oldest, in particular, is Mr. Exactly How Stupid Do You Think I Am, Mom? And he’s been like that since birth. The party pooper.

    You know, people who actually have smart kids never brag about them, because having smart kids is a giant pain in the a$$. I want dumber kids. :P

    So, yeah, every night is a “just brush your fucking teeth night” around here.

  68. Shelley says:

    My 4 yr old loves tooth brushing. He has an electric toothbrush. I do the brushing for him otherwise he would just chew/suck on the vibrating brush. He doesn’t care much for bedtime. On the other hand, my 2 yr old hates toothbrushing and runs screaming, but she loves bedtime because she has a nightlight that puts the moon and stars on her ceiling. I put our son to bed. Dad gets daughter. I’m sure her teeth will be rotting out soon.

  69. Jackie says:

    My kids will brush their teeth if I play the Lady Gaga song, “Teeth”. Yep. Mother of the year. Right here ;P! Show me you’re TEETH!

  70. Elizabeth says:

    In general, I am a fan of trickery and playful parenting. After 5 years of teaching in a preschool and 3 years as a mother, experience has taught me much. Some days though… it’s not enough.

    *exhales*

    ok….confession time:

    On my slumpy nights I usually wrestle lay my almost 3 year old down on the floor and use a move I have dubbed the Mother Smother. It’s pretty much me sitting on her into submission; her head between my thighs where it can’t turn anywhere, arms securely pinned down under my legs, one foot snaked around at least one of her legs to keep her from kicking us both in the face.

    A nurse friend of mine taught me this nifty little move when my kiddo was about a year old and refused to take medicine. My daughter caught on quickly and wouldn’t open her mouth/spit out everything out everywhere. Solution? Mother Smother combined with a nose plugging. Boo-yah.

    Now, I may have taken it a step further than its intended purpose, but the truth is… it is a lot little bit satisfying. Especially on one of those nights.

    I have had to whip the Mother Smother out in front of friends and family before and the reactions vary. Although I try to keep things light as I’m physically over-powering/domineering my child, it sometimes feels slightly like child abuse depending on the tantrum she is throwing, even though it does not hurt her at all, in anyway.

    Bonus though: it is now an effective bargaining chip. “Do you want to brush your teeth yourself or do you want me to sit on you?” The battle usually ends right there.

  71. April says:

    I recently told my 4-year-old that she has to be sleeping for 11 hours, so she can stay up late all she wants, but it’ll just mean that she has to stay in her bed until lunchtime the next day. :)

  72. Angela says:

    We learned the hard way that FLOSSING is super important to do after brushing. I know, trying to floss the back molars of a fidgety kid is no fun, but neither are cavities and paying dentist bills. Both of my kids, who brush twice a day, have ended up with small cavities on the touching surfaces between their back teeth. So get in their and floss people. Just f*cking floss already!! ;–)

    • Ceri says:

      I am just wondering are there gaps in their teeth? How do you floss teeth (even the back ones) that have gaps I mean whats the point??

  73. rachel says:

    Thank you for the always well-timed laughs. Like the nights mentioned in Law #10.

  74. Joe & Sam's Mommy says:

    Both of our boys got teeth really early – like at 3 months – so instead of developing longer sleep patterns, they were developing dentition. We started giving them infant toothbrushes (I’m not affiliated with the company, nor will I make a penny from this endorsement, it’s just a good product that worked for us: http://www.compacind.com/baby-products/babys-1st-toothbrushes) to gnaw on at bedtime. I think it helped relieve pain, soothed itchy gums, cleaned new little teeth without risking parental digits, and (dare I hope) associated positive feelings about toothbrushing. They’re 5 and 2.5 now and almost never argue about brushing. They also help select their own toothbrushes and toothpaste flavors most of the time, based on the theory that involving them in the decision process secures their buy-in for the process (hasn’t worked with vegetables, however). Fingers crossed this post doesn’t jinx us!

  75. Sharla says:

    Our bedtime routine is great: My husband puts the kid to bed while I’m at work. If I’m lucky, I get home right after he leaves the room and she hears me come in the door (tiny house). Then I get to go kiss her freshly washed face and tell her good night.

