“No!” is my 5 1/2-year-old sons favourite word. He uses it to answer questions like “can you please put your toys away?” or “could you please just draw on paper and not on the table?”. Mostly he’ll just follow my advice anyway. But not with cleaning his teeth. He doesn’t even give me a “No” to this point. He just stands there, squeezing his lips together and looking sullen. In fact, that’s pretty much it with being hygienic. On a good day, he will open his mouth a little bit, and if I’m quick enough, I can get his toothbrush into his mouth. But, just as fast, its out again.

I don’t have these kinds of problems with my 1½-year-old daughter. She is amazed by everything. As soon as she sees her toothbrush, she is joyfully screaming and asking to have her “Didizi”. And whilst I am brushing her little teeth, I attempt to explain to my son how important good health is. But my son won’t have any of it. When he was younger it was a horrible power struggle to get him to clean his teeth. It would ultimately end in screaming and massive arguments. For the sake of mine and my neighbours’ nerves, I tried to explain everything to my children in the hope that maybe on day they would get my message.

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I was putting out the washing when my two little children ran at me. “Look Mummy, look” they said as they dragged me towards the bathroom. Antonia pointed inside and shouted “Bye Bye Didizi” and waved goodbye as Johannes flushed the toilet. I got closer and saw both toothbrushes quickly spiralling away from sight. Oh, that was fun! For the kids, not for me.

Read more about my toothbrushing experiences in “Sophie’s Blog” every monday!