It was time to take the toddler to the dentist. All week we practised opening our mouth for the dentist. "What do you say to the dentist?" I'd ask her.
"Ahhhhh," she'd obligingly reply, with her mouth wide open.
Except once we arrived at the surgery, I realised that she would have no concept of this stranger as a dentist. And in fact he was more likely to say to her, "Can I have a look at your teeth?"
I thought we would rehearse this. The receptionist gave me a kindly smile. The other patients looked on approvingly.
"What do you say when the dentist asks to look at your teeth?" I asked the toddler. All eyes in the room were on her.
The toddler thought about it. I prompted her again. "What do you say when he asks to look at your teeth?"
She then shouted decisively, "NO! TEETH MINE! NO NO NO NO!"
She did not get a sticker for good behaviour.