  76. Bedtime is the only time I get to spend with my daughter, so yeah, I love it. No kidding.

  77. Lindsay H says:

    So hate bedtime when the hubbs is gone. Especially right now, he has a new job in a different town. So I am trying to prep the house and pack all day while dealing with 3 girls. By bedtime I am shot, they meanwhile have the energy of wild hyenas.

  78. michelle says:

    My secret is songs.
    We do the “jamma dance” and sing
    “this is the jamma dance, jamma, jamma, jamma,”
    And then really fast and high pitched “jammie jammie jammie time, jammie jammie jammie time!”
    Also works well for other things, like “this is the potty dance” and “this is the cleanup dance.” You get the idea ;) creative trickery is the best.

  79. Delora says:

    My older son used to force himself to vomit rather than have to brush his teeth. He’d vomit several nights a week for well over a year when he was 4. So not only would I have to clean up his stomach contents, I would then still have to hold him down to brush his teeth because I needed to get the stomach acid off his enamel! Those were not good times.

  80. Madeleine says:

    I tell them that they have sugar bugs hiding and that the spicy tooth paste makes them come out. This works especially well on a two year old.

  81. Kali says:

    My kids are good teeth brushers and my oldest (5) is great at going to bed, but my 3 year old… oh man. Her routine has to be JUST PERFECT with nothing out of place or it’s the end of the world. My 13 month old is ok too unless he’s teething.. like now, and he is still up at 11:30PM… :\

  82. Courtney says:

    My 14 month old loves having her tongue brushed but will curl her lips inward if you try to brush her teeth. I keep hearing that it’s a phase and she’ll grow out of it. Now I’m not so sure.

  83. Sara says:

    My five year old has had countless cavities. Seriously, I’ve lost count. Yet he still loves going to the dentist. I think it’s the nitrous oxide. Whatever. But the last time he needed a filling, while we brushed his teeth the night before he said to me, “I’m glad I’m getting my cavity filled tomorrow. Sure glad it’s not my sweet tooth. There’s nothing wrong with it!” Ohhh, the irony!

  84. WhoopAss says:

    I sing. When they were really small they liked the whole made up song thing. Now they are older and I only supervise the 5 year old. He hates my singing so I sing unless he brushes his teeth without fuss – the more fuss he makes, the louder I get.

  85. Tatiana says:

    I am seriously jealous of the “daddy times” and it would be SO ON if i wasn’t single mother! I honestly think we need some support group:)

  86. Emma Ganley says:

    Thanks for the well needed laugh this morning :-)

  87. Mandi says:

    We bought our kids electric toothbrushes in order to make teethbrushing fun – it worked. They always go willingly and love brushing their teeth. Still, this backfired on us. Yesterday evening, I came into the bathroom to find our 4.5yr old cleaning the floor with his electric toothbrush!!!!

  88. S says:

    Honestly?
    I only have one kid. So my experience is no comparison to multi-kids.

    I used to hate Bedtime Brush Teeth routine, because I was all worn out from the Winding Down routine – milk, puzzles, music, puppets, books, throwing balls… To the point I’d be losing my temper at Brush Teeth.

    So I moved Brush Teeth to an earlier schedule, based upon my level of fatigue. This has worked well because I brush my teeth at the same time (anywhere between 7.30-9.30pm) and I can still view kid’s faffing with good humor.

    I decided it doesn’t matter if he hasn’t Brush Teeth before he sleeps. I’m going to brush my teeth regardless and lie down to sleep/nap. He can play by himself while I do my own thing. Typically he wants an audience so he joins me in Brush Teeth. Sometimes even Floss Teeth. Then he faffs. Then goes to bed at Lights Off.

    Yeah, he doesn’t have an early bedtime. Otoh I get to sleep to 7 or 8 in the morning. And he’s still growing all right. And we are less adversarial, and enjoy being a family more.

  89. Oh man, I hate bedtime. I have the least amount of energy, just want to be in a quiet room alone, and it’s the time when I have to do the most work and need the most energy!!

