Decoy toothbrush: FAIL.

Alright moms, I am calling on your experience here.

Lucy's 8th tooth just popped up, and up until recently I've only been "brushing" them with a damp wash cloth at bath time, which she doesn't mind (the girl does not mind an opportunity to bite her mommy).  I have 2 baby tooth brushes and some baby toothpaste, but have not been eager to start this new twice-daily routine, because I imagine the experience to be not unlike trying to cut the toenails of a volatile and tantrum throwing hyena. 

So the other day we were watching something on Nick Jr. and a cartoon segment came on about the Ugly Teeth Monsters that make your mouth hurty if you don't brush with a TOOTHBRUSH and TOOTHPASTE.  She looked at me like SAY WHAT?  And then a 1-ton guilt anvil fell on my head, and now I exist as a flattened version of myself with little birdies flying around my head.

So the next morning, I whipped out the baby tooth brushes.  One decoy for her to play with, and one business toothbrush with toothpaste.  First I started brushing my teeth with my tooth brush at Lucy's eye level, and she was belly laughing like this was the best slapstick she's ever seen.  So then, I take her hand and put it on my tooth brush and let her brush my teeth.  Hilarious, thinks she!  This just might work!  And then I hand over her tooth brush.  And she starts smiling at me and brushing her hair with it.

I was a little embarrassed for her.  That wasn't the smartest.

So I take the business toothbrush and start to brush her teeth, and she squirms and somehow screams a blood curdling open-mouthed scream with her jaw locked shut (so really I'm just brushing her face.  Unsuccessful.)  After a few days of face-brushing, I pick up a finger toothbrush thinking it would be easier to maneuver, and the successful use of this results in about 30 minutes of screaming and crying. 

So I'm not sure where to go from here.  I refuse to hold her head down while she screams and force a toothbrush into her mouth, but she eats pretty much everything so I can't let her fall victim to the Ugly Teeth Monsters.  HOW DO I DO THIS???  I am going to try distraction (brushing while she's watching Sesame Street) but beyond that I'm just not sure what to do next.  I'm open to anything - even if you tell me to dress as a giant tooth fairy and hang from a harness attached to the ceiling - I'd probably try.


amy said…
oh, i'm so interested to hear any advice. clearly i have none, as my child as zero teeth and will probably continue to have zero teeth for a long time.

my dentist called me 'dentally retarded' because it took so long for mine to come in.
Nikki said…
Haha - I kind of wish your dentist was my dentist now. Tried again today with bubble gum flavored toothpaste (on the finger brush) - slightly more successful! She only protested during the brushing, but not so much that I couldnt do it...

I dont' know if we'll ever graduate to an actual toothrbush, but the finger tooth brush is a step in the right direction.

Why do I have to buy every single product available before Lucy agrees to cooperate?
it can be so frustrating. at 18 months (!) my daughter is finally getting the hang of it. we brush our teeth together when she is in the bathtub. at the beginning she would just suck off the toothpaste and play with the brush in the tub. but now she actually brushes. she gets bored after 5 seconds and we try again 5 minutes later. so she really only brushes 15 seconds a day. once a week i hold her down and brush with a little bit of baking soda. the baking soda takes off the stains from the iron in her vitamin. good luck!
Hilary said…
Oh Nikki, this brings back so many memories! You've got your work cut out for you. Okay here's what we did. The SOLUTION for me when the boys were that age was making them believe the sound of the toothbrush on their teeth was the coolest and funniest sound - that way, after you have buy-in, they will STOP and be STILL and LISTEN for it - they get to hear the cool sound and you get to brush their teeth! Win-win! Now that the boys are older (2 1/2), they still fight the toothbrush unless I have a plan. The plan at this age is having a ritual where I sing the ABCs and end with a funny or wrong ending. That way they are STILL while they listen for the end of the song and laugh at the funny ending. Then they want me to sing it the RIGHT way the next time (dentist says sing ABCs twice) so then I sing it the right way or at least the way they are asking for, and they will actually forget I'm brushing while they wait for the punchline. Hope this helps! Hilary (and Charlie, Henry, & Sam)
Nikki said…
@Lindsey - good tip on the baking soda! Lucy was on that iron supplement too, and I stopped because of the tooth discoloration (we just packed her diet with iron rich foods).

@Hilary - you are a genius. I love the alphabet idea! Amazing that you are doing this with 3!!! AND HOW DO YOU HAVE TIME TO READ BLOGS? I barely have time to read blogs. With 1.

So yesterday, I tried bubble gum flavored toothpaste and she cried when i STOPPED brushing her teeth! However "brushing" we use loosely because it was just Lucy trying to eat the toothpate while i tried to turn the bristles toward her teeth. Baby steps?
MegElizabeth said…
I BLAME MR. NOODLE. He's the one who started brushing his hair with his toothbrush. He's a MENACE.
Nikki said…
CH said…
I want to buy bubble gum flavored toothpaste. For me.

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