Good Habits & Bad Habits

My child is ridiculously talented but you wouldn’t know it. Why wouldn’t you know it? Because you don’t live with her. I do. Prove it, you say? Well… I can’t. Every time she does something that’s super smart, I whip out my iPhone so fast the momentum of the earth momentarily falters and my fingertips burn from friction as I frantically drag my ten thumbs over the screen into the right position. Snap! But all I got is a blurry shot of Adi falling off the couch. What you don’t know is that four milliseconds before I took the picture, she was doing triple back flips off of the arm rest. But I can’t prove that to you because my child is so quick at doing those back flips.

Janice is teaching Adi how to brush her teeth. We bought this tiny little toothbrush and tiny little tube of “training” toothpaste which is basically a sugary fruit flavored gel candy, which is kind of ironic. Every time Janice brushes her teeth, she gets Adi to do the same. Adi sucks most of the “toothpaste” off of the brush and then smears the remaning paste all over her face. Then she spends ten minutes rubbing her lips with empty bristles. Little, if any, toothpaste actually gets into her mouth. Adi thinks she’s very successful, however, since mommy and daddy clap enthusiastically every time she does it. She become a big fan of brushing her teeth. “I brush teeth!” She tells me after every successful “cleaning.” She has become a tooth brushing evangelist, taking her tiny toothbrush and carefully brushing the teeth of every stuffed animal in the toy chest.

At this point, her tiny toothbrush probably has more germs on it than the toilet brush. Of course, since all she has is baby teeth, they’ll fall out anyway. It’s like nature’s dentist. “Hey kid, you ruined your first pair of teeth, but here are some new teeth. Try again.”

However, a good habit has been formed! Hopefully visits to the dentist’s office in our future have been limited. I hate sitting in the dentist’s chair but I hate paying bills at the dentist even more.

As much as I have tried, not all her habits are good. She watches Ice Age movies and Baby Shark videos more than any human being should. Every time she asks to watch something, a whole conflicting series of emotions well up within me. Should I let her watch something? If I don’t, she’ll cry. If I have to watch that stupid baby shark video again, I’ll cry. If she throws a fit, I have to discipline her. If I have to discipline her, I won’t get this project done. But if I don’t discipline her, she’ll be a troubled, obnoxious teen who gets in trouble at school. Then she’ll end up living in the garden shed and I’ll have to pay for even more dentist visits. That’s when Adi starts crying because I’m sitting there sorting out my thoughts and not letting her watch anything. Janice pokes her head into the living room. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, Adi wants to watch something.”


“I don’t want her to live in our garden shed when she’s twenty five.”

“What has that to do with anything?”

I sigh. I should have made Adi watch a documentary on the paper production process and then convinced her that’s the most fun video ever made. Then we wouldn’t have this addiction to screens. But it’s too late now, bad habits have been formed! Well… it’s not too late, she’s only 19 months old. But still, my perfect baby has been tarnished by human nature already. I guess in April we’ll have another shot at raising the perfect child.