Okay, quick: what’s got six arms, six legs and 60 teeth?
The triplets. That’s what. And Caroline and I are big into teeth which means that we want to help the triplets keep all theirs. Well, until they lose them, of course, which’ll be no big deal because they’ll get their adult teeth shortly thereafter. That’a weird deal, when you stop and think about it, no? That we have “baby” teeth that fall out, only to be replaced by “adult” teeth. I mean, it’s not like we have baby feet that pop off to make room for adult feet.
Anyway, by now I’m way off topic. So coming back full circle, Caroline and I are sticklers for getting our tumultuous trio to brush their teeth. But it can be a bit of a hassle. Especially if Jake and the Neverland Pirates is on. But it’s always hard to get kids to take care of their teeth, right? Even if there are no distractions. But it’s a hassle we deal with every single night, as part of our evening ritual.
And for us, the key to getting each day off to a good start is the evening which precedes it, which means our evening ritual is huge. Because our mornings tend to be a bit hectic, even in the summer. Alli has swim practice and the triplets have camp and I’ve got work and Caroline has a zillion things she has to do each day and Luke, well, he obviously needs to be tended to being a baby and all. So, anyway, you get all those folks aimlessly scrambling around the house on any given morning and I’ve got news for you.
Everyone’s going to be late for whatever they have going on.
Unless you get tick-tock tight the night before. Because then, all you really need to do is wake the kids up in waves, feed them, make sure they brush their teeth, then get ’em out the door.
The triplets are only four, which means they wake themselves up, thank you very much. At like 5:30-ish, which really angers me, but that’s a topic for another post. We make them stay in their rooms where they’re allowed to play quietly till we get up, then we get them started on breakfast which is about the time Alli usually wakes up. Caroline feeds her while I go get Luke. I give our baby his medicine, change his diaper, then bring him downstairs by about the time the morning round of tooth-brushing has begun. Then it’s just a matter of getting everyone in Caroline’s car (easier said than done, mind you) and buckling them, and BOOM, we’re done.
Well, we’re not done. We’re finally ready to start our day. But you’ll note that no one had to bathe. Or pack their backpacks. Or make lunches. Or fill up water bottles. Or figure out what to wear. That’s because the night before, Caroline and I make sure all that stuff gets done. So when our peeps wake up, it’s about as point-and-shoot as it gets.
They don’t even fuss about brushing their teeth in the morning as much as they do at night. Maybe because we don’t allow TV in the mornings. While I’m sure that doesn’t hurt, I’d also wager to guess it’s because our mornings are so well organized. Not to mention the fact that we’re adamant about oral care. Everyone knows that preventative care is key with just about everything — especially your teeth. And we’ve pounded that message home with our trio time and time again.
And one key to getting them on board was encouraging them to brush by themselves as soon as possible. At first, we obviously brushed for them. But it wasn’t too long before they took the reigns. When they first started brushing, we’d follow behind them to make sure they’d done a good job, but now they’re on their own and on some levels, I think they enjoy the responsibility. It makes them feel that much closer to being “big boys and girls” like Alli and her friends. And, what’s more, they do a pretty darn thorough job.
Which gives us hope that they will, indeed, follow our lead when it comes to taking care of their teeth. Because the last thing we need to do is add a bunch of painful dental work to our hectic equation.
Because I don’t think any amount of prep the night before can get you ready for that.
Disclosure: 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.