My three-year-old is extraordinarily stubborn. Not surprisingly, one of the things he flips his lid over is tooth brushing. He has never liked this necessary task, and for as long as we’ve been doing it, I’ve dreaded the nightly struggle. Now, abruptly, he is standing nicely and opening wide for brushing–albeit with the occasional gagging noise. What has made the difference? A kiss.
One evening I blew him a kiss, pretending two of my fingers were the kiss drifting toward his cheek–and he swatted my hand away. I made the kiss squelch onto the carpet, which he thought was hilarious. He requested another kiss (to swat elsewhere), and I said he could have one if he let me brush his teeth. It’s been a week now, and all I have to say is, “Open your mouth so you can get your kiss!” and he stands nicely with mouth agape and submits to brushing. He almost forgot to wait for the kiss tonight. It isn’t as if this is the first time I’ve tried a creative tactic for brushing teeth, but for some reason, this tactic at this moment was just the right thing. Isn’t it strange, the little things that can break our routine approaches and change our perspectives?