Once upon a time, there were two small boys. And their mothers took them from their small town, where the water was not fluoridated, on a small airplane, to (as the larger of the small boys put it) The Land of Toronto, where for two nights in a row they attended enormous family dinners, during which they ran around like madmen with their cousins and ate untold amounts of sugar and watched cable television shows like American Idol and had vast quantities of fun and fell into bed at 10 p.m. without even brushing their teeth they (and their mothers) were so tired and full of glee.
They also drove all around the Land of Toronto, having adventures that involved dinosaurs and subway trains and mud puddles and several of their mothers’ Old Stomping Grounds. And it was good.
Then they went to The Small Town of Guelph, where they ate untold quantities of chocolate Easter eggs and had large family dinners and ran around like madmen with their cousins and stayed up very late watching (appropriately) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The children, though generally delightful, coped with the travel and the influx of sugar and the lack of sleep and the media by occasionally throwing tantrums in the presence of older relatives and eating lots of cheese strings. Their mothers coped by drinking lots of wine. Mostly, they tried to be good parents, which involved, in part, requiring the small boys to brush their teeth after two nights of not.
They took out the small boys’ toothpaste and toothbrushes, whereupon the small boys’ auntie wondered aloud why the mothers were letting the small boys use fluoridated toothpaste.
The mothers explained that the water in their small town was not fluoridated, and that their family doctor had suggested that they use said toothpaste to compensate.
The auntie again wondered out loud why the mothers were letting the small boys use fluoridated toothpaste.
The mothers again explained that the water in their small town was not fluoridated, and that their family doctor had suggested that they use said toothpaste to compensate.
The auntie again began to wonder out loud why the mothers were letting the small boys use fluoridated toothpaste, but stopped herself midsentence when she realized that she was critiquing other people’s parenting and apologized for doing so.
Just then, the larger of the two small boys walked into the room and, for no apparent reason, bonked the smaller of the two small boys on the head. The smaller boy began to cry. The larger boy left the room.
There followed an uncomfortable silence.
Then the auntie said, “Well, maybe if you didn’t let them use fluoridated toothpaste, they wouldn’t be so violent.”