  90. Anne-Marie Safford says:

    Our daughter cries and screams if we try to make her go to bed without letting her have a chance to brush her teeth (when she’s in deep doo doo). It may have been a little mean but we used to tell her if she didn’t brush her teeth they would rot when she refused to do it. (Kinda true isn’t it?) My hubby actually had a tooth pulled recently and it had a huge cavity in it. He took it home and used it as a teaching opportunity to show her what happens if you don’t consistently brush your teeth. Well, she sure doesn’t want that to happen. Most of the time though I don’t mind brushing her teeth for her if she’ll stay still and open her mouth. I’ll sit on the couch and she’ll lay on my lap and I’ll just go to town on all her teeth. =)

  91. grace white says:

    What’s with all these great moms?? Must be a new generation thing lol. My kids are in their late twenties now but when they were little I told them I was a bad mommy after 8:00 pm so they had to be in bed by that time or else they would find out. They found out… I had NO energy, NO patience and truly was a mommy monster after 8:00 pm. Life lessons :oS

  92. Ingrid says:

    Cute! We do tiger teeth to get the front and side, complete with growl…. Often followed by ‘bed race’ first into pyjamas and into bed, still working at the moment….

  93. Mary says:

    my Tot likes to brush her teeth, that isnt the issue. It is betting her to give back the brush so that we can move on. But generally speaking she goes to sleep just fine and we bathe,brush, cuddle/nurse and she is out. sometimes she needs to run around one more cycle to get the wiggles out and then she is ready. no problem.

    BUT just as sure as the sun will shine. If I have an assignment for my school work that I HAVE to do, or an exam to study for, she needs me like I am the air she breaths. Last night was a perfect example of this. I go back to school next monday and she has been an angel all break. Last night I had to order my text book and make some last minute preparations and she just would not go to sleep.

  94. Becca says:

    My 3 year old son loves to brush his teeth, but he wants to do it himself and fights me if I try to help. But yes, this tired thing is soooo true. I feel like my day job is not “Stay at home Mom” but instead is “Alligator Wrestler”. Thanks for this post… tired and frustrated moms always feel guilty. You eased that negativity by reminding me I’m just a normal human being.

  95. We have a song we sing… and I think I’ve pinned him like a calf at branding time enough times that he has just given up. A light-up blue light saber toothbrush doesn’t hurt either… :)

  96. Jenny says:

    This is **Exactly** how I get my 3 yr old to eat. Dammit, I thought I was clever. lol

  97. Salt says:

    Bedtime is still easy enough for us unless you count trying to get pajamas on her. Then again, she only has 4 teeth (which we brush in the bath) and she can’t walk yet, so I’m sure all of this is ahead for us. I’m taking notes. :)

  98. Amanda says:

    I would rather have a daughter that refuses to brush teeth than to find her in the bathroom dipping it in the toilet and proudly saying ‘Look Mommy, I am dong it all by myself’. Yeah it just about made me throw up. =(

  99. sone says:

    i’ve bought my 4YO son his very own kid flavored Listerine mouthwash. We call it the Super Duper Awesome Mouthwash and he just loves using it. This worked for a month or so. Now, it’s not new anymore so I’m trying to let him pick out his own new toothbrush and using Batman as a bribe. I’ve also told him that the tooth fairy won’t get yucky teeth and then he won’t get anything in return.

  100. The problem with being all fun and cute is then they expect you to always be fun and cute. I’m fun and cute about 10% of the time. So odds are, things are going to go badly.

  101. Amber says:

    Let me just say…I love your blog!!! My favorite part? When you swear, if you didn’t at all, I wouldn’t believe half of it. I look forward to the next one and your book!

  102. Veronica says:

    I told my daughter that she has bugs on her teeth and the only way to kill them is to brush her teeth. Guess who is afraid of bugs??? and guess who brushes her teeth?? yup her, with my help to make sure the back teeth get done too. Now I just need her to stop talking while brushing so that I don’t poke her in the back of the mouth while doing that.

    I’m pretty sure you are not supposed to tell your children things like that but if it works, ehhh well, it will only scar her metally a little bit. Got to win some of the battles some of the time!

  103. Laura says:

    I have a free app on my iPhone called talking ginger (one of those annoying talking cats that repeats everything you say-grr) and it has a toothbrush timer. You press it and the cat brushes his teeth for 90 secs with some jaunty music in the background. After you finish you get a puzzle piece to add to a silly little onscreen puzzle. My 3 year old loves it and happily brushes along. And my 20 month old just copies whatever she does.
    One night my phone was completely flat and I had to impersonate ginger and sing the music. Less successful.

