My son brushed his teeth in the truck this morning.
My two big kids were getting dressed for school, and we were short on time, so I figured we would do the teeth brushing in the downstairs bathroom. That way, they could finish getting dressed, while I ran ahead downstairs, to start the breakfast process.
I tucked their toothbrushes and toothpaste in my purse, then carried my purse towards the stairs.
The toddler is in this whole “independent stage”, so I waited for what felt like an eternity for her slide down the stairs on her tummy.
When we got to the bottom, I tossed my purse on the floor (this is why I don’t use designer handbags), and I locked the baby gate behind me.
I hurried to the stove, and started heating the pan for my son’s eggs, then I reached for the cereal preference of my girls.
While the eggs were frying, I turned around to see the kid’s homework zippy’s sitting on the counter, so I hustled down the hall and grabbed their backpacks to load them up. Lunch bags were still in the fridge; I reached in, and remembered that I had to warm up my son’s baked beans for lunch!
Bowl from the cupboard, spoon from the drawer, beans in the microwave.
His eggs were done! I brought his plate to the table. We had 8 minutes left to eat.
I started some toast for me as the toddler screamed “all done” from her highchair. I told her “just a minute” as I grabbed a paper towel to wrap my toast in, which in baby language, translated to “you are staying in that chair for the rest of your whole life”, and so naturally, she lost her mind.
Toast was up! Kids were done.
I sent them down the hall to get their coats and shoes on. (Yes, the toddler too.) Two can play at this game of “independence.” My plan of “you still need Mom’s help” backfired as she managed to put on her own hat and half of her coat. I’m sure if she had more time, she could’ve done it all, but the clock was a-ticking, so I tucked her other arm in.
Kids were dressed, we were out the door.
I started driving down the road, and in my rear view mirror, I see my son lean over to give his younger sister a kiss on the cheek. I remind him to ask her if she wants a kiss, and wait for her to answer before he proceeds.(This wasn’t for his sister’s sake.) She would have never said no to him, but he can’t just assume that everyone wants to be kissed, without so much as asking them first. It’s a life skill!
He said to her “want kiss” and I helped him rephrase his wording to make a full sentence. She replied with “yes” and he leaned back in to kiss her cheek, when my daughter said to me “his breath smells like eggs.”
I forgot to brush their teeth.
But, I still had their toothbrushes and toothpaste in my purse! (It wasn’t over ‘til it was over.) I handed the toothbrush and water bottle to my daughter. There was no time for toothpaste, and it’s not something I could maneuver while I drove, so a water brushing would have to do!
(My son was giving her some serious eyebrows while the electric toothbrush ran on full speed.)
She handed the toothbrush back, as we were pulling into the school parking lot.
Out she went, and we were on our way to my son’s school! (Yes, they are at two different schools.) This was an opportunity though! There is 40 minutes and only a few blocks between the two schools. A serious brainstorming session was about to happen.
My son was going to need toothpaste, there was no doubt about that! I mean, the kid had eggs for goodness sake! He couldn’t go to school with fart breath.
We pulled into his school lot and I parked the truck in our usual spot. I started fishing around the back seat, looking for “supplies”. Oh, this was happening!
I found a garbage bag. Yes! The “sink”. There were some wrappers and a frozen banana peel in it, but beggars could not be choosers!
A water bottle, toothpaste, the toothbrush and a “sink.” We had what we needed.
He crawled up to the passenger seat, where I could assist. I dribbled some water from my water bottle on the toothbrush, with a pea sized amount of toothpaste. (I am a rule follower, after all.) We hit the “on” button. I moved the toothbrush around his mouth while he held the plastic bag under his chin.
I saw someone walking towards our truck, so I shielded the tooth brushing session with my torso. I realized how ridiculous this must look, so I handed my son the toothbrush, he dropped the plastic bag, and I took the opportunity to photograph that “fine parenting moment.”
I tucked the mobile camera away and took control of the brushing while he held the “sink” steady. I needed to be sure there are no eggy remnants left in there!
The brushing was complete, but he had a mouthful of minty freshness. I put the toothbrush down and pressed the plastic bag against his chin. He spat. It didn’t go well. He had no room to lean forward. I hadn’t planned for that. Have you ever tried to spit from a straight up sitting position? It doesn’t work.
*Note to self* Move the seat back, for leaning forward ability.
I wiped his chin with my toast paper towel. I’m super resourceful like that! I handed him my water bottle, so he could swish some water around his mouth. He spat again, but with force, and it came out like a water fountain.
Straight into the bag. Ha! He mastered it! That has got to count for something!? A checkmark on the “ISP”, an “area of strength.”
I tied up the bag and tossed it in the backseat. He looked over at me with raised eyebrows and a generous smirk. Words were not needed. The expression on his face read loud and clear, “my Mother is nuts!”
How about you? Was there a time when the parenting odds were stacked against you? Tell me how you persevered !
Written by: Sara Park