If you’re the sort of clean fanatic who is now freaking out over the gross implication that I have somehow survived for several adult decades without five daily brushings and flossings, I’m sorry. At least you don’t have to look at me while you read this. I’ve always been a twice a day man: once after breakfast and once before bed. Until now.
Now I’m in charge of cleaning daughter number two’s teeth before bed. And there’s nothing quite like personal example to make it happen. Somehow the argument that she’s cleaning her teeth before she goes to bed and I will clean my teeth before I go to bed is entirely uncompelling. First to her and then, by reflection, to me.
It sounds bogus, even though I know it to be 100% true, when I tell her that I will, really, honestly, brush my teeth later when she’s asleep and she won’t see me do it. She ignores my words and I feel the hollowness of the claim. It gets swallowed up by that great grown-up gala of open-mouthed cookie-eating, soda drinking, nose-picking and TV-watching that kids know goes on once they are in bed.
She doesn’t say anything yet about the rampant hypocrisy she perceives–she’s not quite 3 years old–but when I demur from brushing my teeth, she cajoles me into doing it. “Come on daddy, let’s brush our teeth now, you don’t want to get cavities.”