I should have known…
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My wife is almost always right. I’ll leave the modifier “almost” in there because, after all, she’s not perfect. That’s a secret too.
We’ve talked about Jake’s need for familiarity and routine, correct? He’s not the only one. In our family of five, we have five different toothpastes. Five. There’s no need of it, but that’s how it goes down. Beth is usually the most picky. She needs Colgate Total Advanced, with whitenening, paste and not gel. I usually get it wrong when I go to the store because there’s this whole wall of toothpastes. I’ll get Colgate Partially Advanced, limited whitening gel. Did I do good? No? I’ll use this one then. Liv likes the ‘young kids who are almost big enough to handle the minty goodness that is adult’ toothpaste. Gabe uses whatever funky color I can find. Jake has to have SpongeBob toothpaste. It’s a blue gel with sparkles in it. This is where our story begins.
It’s taken months of convincing Jake that the Colgate little kids blue gel toothpaste with sparkles is the same as his SpongeBob variety. This major life changing event occurred when Wal-Mart ran out of SpongeBob one day. Enter Dad this past weekend:
I’m in Target, not Wal-Mart, for starters. We usually get toothpaste at Wal-Mart, but I was at Target for something completely unrelated and thought I’d get a two-fer. After I find the toothpaste aisle, I realize that I can’t remember which kind of toothpaste he uses since the switch from SpongeBob. I remember it’s blue, but …? I find Avengers toothpaste. Iron Man! Hulk! How can I go wrong? It’s even blue. I am such a good Dad.
Later, as I finish up my Bangor, ME, shopping, I get this seed in my subconscious that says I’ve screwed up. I just have that Dad-feeling that this isn’t going to end well. I’m also too cool to actually phone home and ask for help. Eureka! I’ve got a plan. I’m going to swing by Wal-Mart and look there. I find Crest little kid blue gel toothpaste. Has to be the stuff. I hope.
Of course, when I get home, Beth tells me that I’ve again screwed up and it’s not going to fit the bill. I’m not worried (but I should be). When bedtime rolls around, I squirt a healthy blob of Crest little kid toothpaste onto Jake’s brush and march into his room. It’s dim, he’s tired, and there’s no way he’s going to notice that there’s no sparkles, right? Wrong! It takes him less than 2 seconds to realize he’s been duped. He doesn’t even get it to his face.
Jake: “What’s wrong kind of toothpaste is this?”
Me: “It’s the same”
Jake: “No it’s not”
Me: “Yes it is, it’s blue. Try it”
Jake: (sniffs) “It’s is-gusting!”
Me: “Try it”
Jake: (with shaky, un-trusting hand, brings it to his mouth) “It tastes like sauce!”
Me: “Hang on.”
I return to the bathroom, where Beth’s in the tub and I explain my failure. She pulls out the line heard by husbands for millennia – “I told you so.” I exchange it for the Crest stuff I bought and a similar conversation ensues. Only when I squirt the dredges of his pitifully near-empty tube of Colgate can I get him to brush his teeth.
Did I mention that there’s now SEVEN tubes of toothpaste next to our bathroom sink? If not, it must have been because I’m already thinking about my trip back out to Wal-Mart. There’s a moral to this story, I think.
I’m just not seeing it yet.
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