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December 5, 2012

How Do You Teach a Kid to Spit, and Other Questions I Never Thought I Would Need to Ask

Upon having children, I knew I would need to work with them for them to learn many, many skills…how to use a spoon, how to drink from cups, how to navigate the stairs, how to crack an egg, how to use scissors.  The list is almost endless.

But occasionally something slips up on me that I just didn’t know to anticipate…something that seems so innate, and/or so self-explanatory…the lack of ability stumps this mama.

Not long ago I was tripped up by how hard it was for the girls to use tape.  That’s a goofy little skill, I know, but it was downright hilarious trying to get them to hold the dispenser with one hand, dispense the tape with the other, and then pull down and to the side to cut the tape.  Thinking about it…I know there are a lot of fine motor skills at play…and maybe I should have anticipated them pulling off 18” strands of tape…but I didn’t.

Most recently I’m struggling with teaching the girls to spit.

Since they got their first tooth, I’ve been brushing their teeth, and I’ve been using the baby (non-fluoridated) toothpaste.  At our last dentist appointment, in August, the dentist told me to finish the toothpaste I had, but then switch to a regular paste.

I squeezed every last drop of their baby toothpaste…but finally it was time to take the plunge.

I dreaded the change from our routine…the same we’ve known for years now…and I dreaded what I pictured could be a big mess.

But to date, it hasn’t been messy at all.  The girls can’t seem to spit to save themselves.


I gave them little cups and showed them how to sip a bit of water.  Just let the water fall out of your mouths,” I finally told them.

Baby A was at least able to muster that last night, although I’m not sure how much that actually rinsed her mouth.  B gulped down the water, right along with the toothpaste.

I’m not freaking out too much yet, as I am using less than a smear of paste on their itty-bitty brushes.  It’s not like they’re eating a teaspoon of toothpaste every day.

But this can’t go on forever!  Is spitting something they just get eventually?  Any tricks for teaching someone to spit?

[Can you feel me cringing a little bit every time I type the word “spit”???]  :)


Jennie said...

Maybe you could give them something to practice spitting out? My three year old is still using baby toothpaste, and I've been making him practice. He mostly gets bubbles out, and never makes it in the sink. It is lovely.

Charlene said...

I can't remember, I think mine just did it on their own, mostly from reflex because they are boys, I can't get them to stop disgusting!

Hope someone gives you some good ideas!

Charlene said...

should be now...not no.

Deanna said...

Lol...I had a hard time with this too! There was quite a bit of toothpaste swallowed, but sometime or other, it just clicked. I can't explain how--so I'm no help, basically--but I think they'll get it in a couple of weeks. : )

A is now a champion spitter, getting every last bit of toothpaste out of her mouth. They still drink the rinse water pretty often, but I'm not too concerned.

Johanna at The Baker Twins said...

One of mine is pretty awful at it too (sometimes swallowing and sometimes splattering spit all over the mirror. Eww! We got them little electric toothbrushes, which really helps produce more saliva and bubbles while brushing - easier to spit! :)

Marcia (123 blog) said...

i think they just eventually get it after you say one too many times, NO SWALLOWING!


Barbara Manatee said...

Adam doesn't know how to spit yet either (although Sarah is a pro at it!)

Another thing none of mine have mastered yet...truly 'blowing' their noses!!! snort and sniffle...that's all we got! ha!