Sunday, May 27, 2007

Making It Fun: Teeth Brushing

The one trend I observed from the numerous parenting blogs and books alike is that gone are the days when you can just tell a child to do something. Nowadays, it is a mandatory parental duty to make it FUN!

Yup, you heard me right. We gotta turn every simple day-to-day activity or chore into a game before the kids will participate willingly. If they're not enjoying it and we make them do it nontheless, we're considered somewhere down there in the ranks of monsters and traitors.

I suspect that this is one of the major reasons why our grandparents "coped so well" with a dozen kids while we're huffing and puffing by the time we reach the 2nd.

Anyway, kiasu mommy that I am, I embraced this trend with nary a complaint (OK , lying. I grumble to hubby every night about the little brat getting brattier :p)

For example, bathing is called "water playing session" in our house, to help coax a willing participant into her bath tub. Any form of mild dragging is considered semi child abuse :p

To make life easier, I have therefore resorted to brain washing, as early as possible.

For teeth brushing, I got her a cloth Bedtime Elmo book. One of the pages came with a mini dangling cloth toothbrush and a star with a mouth full of teeth. While Cairo supplied the action, I would patiently provide the sound effects (shh shh shh, gargle garle garle, shh shhs hh...) and do the Jim Carrey and Mr Bean faces, all the while exclaiming "Clever Girl" & "Oh, what fun!". Duh!

But boy, am I glad when my efforts finally paid off. She took to the real McCoy like a fish to water! No protests whatsoever when we introduced the brush. Eventually the tooth paste came 2 months after she turned 1. Not long after that (ok la, also another 1 or 2 months la), she started to grab the brush from us, wanting to DIY instead, phew!

Although it seems so much more work to have to point out to her the missed spots and wait for her to S-L-O-W-L-Y brush her teeth only to do it all over again ourselves, this time with the old finger brush (nobody touches her toothbrush and remains alive), the books assured me that it is a fair price to pay. After all, teeth brushing is the first step towards getting Cairo to be self-dependent (translation: move out of my house before she turns 30) :p

By the way, did I mention that I have a Potty Training book also? Yup, this book has got rhymes and pretty pictures and requires Jim Carrey and Mr Bean facial expressions during recital. Too.


Sweetpea said...

hi, thanks for the visit. love the pics of cairo :) i've been warned against putting up even the most modest pic of being barely naked of my son. never know what kind of people or paedophiles out there. i've since quickly taken them out. just thought you might like to know. i know! they are so cute! so adorable! but i'd rather be safe. that's just me though :) hope you don't mind :)

cairo's mommy said...

the p word sent chills down my spine when i read your comment. funny how we can read about the horrors in newspapers everyday but naively assume it'll never happen to us...

will be careful with my photo selection in the future, thanks for the warning.

Anggie's journel said...

u r good on getting 'cool' stuff for ur girl , hehehe. yah, teaching early is always the better way .
hmm... i should go 'look c look c' those 'cool' stuff for my boy :) LOL

kelly said...

My little girl still loves to bite her toothbrush now...I have to keep more new toothbrushes at home because they get spoilt easily. :(

The New Parent said...

Hi CM--some very funny and cute items in your post!

I have never embraced the trend of everything has to be fun or a game or exciting or ...

For me, well, there are things that should be fun. And there are things that should be a game. But there are most things that need to be accomplished because they are necessary in our kids' learning process.

Not sure how this particular sensibility got started, but I can't imagine always having to think up a game simply to get a child to do what is necessary.

Boy, tooth brushing has always been a somewhat slow process (laugh)! My little one is now past the chewing the bristles phase and is trying to actually brush. She brushes one spot over and over and over ...

Thanks for a wonderful post!

Etcetera~Mommy said...

Thanks for the tips. Ok, next time I go SG I must ask u for tips where to get all these 'magic books' :P

cairo's mommy said...


hehe thanks. i dont like the idea of hiring a maid (now) so i try to make up by getting "cool" gadgets that might make life easier for us :D

so far, grandma is very appreciative of my toys cos thanks to them, we get more cooperation from cairo, not to mention the time saved!

kelly & NP:
i cant complain about cairo's frequent toothbrush replacement due to spoilt bristles. i am still having that problem with my hubby hahaha. good luck to all of us then :p

thanks for letting me know that u dont buy the fun fun fun style all the time. i look to more experienced and methodical parents like yourself for guidance n ideas, so phew, i can finally take a break now! hahaha

btw, cairo's daddy is the "no fun" guy in the house, so we sorta balance each other out :D

i am sure u've got your own bag of tricks too... we'll tave tea n exchange tips when u hop over to the island next time, ya? :D