Why did you write Tooth Brushing Time?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, reading, and word games and want to share wordplay and reading with my grandchildren. I attended my first formal writing workshop prior to their birth and rediscovered writing as an outlet of expression. In the future, I hope to grow up writing for them and with them. I look forward to the future and opportunities to imagine and create stories together.
I remember the joy of reading Dr. Seuss to my own daughter; we still recite lines from some of our favorites. Habits and rhymes learned early in life tend to stick – I was surprised at the many nursery rhymes that came back quickly with cadence and visual cues.
As a Grandmother, who wants to teach good habits, I recognized being a poor role model in this task. I’m an adult who rushes through the brushing process and has observed enough other adults realize that I’m not alone in my hurriedness. I’ve also observed those who “brush the right way”
Presenting this lesson in a fun way through a book is my way of combining a desire to write with a desire to teach (and learn) I have slowed down my own brushing process and smile at the thought of those cavity bugs falling off ledges.
What do kids need to work on when Brushing? How are they missing the tough spots where plaque likes to hide?
Learning to brush not only the front of the teeth but also behind, on an angle, the biting/chewing surfaces, and the tongue. Thinking about the cavity bugs lurking in these places will encourage them to concentrate on all the crevices and hiding places.
What are some practical ways that parents/grandparents can help children brush their teeth better?
Lead by example. Make sure they see you brush or better yet brush together, making it a reverse race (who can brush the longest?) Read the book to them while they brush and pretend that they’re spitting out cavity bugs when they rinse. Make brushing fun and engaging by naming the bugs – there goes Peanut Butter Paul, Oreo Olivia, Pizza Pete, Apple Annie, etc.
What do you think is the key message for parents/grandparents to walk away with?
We use books to help our kids from bedtime routines, practice good manners, learn the alphabet and many other valuable lessons. This book is a tool to encourage good dental hygiene by turning brushing into a playful, fun experience that can be shared by the whole family.
Pam, you have an active imagination. What helps you write?
Sometimes I just get a bug in my brain that won’t go away until I create something – could be an art project or words. I’ve always liked to read and words and word play come easily to me; writing seems like a natural product of those components. Inspiration can spark from being quiet with nature, observing daily routines, looking at things from a new perspective or just a comment or pondering – “why do children’s toy telephones have a dial and handset”?
While conducting research for your book, I understand that you had a Dentist give you advice about the best way for Children to brush their teeth.What did you take away from this experience?
Steve’s cousin’s wife, Jan, is a dental hygienist and our dentist feels like part of the family. Jan and her colleagues read the initial poem and provided technical feedback. Dental professionals observe the long term effects of our oral care and are passionate about brushing and flossing habits.
What is your favorite aspect of being a grandparent?
I love observing life from the eyes of my grandchildren while sharing my experiences with them. Being a grandparent is my license to be free and silly, sit on the floor, giggle and play as hard as I work!