CSI New York in my Bathroom….

I am not sure how brushing teeth goes in your house, but my kids need to be reminded to brush teeth – and I have to include the words P.R.O.P.E.R.L.Y in the instruction.

I tried just saying “brush your teeth” then I realized that my eight year old has no problems following instructions. What he does do is he takes it quite literally.

He brushed his teeth, sure there was no toothpaste on the brush, and sure the entire process lasted less than 8 seconds, but if quizzed: “Did you brush your teeth?” He could always answer in the affirmative and not be lying.

On the weekend, I had my hands full. Sick baby on my hip, four year old who would not get dressed and was throwing a wobbly about something or another. I was trying to get eight year old and four year old to brush their teeth after getting dressed. There I am barking out instructions.

You know how you do not realize how you sound, until you have house guests and start seeing and hearing yourself through their eyes (and ears). You then realize that you possibly do look a little trailer park in your bathrobe, no slippers and with snot and vomit (neither your own) on the front of your night shirt and some other unidentified matter in your hair.

That however did not dissuade me from my goal of enforcing good dental hygiene in my house.

Connor trots out from the bathroom, I look at him and immediately assess that his blue t-shirt does not have any toothpaste on it. They don’t teach this sh*t, one learns this at CSI and motherhood school – it’s a combined course done through correspondence, with a huge emphasis on the work experience part.

Now a clean shirt and an eight year old is compelling – not definitive (I watch the crime channel a lot) – but nonetheless compelling circumstantial evidence that no tooth brushing has occurred. The toothpaste spatter is not evident on this eight year old in my passage.

I used to use the dry toothbrush as my evidence – but I got about 6 uses out of that tactic until Connor twigged how I knew he skipped the brushing. Now he wets the toothbrush. Kids – they are like drug dealers, you always have to outsmart them!

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I went to brush my teeth.” Now a niave person/not a mother would take this that he has brushed his teeth.

Again, you are not dealing with the Connor-master, who knows a thing or two about negotiation and word play. This boy could be the spin doctor for Julius Malema.

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed Y.O.U.R. teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor, I got that you went to the bathroom. Did you make it to the basin, put toothpaste on your toothbrush and wiggle it around your mouth?”

Connor: “I diiiiiiiiiiiiiid…”

Me:  “Connor, did you brush your teeth PROPERLY for two minutes?”

Connor: “Awwwwww…………………..”

Me: “Get to that bathroom and start brushing until I tell you it is two minutes.”

Why do we always sound like our mothers, no matter how hard we try not to?