  104. sarah says:

    we give them baths when other people will notice… or they are actually dirty… the teeth brushing stresses me out! Spit! No! IN the sink! IN the sink!
    Don’t swallow it! Ergh…
    Put the clothes in the basket, do not throw them there. Put your jams on. Fine go pee…hurry up! Why r u in the sink?? I don’t know where your blankie is. NO, you can not sleep with the noisy robot toy or the ridiculously pointy, hard dinosaur… Fine sleep with the truck.
    AND THEN I am supposed to read stories and sing. Some nights its hug, kiss and out. BUT I have to think the ‘routine’ wore them out too. :)

  105. MaryO says:

    My husband says that attempting to brush our toddler’s teeth is akin to brushing a badger’s teeth. Nightmare.

  106. Amanda says:

    Perfect timing with this post! I’ve been asking everyone for advice on brushing toddler teeth. When I saw this, I totally laughed my ass off.

  107. Megan S says:

    Haha :) My son loved brushing his teeth several times a day until around 3-1/2 and now it’s torture (even with the singing, dancing, spinning, decorate-your-own, fancy head cover brushes).
    My fave part about this post is the little one doing ‘the Heisman’ (as I call it). I can’t stand it when my son does it, but I love it when other kids do it!

  108. Corinne B says:

    I tried the animal teeth brushing thing today and my husband whispered reverently, “You’re a genius.” I told him the internet taught me. Thanks, Crappy Pictures!

  109. Are my kids weird? They have always loved brushing their teeth. Maybe that’s a recessive gene.

    To make it even more weird-The grandparents got them each a battery powered toothbrush they could decorate with stickers and stuff. To them it was like being handed lightsabers. Getting them out of the bathroom since has been interesting. Well done, grandparents, well done.

  110. Rachel says:

    Our teeth-brushing song goes:
    “Up and down with youuuuurrrrrrrrrr…
    Brush, brush, brush, you mustn’t rush, rush, rush,
    When you clean your teeeeeth,
    In the morning…and last thing at night, in the morning.

    “Use plenty of paste, paste paste, for the peppermint taste, taste, taste,
    When you clean your teeeeeth,
    In the morning…and last thing at night, in the morning.

    “You can munch, munch, munch on your lunch lunch lunch,
    You can crunch, crunch, crunch all day looooonnnnggg.
    You can bite, bite, bite, with all your might, might, might,
    It’s alright, right, right your teeth are stronnnggggg, strong.

    Up and down with youuuuurrrrrrrrrr…
    Brush, brush, brush, you mustn’t rush, rush, rush,
    When you clean your teeeeeth,
    In the morning…and last thing at night, in the morning,
    and last thing at night, ALRIGHT!”

    Tune can be supplied on request. A degree of rubato is required to make it scan. I am often required to do a bit of warbling and vibrato too. Our party wall with nextdoor is wafer thin, but thankfully the house has been empty for the past 3 years. The new occupants move in on Feb 15th. They’re going to be wetting their pants when they hear me.

    Happy New Year from rainy Scotland!

  111. Outi says:

    We let our kids (4 and 2 years) watch Teletubbies / Pingu / Thomas the Tank Engine / you name it on their dad’s computer while dad brushes their teeth. All they need to do is keep their mouths open. :)

  112. Miranda says:

    I don’t mind our bedtime routine when I’m not totally wiped (read: when I haven’t been alone with the kids all day), but more often than not, I end up rushing my 3 year-old off to bed, blowing her a quick kiss from the door, and then literally running away from her room.

  113. Carol Gardens says:

    My 6 year old was at the dentist and accepting the compliments from the dentist on his beautiful teeth and the dentist wanted to know how often he brushes his teeth, when my son tells him,”Well, mostly 6 times every day, unless I forget.”The dentist was surprised, but my son added,”I always win and my mother gives me all the candy for brushing the most, but I still share the candy with my brothers and sisters.” I was soooo busted…but my husband wanted to know,”You are still giving candy as a prize to whoever brushes their teeth?I thought you only did that on vacation…” So, I had to admit that I loved how they would come up to me throughout the day and whisper in my ear,”I just brushed my teeth,” so that I could secretly keep the score…but I really hoped that the habit of brushing would become ingrained….and it seemed to me that CANDY was an awesome prize for taking care of your teeth.( and I would have stopped the sharing of the prize, if anyone decided to opt out of the competition)…just for the record….none of them got cavities..but we had fluoridated water and water was the favorite beverage..because I just didn’t want to spend money on juice. I spent it on candy.

