It’s time for a little parenting advice.

My two-year-old won’t let me brush her teeth. Do you have any advice on how to get her to let me?

Stomp on her foot and while she’s screaming, brush. Or you could go the less violent route and do what I do, which is pretend that there’s a monkey in her mouth and that it needs a bath, and you need to get in there and scrub it. Then pretend that the monkey won’t let you wash it and is jumping all around in her mouth so you can get all the teeth. I’ve used this technique on all three of my horrible stubborn children, and for whatever reason, they all thought it was totally hilarious.

My son got stung by a bee and is now so scared that it’s going to happen again that he won’t go outside. This, as you can imagine, is problematic. How can I help him get over it?

Once, a dog tried to bite my son’s face off, and for months afterward he would lose his shit every time we came within eight miles of a dog. No joke, once he refused to go into someone’s house because the people next door to them had a dog. I felt so bad for him, and I was also really annoyed by it, but that’s because I wasn’t the one who was suffering.

Be as reassuring as possible and give it time. Yesterday we were at a play date and the people had a St. Bernard and it was truly a gigantic dog, and my son walked right by it like it was a hamster instead of the hugest dog he’s ever seen. He barely noticed it. I was really happy for him.

Do you have any tips on organizing a playroom?

Our playroom is a nightmare. I haven’t seen my oldest in a few days; it’s possible he got lost in a pile of stuffed animals. Anyone who’s seen our playroom knows I have no business giving advice on this subject, but one thing that helps is throwing things away. Don’t ask the children if you can throw their toys away, just get rid of them. And unless it’s something awesome, you’re not going to be able to donate them. No one wants a pile of Happy Meal toys. Every night while they’re sleeping, get rid of their stuff, and then one day they’ll wake up and have one Lego and half a crayon left, and they’ll be sad, but your playroom will be tidy.

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