Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Toothpaste Gospel

Mia's sitting on the bathroom counter, trying to decide between the fruity bubblegum toothpaste, and the minty toothpaste. Her legs are folded under her, and the toothbrush dangles in her hand as if waiting to be magnetically drawn to a tube of paste. In a flash of inspiration, she chooses: BOTH toothpastes. I hold out the Colgate and squeeze a dab onto her purple and yellow-striped brush. She wiggles and giggles at her unbelievable luck in convincing me to double up on flavors, and holds her brush steady for the sparkly pink gel to be applied next. Raising the toothbrush to her mouth, her eyes go nearly crossed trying to follow its path, and her eyebrows raise in excitement. TWO toothpastes, on the same brush: brilliant.


------------


We're sitting down as a family to dinner. Lauren's in her highchair tearing into a chimichanga, digging for treasured beans and pockets of melted cheese, stuffing sliced bell peppers into her mouth in huge strips, and cupping handfuls of shredded cheese as a backup bite. Meanwhile, Mia stares at her own food dolefully. She tears away a few bits of baked tortilla and crunches on them, making sure to tell us of her success. A bite! She took a bite! Now can she have some leftover birthday cake? Confronted with the ugly truth -- she needs to eat some actual food before she can have dessert -- she tosses her hair dramatically and closes her eyes. Wide-shut eyes: eyebrows defiantly high, mouth pursed in refusal, arms crossed with finality. But as soon as she sees Lauren's dessert being served, Mia buckles down and finishes half a chimichanga. Her pink and green cake is served, devoured, and declared delicious within a short 4 minute period, while the half-chimichanga took 30 minutes to be eaten.


------------


Justin is eyeing the leftover birthday cake with something close to disgust. He overindulged at the party yesterday, and hasn't felt so hot all day long because of it. He's irritable, bored, tired: not his usual, cheerful, after-work self. Knowing he consumed too much over-processed, sugary, fattening food the day before, he guesses his off-kilter feelings are due to the negative food effects. Listing his transgressions, he tells me, "I had at least 3 cookies, 2 pieces of cake, ice cream, and I don't even know how many slices of pizza. Not good. I'm not having any more. I feel too yuck."

Mia is terribly concerned for him. "You feel yucky? Why, daddy?"

He explains how too much junk food is bad for your body and even bad for your mood. "Just like in your Yummy/Yucky book, Mia. It says 'Ice cream is yummy. Too MUCH ice cream is YUCKY.' That's how I feel right now. I had too many treats, and now I feel yucky."

Mia understands. In fact, she looks slightly superior in her understanding. "Well," she scolds, "I don't feel yucky after my treats. Because I used two toothpastes to brush the yucky away. You should've did that, dad." She nods once, her knowledgeable gaze teaching us lessons we're just too daft to grasp.


------------


I sneak into the kitchen after bedtime, drawing a spoon from the drawer and turning to the freezer to sneak a treat. The kitchen is mostly dark, so the light from the freezer spills over me with either approbation or censure; I'm not sure which. I pop the top off the leftover strawberry ice cream, and dig my spoon into its frozen heart. Letting the freezer door close silently, I am plunged back into near-darkness, the better to savor my stolen bite. Just one bite -- ice cream isn't my favorite treat, but something about it was calling to me. Tempting me with its creamy, chilled, sweetness. I close my eyes and let the ice cream melt into strawberry-ish milk in my mouth. My teeth are getting dirtier by the second, coated as they are in artificial flavors and dairy sugars.

But I don't care.

Because I'm about to go scrub them clean with double-flavored toothpaste. Half little girl, half grown up: a true description of both the toothpastes on my brush, and me.

If growing up means I have to limit my choice of toothpastes, or my sneaky ice cream bites, then I shall remain half-girl from here on out.

12 comments:

  1. Love these little snatches from your life, Sarah! Two toothpastes at a time... I think our family will be trying it out tonight :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This left me with a huge smile on my face. Little girl logic is some of the best, and it's totally what keeps us young.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That Mia. She is so wise. Double toothpaste to make the icky go away. Divine!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That Mia is so wise. If I ever have a problem consuming too many donuts or the like, I now know what to do. ha ha ha

    ReplyDelete
  5. Whoa, Katie -- are you saying there's such a thing as too many donuts?? Surely you're joking...;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Simply adorable. What a sweet post. And yes, I'm using the word "sweet" as a double entendre. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, that kid's going to go far. With very clean teeth.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh. my. sweets have to be kept far away from our house. Levi and I could devour whole birthday cakes daily if we kept them around!

    ReplyDelete
  9. half-girl sounds like the best way to live!

    ReplyDelete
  10. you have such a beautiful blog. love your story.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this! A beautifully written glimpse into your world.

    ReplyDelete

Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?