Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dead Strawberries - Guest Blogger

Thanks Dad...for Dead Strawberries

After five kids, one would think that parents would have no problem choosing just the right toothpaste for their children. Sadly, in the kingdom of the Andrews and Jewskis, such is not the case. Rather with each passing princess comes a different affinity for the sticky substance that delicately cleans the white gate whose job it is to guard the unruly tongue. The older two, Brooklyn and Faith, have safely passed onto adulthood as far as dental hygiene is concerned preferring “Mom and Dad's” toothpaste. The younger two female subjects, Liberty and Trinity make much of their desired brand, and the heir to throne, Justice can be found at various times throughout his day licking every last bit of residue from the lid, with blatant disregard for others' wishes.

Yet, last Monday, while brushing her milk teeth just before prayers, my considerably chatty four-year-old, Trinity, with great eloquence and masterful prudence, made clear her wishes concerning the latest brand. With great sincerity she disclosed, “Daaalllldy” (not disrespectfully, thats just how she says it, and following with complete composure...) “I thank you for this toothpaste, but it tastes like dead strawberries.” Then, she proceeded to brush. As if that wasn't funny enough, Nina later informed me that the night before Trin told her it tasted like a dead tiger. Nina talked her into rotten strawberries, and the next night I get an amalgamation of the two – dead strawberries.

Didn't Bill Cosby make a TV show out of stuff like that? I don't know, maybe it was the way she said it...maybe it was the words she chose, but the lesson almost ran me over like a fawning press corps running to Barack Obama's defense.

It made me want to go buy her the most expensive, best tasting, cavity fighting pediatric toothpaste in Portugal, right then. Leaving aside any attempt at deceit or flattery, she petitioned the proper authority without even asking the first question, simultaneously doing so with obedience and a side of thankfulness. She acted out of honesty but without thought of punishment or reprisals. There existed great liberty in her expression, albeit an expression of dissatisfaction. She pitched no fits, and stomped no feet, and made no demands on when she would or would not brush her teeth. Encompassed in all of this is my favorite lesson: She never once hinted at the expectation of good tasting toothpaste. While Trinity would like to brush her teeth without feeling like she has eaten from a compost heap, she never assumed entitlement.

Don't mistake what I am saying for neglect. Clean teeth, I believe, for matters of health and hygiene, is a basic right for a four-year-old, but clean teeth scented with bubble gum and Little Mermaid designs enters into the realm of preferences and privileges. Teaching the difference between those two worlds – our needs and our wants – is paramount in raising children.

Most of you probably think that I make too much out of a toothpaste preference. I disagree, but let's consider for a moment that you are right. One could reason, especially in the grand scheme of things, toothpaste should not be this big a deal. However, raising a generation of whiners and ingrates is.

Written by Michael Andrzejewski for The LaGrange Daily News.

24 hours left to enter my give-a-way.


Aurora said...

I can just hear her saying that. I commend you on your efforts at raising not whiners or ingrates but children who know to whom they owe their all, Jesus Christ. I happen to think you both are doing a great job. I see it everytime we have a Sunday School class.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Oh no. What I have to look forward to with my two girls!

Hope you don't mind I joined your stalkers. Now we can stalk each other (and I'm hoping to learn from you, my friend!) :)

Anonymous said...

That was a great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nina,
I started looking at your blog after seeing your entries on the Kenney's blog spot. I went to church with them in Georgia so I love keeping up with all the news from Chile and I have also really enjoyed looking at your site it is a blessing to read how much you love and enjoy your family. Thats the way it should be!!!!! You are very creative with the computer designs you do on your site. The pictures are always great.


Sharon said...


Tori said...

Oh how funny and so well written!
Great job in being constantly aware that life is really just one big lesson and one day we will either hear, "well done" or not.

Thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Mimi and Pawpaw need to bring Trin some GOOD toothpaste! It will be a surprise.
See ya in a few days!!

Anonymous said...

This is my first time on your site. I found it while reading your most recent newsletter. Your blogspot is really nice. I'm really new at all of this & this is the first time I have left a comment. I just want to say "thanks" to you & your family for being such a blessing & encouragement. I also want to encourage you to keep on, keeping on! We're praying for you! Love in Christ, Kim Ferrill, Member of Bible Baptist Church, Rickman, TN

Anonymous said...

Is it too late to enter your contest?? I must say I love reading about your adventur in Portugal. My family and I will be moving their next fall. Thank you for doing His good work!!

Covered by His grace,
Mia Coelho

Anonymous said...

Amen on that last paragraph Brother! If more parents recognized the importance of teaching their children the difference between Wants and Needs, which happens to be the first grade class material for Junior Achievement, our world would be a much better place; less bailouts would be taking place for sure.

Love and prayers,

Aunt Shawn

Aunt Shawn