A Toothpaste Tale

February 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 10 Comments

So, I have another little secret.

Turns out, we eat toothpaste. (By “we,” I mean Lollipop.)

Fruity, blue cylindrical sweetness. Like liquid Starbursts. And she digs it. Entire tubes of it.

She came in to my room as usual earlier this week, rousing me from the 20 additional minutes of sleep I was desperately hoping to get. Before the kids demanded Pop-Tarts, the dogs demanded kibble, and the floor demanded vacuuming. But how could I resist her opening line? “Mommy, can I have a hug?”

Sleep Is a Wish Your Heart Makes
So we hugged. I wanted to see if she’d snuggle down next to me. I imagined the layers of tulle in her Cinderella ballgown-that-doubles-as-jammies tickling my shoulder as we shared my pillow, as she whispered in my ear, “Mommy, are you awake for real yet?”

But I could hear Giggles two doors down lobbing toys out of his crib, a sure sign he was Pop-Tart-ready. So I sat up. Rubbed my eyes. Stole another hug. Turned on Clifford or Sid the Science Kid or whatever PBS was offering up at that hour as educational-entertainment-so-Mommy-can-take-10-minutes-to-wash-her-hair.

Except. It must have been a re-run.

Not Ready for Prime Time
I saw Lollipop come into the bathroom and stand on her little blue and green stool. I saw her look in the mirror. She was quiet, still. I thought maybe she was practicing her smile, which she does sometimes. Or drinking water from her little pink teacup, which she does sometimes. Or putting on 17 layers of purple glitter chapstick, which she does sometimes.

Between the steam from the shower and the fact that I require strong, strong prescription lenses to see five feet in front of me, I couldn’t really tell what she was doing. But she was quiet, still. (Wait, I already said that, didn’t I??) Well, she was.

So when I put my eyes on and walked over to her after my shower, I was, um, a little surprised. To see this: squiggly, squishy lines of blue gelatinous gunk all over my counter. Like little translucent toothpaste worms swimming for the drain. And Lollipop, with a sticky blue goatee. And her Cinderella (of course) toothbrush hanging, stogie-esque, out one side of her mouth.

Zen and the Art of Chopper Maintenance
Nearby leaned the tube of toothpaste — the special (read: expensive) tube for “kids who can’t yet spit” or some slightly more complicated dental description meaning fluoride free. The white cap rested a few inches away, guillotined by crafty toddler fingers.

I blinked. Breathed. Blinked. “What are you doing?” I asked. The picture of calm, I tell you.

“Brushing my teeth.”

“I see that. What happened here?” I pointed to the counter.

“I squeezed it by myself.”

“I see that. It got kind of messy, huh?”

“I did it by myself.”

“I see that.” Breathe. Blink. Breathe. Zen.

Snap, Crackle, Pop-Tart
Then my mind exploded and I lost my Zen and I can’t really recall the rest of the conversation. But I think it went something like me telling her good try, but we should probably brush our teeth together, and toothpaste isn’t a food and she shouldn’t eat it, especially not the whole tube, sort of like how we only use a few squares of toilet paper and not the whole roll when we go potty, and well, let’s just clean it up and go make our Pop-Tarts, OK?

And in my mind I’m having a whole separate conversation with myself. Wondering how in the heck she managed to unscrew the lid. And how in the heck she had the finger strength to squeeze out the toothpaste. And what in the heck she was going to open “all by herself” next.

And, maybe, just maybe, I tasted a little of the magic blue stuff. And, maybe, it was pure sweet goodness, like Pixy Stix syrup. And, maybe, if that’s what I brushed my teeth with every day, I’d “forget” to learn how to spit, too.

I mean, fluoride’s overrated anyway, right?



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  1. Brilliant! (and it matches her Cinderella dress, natch)

  2. Zen and the Art of Chopper Maintenance. That is priceless.

    Hey, she brushes! That’s a mom of the year nomination right there!

  3. Is it that Bubblegum-flavored shit? My girls would eat tubes of that, endlessly, if I didn’t keep it under lock and key. Wrong!

  4. Ha! The flavor of the toothpaste is an on-going debate at my house. My husband insists that it should be minty. I like cinnamon, which he considers to be sacrilege. My son will happy eat either. So, I guess we’re a bunch of toothpaste eaters too.

  5. My daughter prefers to feed herself fist-fulls of brown sugar when left unattended.

  6. If it makes you feel any better, we are a toothpaste eating home, too. 🙂

  7. I lament the lack of clear children’s toothpaste. our current tube is PINK.

  8. Wait. We’re not supposed to eat toothpaste????


  9. You’re a lot more calm than I would have been! That would have put me over the edge. 😉

  10. Oh my daughter has a big toothpaste addiction going on. She’ll tell me to put the toothpaste up high “so I don’t eat it.”

    The first step is acknowledgment, right?

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