Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Can you brush away boundaries?

I have a new toothbrush. It's white and green, bristles not too soft, not too rough. Makes my teeth feel squeaky-clean.

My new dentist gave it to me at my last checkup. (Thanks, Dr. Burley.)

My ownership of this toothbrush -- as is the case with all of my toothbrushes -- will be fleeting. It seems I'm the only one in my house who has boundaries when it comes to using other people's toothbrushes.

I'll find my kids ambling around the house with my toothbrush protruding from their mouths -- the oldest providing mighty-machine sound effects (he's tower-crane obsessed), the youngest intoning, "Bu-ush teef, mommy? Bu-ush teef, mommy?" (Who knew that, when you drop the "R," brush is a two-syllable word?)

They have no problem with where they might drop it. (Bathroom floor, anyone?) No problem with where their hands have been before they touched it.

Ick. Toothbrush retired.

To be fair, my kids give the same treatment to their father's toothbrush. And it icks him out, too.

Not so when he borrows my toothbrush.

Perhaps borrow isn't the word. He really can't always remember which toothbrush is his, and he just grabs for one when he needs one. Sometimes, it's mine.

He doesn't understand why it's a big deal.

But it icks me out.

I've tried to get past it -- rinsing it off with mouthwash, and then water, and then drying it with a towel before using it again. Attempting to use it again.

But it icks me out.

Maybe I'll take to keeping my toothbrush in a not-so-accessible place. (We'll not say "hide." That makes it seem neurotic.)

Maybe I'll post a dummy toothbrush in the holder in my bathroom, and keep my real one in another hygienic place of my choosing. (OK. Neurotic.)

Or maybe the other members of my household will respect my boundaries when it comes to toothbrushes.

So, does the medicine cabinet sound like a good place for a toothbrush? (Though who knows what sort of germs lurk those dark recesses ...)

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