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“If the sink is blue, then …” something [TBD]

I, like many fathers, have kids. And these kids, like many kids, think it’s a super-awesome idea to spend less time brushing their teeth than they do blinking an eye. Until now, I’ve trusted my kids to conduct their evening ablutions unsupervised, because I’m usually elbow-deep in dinner dishes, and relied on the age-old Smell Your Breath test. Which, frankly, is dumb. Any kid could beat that test with a hunk of Hubba Bubba, since, in the divine wisdom of someone I disagree with, just about every kids’ dental product tastes like bubble gum.

All this ablutionary autonomy came to a halt, however, when the kids came home from a dental checkup with mouths full of holes. Holes in places that the kids never bothered to brush because, in their constant quest for object permanence, what they don’t see does not exist. It came time to bring the hammer down and impose a more specific evening regimen.

One of the more obvious evidences of brushing failure is the consistency of the toothpaste residue in the sink. (Luckily, neither of my boys is clever enough to rinse it away.) If there are lumps of bright blue crud, you can assume with dead certainty that the toothpaste not only didn’t do much work in anyone’s mouth, it probably never even reached anyone’s mouth. So I’ve imposed a new rule that all post-brushing sink detritus must be a lush, foamy white. I’m also working on a saying (referenced in the post title), but I haven’t figured out how to finish it. “If the sink is blue …”

  • … you’ve got work to do?
  • … your teeth’ll be few?
  • … false teeth are for you?
  • … kiss your choppers “adieu”?
It’ s a work in progress.

I’ve also put the boys on a regimen of nightly flossing and rinsing with the Listerine products I was given (which, predictably, taste like bubble gum). Both gravitated directly to the blue bottle with Phineas & Ferb and recoiled from Barbie like a vampire from sunlight. And they’ve been using it assiduously every night. My 10-year-old even proposed the idea of experimenting with the pink stuff, in an attempt to prove that it’s just the same stuff with different branding. But he hasn’t mounted the courage yet.

I’ve used Listerine since all they had was that original, astringent, yellow stuff that made your mouth feel like it was full of linoleum. I use it every night, mostly because I live my life in mortal fear of not aging like Gary Busey.

I’m not above trying to instill that fear in my kids. But for now, I’ll work on that saying. If you have any thoughts on how to finish it, leave them in the comments. (And remember, these are boys we’re talking about. So you can use “poo.”)

I received products from Johnson & Johnson as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® Kids Cavity-Free School Year Program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Read more from Doug on his personal blog, Laid-Off Dad.

Follow Doug on Twitter.

Read all about.him.

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