Motherhood changes everything. We cannot perceive life in the same way as before, and over time, even the simplest routines take on deeper meaning. I’ve developed a wealth of wisdom of depths I never thought I was capable of possessing. Unfortunately, this wisdom does not extend to provide me answers to the great mysteries of life — rather, is limited to the mundane, the ordinary, and the practical.
Our electric toothbrush, for example, is located on the first floor, outside the kitchen, and around the hall. In the morning, when I’m busy packing lunches, unloading the dishwasher, brewing a cup of tea and telling the boys to stop fighting and eat their breakfast, I can also simultaneously hear who is brushing their teeth. In a matter of seconds, I know if the brusher is either:
- brushing without toothpaste
- pretending to brush teeth, but is rather, brushing the “air.”
- has not brushed long enough
- or all of the above.
Busted. The boy soon realizes. “How did she know?”
Unfortunately, I have not grown eyes in the back of my head. But, here’s what I listen for, without even trying to listen:
If the toothbrush starts running in less than 15 seconds upon child entering the bathroom, I know there has not been enough seconds for the child to squirt his toothbrush with paste.
If there is an “echo” of the toothbrush battery, I can guarantee that there is a little boy in the bathroom looking at himself, smiling, in the mirror, while he holds the toothbrush, running, as it twirls in the air, and not on the teeth. If there is any argument, all I have to do is point to the mirror where the toothpaste splatters are evident.
Of course, there is the stutter of the toothbrush, that automatically signals when the two minute brushing time is over. But, that’s for the boys’ benefit. I know when two minutes have passed; and when two minutes have not passed. So, boys, save yourself the trouble. I’ll know if you turned the brush off too early. So, if you want to save yourself some time, just keep the toothbrush in your mouth for the allotted two minutes – or I’ll make you start over from the beginning again.
I cannot, for the life of me, ignore these warning signs. They are ingrained, and they bother me just as much as a leaky faucet dripping into the night.