  114. Jackie says:

    I love how real you are, it is so refreshing!

  115. Tracy @ The UnCoordinated Mommy says:

    I enjoy that bath time is my husbands responsibility, I Do Not enjoy the state that they leave the bathroom in though!

  116. Tonight I was playing hide and seek with my 2 year old for tooth access. He would laugh and open up wide. He really thinks I’ve lost him when he’s behind the towel for those few moments.

  117. Rachael says:

    Thank you!
    This post was very apposite, as we just came away from a bedtime teeth brushing battle with our 2 1/2 year old and immediately sat down to read your blog.
    Next morning we got her to pretend she was a dinosaur, and it worked :) So your blog is educational as well as funny.

  118. Claire says:

    Hahaha I look like the tired version of you most nights too :) I manage to get my 2.5 year old son to brush his teeth most nights, usually while he’s in the bath, because I can threaten him with “outy time” if he doesn’t brush them. Sometimes he calls my bluff and just gets out though. But occasionally (like last night) he decides he wants to do it all by himself at the sink – those are the moments I live for :)

    Getting him out of the bath and into bed though is a cit more complicated… He’s now recognising a lot of letters and knows that words make sentences. So last night he was “reading” his shampoo bottle to me in the bath: ‘Look mama, says “not out time for Cabhán.” Says “not sleepy time now” ‘

  119. RedinNC says:

    OMG. Yes. My 6 yo is an “expert” at brushing his teeth in no time flat. I mean literally no time. Maybe two or three seconds. He’ll take 30 minutes to pee, take a bath and put on his pj’s, then he’ll miraculously make up all that lost time in the teeth brushing area. Grrr. And don’t get me started on the timers or songs that you can use to help them learn how long to brush. We had the light up toothbrush; he lit it and stared at it for 57 seconds and brushed his teeth for 3. We have an egg timer. He flips it and stares at it for 57 seconds and brushes his teeth for 3. He can hum “Happy Birthday” 3 times so fast you can’t even tell what he’s humming. The best is when he puts the toothbrush in his mouth and then proceeds to play with a toy with both hands. Um, that toothbrush isn’t going to do the job itself! You need to move it with your hand! Blah!

  120. Brandi says:

    This is the way I feel about putting on their lotion after bath. I thought the bath was to calm them down before bed, instead they want to run around naked like a bunch of wild monkeys!…in any direction, but my direction. UGH!

    As far as the teeth brushing…I would like to tell you “it gets better”, but I can’t. Not in my case anyways. The other day I realized that my 12 year old was laying his toothbrush out on the counter (because it IS convincing that he would not return the toothbrush to the cup the way he was supposed to), but when I checked it one day ..it was DRY! I have tried rotten teeth stories, bad breath, dentist drills, what girls might be whispering about him etc. but nothing seems to be motivating enough.

    My 4 year old is not so bad. My 2 year old, on the other hand, I have to put in a damn head lock! Try explaining tooth paste on the middle of your shirt at work. Hey, maybe I’ll try the head lock on my 12 year old. :)

    • Devan says:

      I would wet my toothbrush at that age incase my mom checked that. I’d even let the water run for a few minutes. Don’t know why I hated brushing so bad, I still do. :/

  121. shelly says:

    I love this! I hate brushing my three year old’s teeth and conveniently sit down to nurse the baby at bedtime so that hubby gets stuck with teeth brushing. Before I had the baby nursing excuse, and before the I’m tired and pregnant excuse, I used two tricks for teeth brushing: 1) Speak in an English accent and call her laddie. Ramble on and on about anything and everything in that accent until teeth are clean. (This must be why the nannies in the Super Nanny show got the kids to behave!) 2) If #1 fails, tell her that bed bugs are waiting to eat the sugar off her teeth, so we’d better clean them.

