Pearly whites

I’m not sure whether these are a testament to our children’s superior oral hygiene or to our inability to throw anything away.

Most likely, they reflect Isaac’s obsession with brushing his teeth — or, more precisely, his addiction to the sickly sweet children’s toothpaste that he agitates for constantly. He follows us around upstairs, repeating, “Teeth? Teeth? Teeth?” until one of us caves and sticks some paste on a brush for him. Then he wanders around the house (and yes, I know that’s dangerous and that one day he’ll poke out his own trachea with a Dora the Explorer toothbrush — I’m working on it) sucking on the toothbrush and then casting it off somewhere obscure like my desk or the kitchen floor. And then, come bedtime, we say, “Hey! Have you seen Isaac’s toothbrush?” And then we find another one for him. And then ... you know.

I did suggest to Rachel a couple of weeks ago that we needed a “toothbrush system.” She just rolled her eyes. Apparently, the idea of a “one-toothbrush-per-person, all-in-the-same-drawer” rule is too radical to contemplate. Or maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “system.” I decided not to suggest that we disinfect the current brushes with hydrogen peroxide. Because, apparently, you can do that. Makes sense, no? Especially during flu season? Just don’t do what my friend Karen did and leave the glass of hydrogen peroxide next to the sink for her husband to mistake for water and then ... you know.

“I poisoned Dan last night,” she told me.

“You know,” I said, “if you and Dan are having problems, you should talk to him.”

But seriously. It’s spring cleaning time. I am motivated. Take one good last look at these babies, because some Dora the Explorer toothbrushes are going to fall victim to the system real soon. Right after I get rid of the syringes.