It was a Tuesday night much like any other.
The kids (reluctantly) ate their dinner, they’d had their baths and were getting ready for bed as I folded up the few loads of washing I’d done that morning.
My 5-year-old son, Mason, was in the middle of brushing his teeth while his sister, Christina, leapt around the room dancing with her iPad, having already cleaned hers.
Mason never seems to have the patience to brush for long enough, so my husband, Troy, and I have been trying to find ways to teach him about dental hygiene and how important it is. Lately he’s been really into the Macleans Brush Time app which he uses on my phone. Feeling quite pleased with myself that he brushed his teeth for a whole TWO minutes without complaint, I continued to fold the washing with a smirk on my face.
I was winning at this parenting thing, right?
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Mason proceeded to walk to the bathroom to rinse out his mouth, insisting that he didn’t need any help to do so. He’s been on a real independence bend lately so I let him go. But then Troy noticed he’d been gone for quite a while so thought he should go check on him.
That’s when I heard giant screams coming from the bathroom.
“OH MY GOD, MASON, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???”
“YUCK, YUCK, YUCK.”
These were the words (and some more colourful ones thrown in for good measure) that I could hear coming from the bathroom. Troy came into the bedroom where I was folding the washing, Mason trailing behind him with his head hanging down when he explained to me he had found him cleaning his toothbrush in the toilet.
Christina, who is nine, burst into fits of laughter which her brother did not appreciate. "Christina, stop LAUGHING at me," he cried. I asked Mason why he had cleaned his toothbrush in the toilet when he proceeded to tell me that he did this 'all the time' because there was 'water in there'. I reasoned he must have thought the toilet was similar to a tap, in that sense, but disgusting none the less.
After some more prodding and questioning, we soon came to the horrifying discovering that Mason had been 'cleaning' ALL of our toothbrushes in the toilet quite regularly.
I tried to reason with Mason and explain to him why we shouldn't be cleaning out tooth brushes in the toilet, while simultaneously trying not to dry reach. Troy was far less understanding.
"Do you know we all POO in there? That's where everyone does their wees and their poos. You might as well lick someone's butt, it's the same thing," he was incredulous.
Mason's aunty, Lina, took him to the bathroom and washed his face, hands and mouth, while the rest of us felt as though we wanted to immediately scrub out mouths out with a giant brush. Lina left and as she was walking out the front door, Troy screamed after her, "Use contraception Lina, it's the best decision you'll ever make."
I took Mason aside and explained to him why he can't wash anymore toothbrushes in the toilet anymore. But I'm still not sure he understands why and I'm terrified he's going to keep doing it without us knowing.
What would you do in this situation? How can I teach him it's the wrong thing to do?
What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.