  122. Lynann says:

    I tell mine that its fine, they don’t have to brush their teeth. No problem. Really, it’s fine, it just means absolutely nothing sweet or sugary tomorrow and that includes cereal. Usually I get a sigh and a “Fine! I’ll brush my teeth.” Works surprisingly well, even on the four year old. :D

  123. Elly C says:

    I’m just afraid that my 2 year old will bust me for ‘faking’ the enthusiasm of brushing like a dinosaur/kitty cat/frosty the snowman. Sometimes I’m into it, but on the non-toddler mentality days I’m afraid she is going to say “Mom, I’m not going to brush my teeth until you roar like you mean it.”

    OK, let’s be honest, I’d roar like a lunatic if she said that. BRUSH LIKE THE WIND, CHILD!

  124. turtlebella says:

    We used to do that. It worked for awhile. Then it stopped working. Then I had to come up with a new strategy. And a new one. And a new one. My kid’s only four and I’m pretty sure we’ve had at least 6 different “fun! shiny! exciting! oh please dear god I am just holding you down and brushing your teeth against your will!” approaches.

    Right now the one that really works is that this last summer she saw a photo of a sea lion at the zoo getting her teeth brushed by a trainer, so now she pretends to be the sea lion (who has a name- Sparky) and Sparky’s trainer (Mami or Daddy) and lets us brush her teeth, she gets a fish (imaginary) afterwards. The kid came up with this game herself (BIG into pretending to be a sea lion/dog/cat right now) and this makes it work more often than not, which is not so much the case for Mami or Daddy-initiated approaches.

    So yeah- moral of the story: go to your local zoo and BEG them to post a photograph of the animals getting their teeth brushed! Make sure the photo features the human doing the brushing….

  125. Hazel says:

    So true. It’s like you have been spying on my life. And I do think thoughts like yours… sometimes even mutter them under my breath. In solidarity!

  126. Aari says:

    Of god bedtime. It can break me. I can be patient the rest of the day, but it like how you have to pee really badly when you finally get close to the bathroom. I can SEE the finish line on this day & it’s just that TOOTHBRUSH that’s standing in my way. It’s gotten better. I don’t have to make the soap talk anymore (that was a big mistake, he started to do long plays with Soapa & Ms Potty & more characters than I can mention, and I had to do certain voices or brushing would not happen), now that he’s 6, but he breaks into a fit of bitter tears when the sun goes down BECAUSE THE DAY WAS JUST TOO SHORT. TOO SHORT!!!! Now let me extend it a s. m u c h. a s. p o s s i b l e. by focusing my attention on any an everything except the three specific tasks at hand: PJS WASH BRUSH.

  127. Arctic_Rose says:

    Read “go the fuck to sleep” from Amazon…looks like a kids book but so not…We also have the audio book which is read by Samuel Jackson…roll on the floor funny!

  128. Kammie says:

    I LOVE how honest you are!!! Because that is exactly what we are all thinking in our heads but to ashamed to admit it.

  129. imamann says:

    someone else may have already posted this, but i didn’t make it all the way through the comments. however, we do fine until our big is actually in bed. as of about nine months ago (coinciding with my three months away with my little who was in the hospital) my big goes through a nightly entourage of: i need, i’m scared, i have to potty, i want a snack…… on really rough night we listen to samuel l. jackson read ‘go the f**ck to sleep.’ real book. makes us laugh so hard we cry. and then when it’s my turn to go up and calmly and lovingly redirect her back to bed, i can do it. :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CseO1XRYs9I DO NOT WATCH WITH CHILDREN PRESENT!!!

  130. Pingback: Pee Before You Leave - Crappy Pictures

  131. Jamie says:

    I’d say at least 20% of the time, I just let them skip the frigging tooth-brushing because I can’t handle the stress. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the best parents ever.

  132. Dy-Anne says:

    I recently went back to school and 2 nights a week class doesn’t get out til the same time as bedtime. I always take my time getting home. If we get out early I sit in the lounge and play candy crush on my phone or watch hulu until I am sure there is no way my spawn are still awake. Those are the best nights ever.

  133. Vicky says:

    We created a fun game called Cavity Dragons to get our children to brush their teeth. Children use a fireman to shoot toothpaste at pieces of food in their mouth, and to eliminate Cavity Dragons on fires. They also can do a puzzle, decorate a fire station and practice brushing their teeth. It works with my 4 yr old — I just tell him that the cavity dragons are breathing fire, and he brushes. The game is in the iTunes store and is described on our website, gooseling.com

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