Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do you want your teeth to smell like this egg? Is that what you want? Is it?

One of the things about being an atheist and a mother is that you have to be willing to do some research with the kids. I often fantasize about how easy it would be to say, “God did it.”
Or, “Jesus can see you.”

Because every time I say, “I don’t know” there is an immediate conditioned response, “Okay, let’s go look it up.” I do not know how the world ever survived before Google but I’m sure that if you studied the statistical relationship between religiosity and Internet use it would show a negative correlation. It just gets harder to trick kids (and people) when they can go look it up for themselves. Bummer. It's so easy to control people when you claim to have all the answers.

Every night I routinely nag Charlie to brush his teeth and I check for bugs afterward. You know, because I have amazing superpowers that allow me to see microscopic parasites invading my child’s mouth. What? You don’t? And up until this point Charlie has believed my bullshit and simultaneously lived in fear knowing that if he didn’t brush long or hard enough I would know and then something bad would happen. Incidentally, this is the same argument I use to encourage foreplay with my husband.

But tonight Charlie was not in the mood to brush his teeth and he put up a fight. And I was like, “Just do it! And if you don’t do it right I will be able to tell!” To which he replied, “But Mom, I have the same size eyeballs as you, and I don’ see any bugs. How do you see them?”

Now here lies the choice. I could totally make up something like, “Because I’m frickin’ omnipotent, okay, okay? That’s right kid, I can see dental plaque the way Grandma Jackie sees Jesus in her toast.”

Instead, I promised him that in the morning we would research the tooth and how bacteria can cause decay, and how that can hurt. Bad.
I figure, if he understands the process maybe he’ll understand the necessity of it.

Here’s the webpage we landed on. This eggsperiment ought to do the trick.
Egg Experiment


Whit said...

My wife showed our oldest a picture on the internet of a meth addict and told him that was what happens if you don't brush your teeth.

Hey, it worked.