Monday, April 8, 2013

When Teaching a Necessary Skill Backfires

Kids don't know how to brush their teeth. It takes years of practice and then probably more years of actually realizing why they need to do it in order to get it done well. The Hubs and I are doing our best to instill this good habit in Buddy. We brush our teeth with him. We leave his toothbrush where he can reach it so he can brush whenever he feels like it. We even let him use our toothbrushes if he'd rather do that (which grosses me out and I always sterilize it afterward). We try to get in there and help him brush. But despite our best efforts, Buddy hates to get his teeth brushed. We'll continue on this path of encouragement, eventually teaching why it is so important to keep up with dental hygiene and hopefully Buddy won't have to spend too much time in a dentist's chair.

Neither of those are Buddy's toothbrush. 
He has 2 of his own but insists on using mommy's and daddy's.

Until then, I try to brush my teeth with Buddy as often as possible. I even taught him how to spit because he thinks it's funny. It's a necessary skill. When he actually does get toothpaste in a couple of years, he needs to know how to spit it out and not swallow it. Now Buddy is a proficient spitter. He climbs up on the toilet and watches me spit out my toothpaste and then I hold him over the sink so he can spit out his toothpaste water. He also spits in his hand. And spits on his food. And spits on my face. And spits on his toys. He thinks it's funny. I do not.

So how do I teach Buddy that he should spit out his toothpaste or the dirt he ate playing outside, but he shouldn't just spit because he thinks it's funny? That's a good question. So far I have been talking to him about how I don't like it when he spits on me. If he continues, I tell him I don't like it when he spits on me and I don't want to cuddle/wrestle/whatever with him if he is going to spit on me. It's his food so if he wants to spit on it and will still eat it, I'm not going to force that one to change right now. I do ask him if he likes to eat his food with spit on it. Maybe one of these days he will see that it's a little gross to eat food with spit on it, or maybe he'll always like it.

I want Buddy to have this skill for good dental hygiene later on, but for now, this little skill has been thrown back on my face. Literally.

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