Yes you read correctly. Not sleep training. Not potty training. Toothpaste training. This is one of the newest frontiers to conquer in the DeLoach household this month. With Punkin’ Bear several months into her 4th year of life, we’ve decided it was time to transition from fun, fruity swallow-it-if-you-want training toothpaste to the real deal, anti-cavity, fluoride-filled, gotta-spit-it-out toothpaste. Not the “boring” (to borrow a phrase from Bear) adult kind – I mean it can still taste fruity, have sparkles and pictures of princesses on the tube and all. But the kind that actually helps promote strong teeth and keep that beautiful smile of hers beautiful.
While I didn’t really expect this to be a big deal (AT ALL), it apparently is. And unfortunately it is because I made it one. You see, there was a period of time a few months back where Bear didn’t quite understand that despite its fruity taste, toothpaste isn’t intended to be eaten. I would come into the bathroom and find a knocked over toothbrush on the counter, the cap to the tube strewn into the sink and an empty tube of fruity training toothpaste on the floor – a la a recent crime scene. The first few times, I just scratched my head and thought “Hmmm… I could have sworn I just bought her new toothpaste the last time I was at the store”. And then, low and behold one morning I walked into the bathroom to find Bear sitting there, gobbling up the toothpaste right out of the tube! While I can’t exactly say that I blame her (I have to admit, it does smell pretty yummy), I did quickly move in to tell her that we can’t eat toothpaste. Of course, as often is the case with 4 year olds, I had to reiterate that message a few times before it really took hold.
So when it came time to make the big switch to toothpaste with fluoride, I was of course concerned that she may mistake the “new” flavor and different cartoon characters on the tube for something edible. And with that, I made what was at the time a seemingly off-handed comment: “remember, you’re not supposed to eat toothpaste. Especially this toothpaste because it could make your tummy sick if you swallow it.” Well, as they say, knowing is half the battle and in my case I should have known that my Bear is a very literal Bear and takes everything very much to heart (in fact, she’s been known to put herself on time outs when she thinks you’re upset with her). So a seemingly off-handed comment I intended only to underscore my point has now turned her being afraid to use “big girl” toothpaste in the event that she may swallow any teeny tiny bit of toothpaste and make herself sick.
So back on the training toothpaste she goes, but we now are working on our technique for the rinse-and-spit. Slowly but surely she’s building her confidence that she can get ALL of it out of her mouth and hopefully move into the big girl toothpaste. What an unexpectedly proud moment that will be!