Brushing Teeth

I think it pays to have a perspective shift in your life every once in a while. This friday, after my usual shift of working at the coffee shop downtown, and a quick bubble tea with a friend, I hopped on a bus and headed over to my relatives house to baby sit for them while they went to watch a hockey game. I had planned to do a bit of homework that night, but I figured I probably wouldn’t have done it anyway, and baby sitting sounded like a much better idea.

When I got there I wolfed down my Vietnamese sub sandwich (which I had gotten along with the bubble tea downtown) and soon after a bit of briefing and the bustle of parents leaving, I was left with the three kids watching a tv show in the living room. It was fairly late as it was, and because Josiah, the four-year-old was sick, bedtime was very soon in coming. Before long it was time to shut off the tv and tromp our way upstairs. Josiah picked out a story to read, which happened to be Monsters Inc. 3D. I wasn’t quite sure if it was helpful pre-bedtime reading, since he had to wear these silly 3D glasses while I read the fastest and most anticlimactic synopsis of Monsters Inc. – ten pages of character development, one page of conflict and a page to wrap it all off with a nice ending.

After this, I had been told that I would have to brush Josiah’s teeth before he went to bed. I had never brushed any teeth before, so I have to say I was a little unsure about how it was going to go. Josiah walked into the bathroom, and after perching himself on a stool, facing the sink, simply looked at me in the mirror. “So, I guess its time to brush your teeth.” I opened up the drawer to find a toothbrush, and soon received the run down on the teeth brushing. I was shown the hourglass (or two minute glass), used to make sure that we brushed the teeth long enough, and was told who’s toothbrush was who’s and which toothpaste to use for little Julia, as well as which to use for Josiah.

Then it was time to start brushing. The last memories I have of parents brushing their children’s teeth was from my own parents. I can remember my dad scratching away at my teeth so hard that I was worried I wouldn’t have anything left but nice shiny clean bones by the time he was done! So with this torture in mind, I began very slowly, trying to peer into Josiah’s mouth to see the tiny rows of teeth I was supposed to clean. The two minutes seemed to drag on forever, and at times I thought maybe the sand had just gotten stuck in the glass, and that I would be standing there brushing forever. However, it did finally end, and after some spitting and rinsing, I soon had Josiah in bed, but not before he reminded me that he was supposed to go to the bathroom before he went to sleep. I’m glad the kids know what they’re doing!

Next was Julia, the smiling little one year old, just beginning to say a few words. Jenna, the oldest made sure that I had gotten everything done with Josiah before I took Julia upstairs as well. “You brushed his teeth?”
“And he went to the bathroom?”
Thanks to him. “Yep.”

And so I had the approval of six-year-old Jenna, and could move on to putting Julia to bed. Again thanks to Josiah I knew which toothpaste was Julia’s, and I guessed the smallest white toothbrush was probably hers too. This time I was even more careful. At first I could hardly tell if I was brushing teeth at all! But soon I found her little teeth, which seemed to have a habit of biting down on the toothbrush and slowing down the process. However, we soon got them all brushed, and after a short bedtime story, I laid her in the crib with all her things, and left her to sing to herself.

Jenna and I watched another ten minutes of tv before she went up as well, thankfully to brush her own teeth. And after some Earth Day education from Clifford, her lights were turned off as well, and with all three doors shut, the rituals of putting the kids to bed were finished. I was surprised at how I was, especially since it was only 8 pm. I only wished that it was me getting tucked into my bed.

And so ended my first real baby sitting experience. I was just glad that I didn’t have to change a diaper, thanks to the fact that Julia filled it just before her parents left. The girl has an excellent sense of timing! The whole evening was extremely refreshing in a way; such a good break from the life of a young college student. It made me excited for being a Dad someday. I know I dread that at the same time – but it really was such a nice time. Thank God for all the Dads and all their hard work.