“Do we have any more toothpaste?” yells the younger.
“Why? The tube is mostly full,” I say, walking into the bathroom.
“But that one’s soooooo disgusting,” she says, wrinkling her nose.
I pick up the shiny red tube of Colgate Optic White Advanced and inspect it as if doing so will disclose something to me.*
“Huh, so, you don’t like that one? I didn’t realize you still didn’t like adult toothpaste. Hold on, I think I have some of the kind you like in the closet.”
I root around in the chest of drawers in the hallway and hand her a lurid green and purple tube.
“Ewww … No!”
She reacts as if I’ve just handed her a tube of poo.
“Berry bubble???!” she continues, reading the description on the tube. “That’s so gross. That’s some kind of baby toothpaste that probably expired, like 5 years ago!”
I’m mildly surprised to discover that we concur that berry bubblegum flavored toothpaste is a revolting concept.
I peer at the tube, which is adorned with trolls. I vaguely recall buying multiple tubes in bulk some time ago, and it must have been when one of those similarly luridly colored movies came out so, to be fair, it probably is pretty old. But also surely chemically imperishable, no?
“Wait, so you think the minty one is gross and also this one is gross. What have you even been using??”
To me, we have pretty much covered the toothpaste spectrum: there’s sickly-sweet pink goo for babies or laceratingly minty enamel-scouring white for the advanced. Pick your poison.
“I like the frozen one,” she says tentatively.
The frozen one.
I’m frowning, puzzled, as I open the bathroom trash can and fish out the old tube.
I start laughing.
“OK, I’m sorry, you won’t even try the Trolls toothpaste because it’s for babies, but you like the Frozen one???”
Elsa and Ana’s sparkling blue eyes peer out at me from the scrunched-up tube, which I now hold aloft.**
“I looooove Elsa, so I only use Frooooozen toothpaste!!” I trill in a sing-song voice.
The younger is now laughing hysterically.
“Noooooooo!” she gasps, between giggles.
“I looooooove Elsa, even though I’m really more of an Ahhhhhhhhna, and I only use Froooooozen toothpaste!” I sing even more flamboyantly, and the younger is laughing so hard I think she might expire.
* Optic White is a strange name. The brand that came up with the name, Lexicon, says that “in our review of more than 300 products in several countries, the word optic did not surface. Our research showed that, for consumers, the combination of optic and white triggered strikingly positive associations.” Surely their research also revealed that Optic White is the name of the paint color made by Liberty Paints (“If It’s Optic White, it’s The Right White”) in Invisible Man?
** Note that it is their eyes that sparkle, not their teeth, which are barely visible. It strikes me that a better avatar for toothpaste would be a Big Bad Wolf (“Grandmother, what white teeth you have!”).