Everyone hates going to the dentist.
These days, my two-year-old’s bedtime routine is making me hate BEING the dentist.
I didn’t realize that teaching my kid how to be a normal person would be such hard work.
There are a lot of everyday activities that we adults take for granted as simple, almost instinctual, parts of our daily routine:
Going to the bathroom; taking a bath or a shower; getting dressed; brushing our teeth; feeding ourselves; and so on. These are all things we do every day as a matter of course, with hardly a thought given to how or why we do them.
And now I am the teacher. And I kind of suck at it.
I don’t have the patience to be a teacher. I only have one kid and sometimes I barely have enough patience for him! And teaching him some of these basic tasks is proving quite difficult, especially in the midst of what has been his toughest stretch of behavior since he was born.
It’s hard to get him into the bath and then it’s hard to get him out of it. Getting him to eat well is a battle to the death every day (last week the kid ate a penny that I eventually had to fish out of his dirty diaper but he won’t eat a pork chop? I CALL BULLSHIT.), and potty training has thus far been a frustrating series of false starts. Lately, though, brushing my son’s teeth has been the toughest task of all.
My son is obsessed with doing everything by himself, including brushing his teeth. Unfortunately, his version of brushing his teeth involves little to no actual brushing. Instead, he jams the brush into his mouth, sucks off the toothpaste, bites the brush head a few times and then tosses it into the sink. Like every other aspect of his bedtime routine, trying to actually accomplish what we need to accomplish – in this case, managing to actually clean some of his teeth – becomes a wrestling match. Mom and Buried and I dread this nightly ritual so much that we basically draw straws to see who must endure the torture.
It’s partly him asserting his independence and partly him doing whatever he can to delay his bedtime and completely him being annoying and delaying the start of last night’s “Mad Men.” I’d be more than willing to let it go – his teeth are going to fall out anyway! – if my wife weren’t so determined to make sure he learns how to so this simple, basic, necessary daily task. She wants to make sure that when he gets his permanent teeth they don’t quickly fall out too. Of course, if he keeps up this terrible twos junk, someday someone is going to knock them all out, expert brusher or not.
Teaching children anything is difficult, but at least there are schools for reading and math and all that academic stuff. Apparently we parents are stuck with this other essential life-lesson junk.
For someone who is not even slightly religious, I’m doing an awful lot of homeschooling.