13 October 2009

Oral Hygiene 101

ur son has sprouted teeth. Two little ones, right up front, on the bottom. He's had them a little while now and though I've yet to see him actually utilize them (either to bite or chew food), he's definitely aware that he's got them. He doesn't always let us get a good look at them, but when my wife or I has been able to jam our finger into his mouth, we've found that they're jagged, sharp little things. Like weasel teeth. Or vampire fangs.

Teething was not particularly painful (for him or us) and as he's been a major producer of drool from the start, it was often difficult to ascertain whether or not he was actually teething. While the drooling has subsided recently, it was pretty crazy there for a while. Early snap shots of our son show shirt after shirt with a big wet spot right on the front. Kid was like a fountain or a fire hydrant. I didn't know before this that a human being could even produce that much saliva.

When our son does open his mouth wide enough for a teeth viewing, the picture is a bit odd. With only two of them, sticking up from the bottom, it kind of results in a reverse buck-toothed thing. In fact, whenever I see those two tiny teeth, I can't help but think of this classic character from The Simpsons:

Of course, unlike Cletus, whose teeth surely suffer from years of neglect and poor oral hygiene, our son has actually become quite enamored of the practice. It's surprising, but it is true. I'm sure in a few years time (if all the parental horror stories and countless television comedies are to be believed) he will hate brushing his teeth and resist it at all costs. But for the moment, he really enjoys it. And even seems to be requesting that we do it. Of course, "teeth" comes out of his mouth as "ott," so we can't be positive, but he is fascinated by the toothbrush and toothpaste, knows when to open his mouth for the brush, and generally behaves in a genial fashion while we tend to his teeth.

He has developed a strange habit of interrupting the process to say "naa naa," which is our cue to lower him to within striking distance of the sink so that he can bang his fist on it, like he's knocking on a door. This appears to be the result of seeing my wife banging the toothbrush on the edge of the sink, as you do, at the end of the brushing session to knock free excess water. Is that why you do it? I don't know. Anyway, without fail, our son makes certain he gets the opportunity to knock on the sink midway through the teeth brushing. It's a very quirky, almost OCD-ish act, like he's a miniature Monk or something.

Of course, there's far worse things for our kid to be preoccupied with than teeth brushing. In fact, I'd like to chalk this one up to good parenting and an excellent example that we're setting.

We're going to fail him in so many other ways, I'd like to cling to this minor victory and assume credit for it, whether that's warranted or not.

It probably isn't.

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