My Donny is growing up, or at least it seems so since he decided to switch toothpastes. A few days ago, he declared that he doesn't like the fluoride-free apricot toothpaste - which we have been using to brush his teeth for over a year - "emeneemore." We actually use it on both boys, since even Hayden has outgrown the toddler training toothpaste that contains a fruity flavor and zero cleansing action. I set the half-used tube of Baby Oragel aside a few months ago, thinking we would have to give it away or save it for our next baby. And now Donny wants another new toothpaste. Unwilling to waste money on various flavors only to have him turn up his nose at them too, Don and I agreed to let Donny try a tiny bit of our "adult" toothpaste. The condition? Our toothpaste contains fluoride, which is supposedly bad to swallow in toothpaste, and supposedly good to swallow in tap water...but I digress. So instead of lying on our lap for his toothbrushing session and swallowing the toothpaste as usual, he would have to stand at the sink and spit it out.
I soon discovered a flaw in the new plan: Donny did not know how to spit. As I brushed his teeth with the sudsy Crest, I told him, "Okay, now try to spit it out" - to which he swallowed, ran for his water cup with a panicked look on his face, and gulped down several sips. I was ready to return to the familiar and swallow-able apricot after that, but Daddy offered to teach him the fine art of spitting. After just one evening of male bonding with glasses of water over the bathroom sink, my eldest son can spit like - no, not a camel - more like a waterfall. Yesterday evening, he christened my sheets, his sheets, and his brother's shirt with a flow of backwash. (And no, this was not smiled upon by either parent.) Of course, he still swallowed his toothpaste. Tonight I used the apricot paste. So far, the sheets are still dry.
Earlier today, Donny and I were having one of our conversations of Whys and Hows and other deep questions of which three year olds never tire. "Mumma, where was Hayden when I was a baby?" Not surprisingly, my answer of "He wasn't born yet," was countered with, "Why wasn't he born yet?" So I explained that God usually gives babies one at a time. "First God gave us baby Donny. Then when you were almost two years old, God gave us another baby, which was Hayden. Maybe someday God will give us more babies."
Immediately, Donny exclaimed, "Like, ten! I want ten babies, to use that baby toothpaste we have."
Both his random toothpaste reference and his choice of numbers caught me off guard. On our first date almost five years ago, Don and I discovered that we both wanted to have a big family. In fact, as our relationship progressed and others began to point out the many differences between us, this was consistently one value that we had in common. That evening as we shared our dreams for the future in the Barnes and Noble cafe, we jokingly agreed to have no more than ten children. Since having our first two blessings, we have amended that agreement only to remove the limit altogether; we will welcome as many children as God gives us, whether is is three or six or ten or twenty. The Bible tells us that children are blessings, and we believe that God's Word is true. A friend from the church we grew up in saw me last summer and asked whether Don and I still want ten kids - and I said yes. Now, without us ever mentioning it to him, our firstborn has the same dream!
If Donny gets his wish, I will have a good reason to stock up on every flavor and type of toothpaste. For now, I think we will stick with the fluoride-free apricot, so I can brush Donny's teeth on my lap like I always do. Since I only get babies one at a time, I want to cherish their little smiles for as long as I can.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. - Psalm 127:3