Metal Mouth

Derrick and Kaleigh have easily been the most expensive kids in our family. But with teeth like these, Rachel might be back in the running:

Rachel was absolutely elated with her new braces until 6:00 pm, when she promptly broke down crying. (It had also been exactly four hours since her first dose of Tylenol.) A smoothie from Sonora Grill and more pain medication put a smile back on her face.

I should have been more prepared with these things yesterday, but I went to the grocery store this morning and bought fifty bucks worth of:

smoothie drinks
ice cream

On the way to school, she spilled her yogurt smoothie down the front of her shirt, so we went back home so she could change into a clean one. We had to turn around a second time when I asked her if she had brushed her teeth well and she told me she hadn't brushed this morning. Or last night. "But you didn't brush with us!" was her excuse.

Which leads me to a question I've been thinking about for a long time now:

At what age do you stop going through the whole going to bed routine with your kids and send them to do it on their own?

Rachel and Lucy still want me at their bedside to say prayers with them, tuck them in, and turn out the light. (And, apparently, supervise the brushing of the teeth too.) I know it doesn't seem like much, but once we've gotten through the homework, reading, piano practice, baths/showers, scriptures, and Adam's new list of physical therapy exercises for his foot, I'm eager to send a couple kids off to get ready for bed by themselves.

Will someone with older children please share their thoughts?


Mommy Named Meg said...

Obviously I don't have older children, but I was once a child. I'm not sure when I started brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and all that other stuff on my own. It must have been pretty early though, because I know by the time I was in 6th grade I was doing my own laundry, and had a week long rotation in all of the chores in addition to doing all that for myself for quite some time.

Despite all that my Dad tucked me in almost every night until I got married. I know that seems excessive, but I think my Dad cherishes those memories and I certainly do. Maybe encourage some of the more tedious self grooming independence, but try to appreciate the more fun ones.

Aneesa Bee said...

What great thoughts, Meg! I just had a night-talk with my boys last night (Gid and Sam) and I was thinking about how those conversations at night are the ones I remember the most--and the ones where I listen and they listen the most. I know most nights, I don't have a large supply of patience left. But if I can just hold on long enough to tuck them in, the rewards are priceless.

As for the nighttime grooming--We have a closing song and prayer, and then the kids are supposed to get ready for bed. But it doesn't seem to work quite that way!

I now expect my 11 year old to brush by himself, but I have to remind all the others multiple times. And I brush for my 7 year old about three times a week--and the four year old I do all the brushing. It seems like it takes FOREVER!!!! Wish I had more tips. . . . :-) glad to know I'm not alone!

AngelaW said...

I remember only wanting pudding pops, but I might have been taking advantage of the braces situation. We tell Jack to brush every night. If he is too quick, we send him back. It is part of his normal morning routine. I made a checklist for him to look at before school. I expect him to do all of things on his list without me following him around. I just ask him if everything is checked off before he leaves in the morning.

Kacie said...

I dont know on the getting ready for bed....but I am excited for Rachel! I hope her teeth start to feel normal soon.

HeidiAnn said...

By about 10 they start to do the routine on their own. Different kids/different personalities still need reminding though, "Did you brush you teeth today?" My 3 oldest do the routine and get in bed by themselves but I still come in to say good night every night. Sometimes they are already asleep when I get up there, other times it is a great time to have some one-on-one conversation with them. I think the whole thing depends more on personality/responsibility than a hard-fast age but I have found around 10 to be the magic year.

Ramanda said...

I always get a kick out of your blog! I just got caught up on a few posts and I think you are so fascinating and hilarious! It is always a delight to read your happenings!
As for nightly routines. I send mine off independantly to take care of bruching and flushing and then do a spot check when they are done, like on Despicable Me. YOu can tell when they aren't thorough. Older ones get to help the younger ones and then after song, prayer, and study, they get settled in bes and we come and tuck them in and listen to private prayers. The only thing that keeps me motivated to keep doing it is the thought that some day I will miss these moments. Thanks again for having an wonderful blog!

Natalie said...

I just read my sisters comments, my oldest that will be 13 in 2 months still wants me to "tuck him in" He is the only one that I don't have to follow around and make sure he does his bedtime routine. I am hoping girls are better at this. I find if I don't follow the boys around they try tricks like, "I totally brushed me teeth." (When they really just swished with mouthwash.) Since my husband has been out of town all summer, this bedtime routine seems exhausting with all 6, but I tell myself it is worth it. I also have a great quote by Harold B Lee that I try to remember when I do this routine. I will send it to you. :)

Calandra Janocha said...

I like the candy colors of Rachel's bands. Hmmm... That bed time routine is quite tough to just leave behind, especially if the family has extra close family ties. I think you should tell them gradually about it. Someday, your kids will just feel this sense of maturity and outgrow this routine.