In my role as stay-at-home Dad I’m often the parent charged with nursing our sick kids back to health. This week a case of Swimmers Ear sidelined Amanda and I was in charge of getting her 1.5 oz. of Amoxicillin twice per day for 10 days.
Anyone who’s had the nastiness that is Amoxicillin will recognize as I did that this would take all of my energies.
Yesterday Amanda had dose #8 of #20, then promptly made herself gag and throw up. Today she’s tired and cranky and won’t budge. It’s time to get creative. Here’s the plan:
Step #1) START WITH A GOOD TASTE – We start by drinking or eating something good. I use pink lemonade or apple sauce. In our house we tell the girls that it gets the taste buds working. Which is true, because the juice or apple sauce stimulates their dry mouth and just as importantly gets my kids on my side. I can see them thinking, “Dad is great”, “this isn’t so bad” and “I can do this.” Experience has taught me that positive thoughts are important for me to get through Step #2.
Step #2) TAKE THE BAD MEDICINE – It is critical that while the good taste is still coating your children’s mouth they MUST drink the bad medicine. Parents: This is your chance to teach your children how to do a shot. In the end you will justify this as teaching them an important lesson, but will always feel a little guilty. You realize that it will be important for them to have good form in college. But in the back of your mind will wonder if your child develops a love of shots and tequila is involved that it may very well lead to you becoming a grandparent. Nonetheless, teaching your child to take a shot is an important skill and is critical to us moving forward. Make a game out of taking shots during Step #1. It’ll help get you through Step #2.
Step #3) EAT SOMETHING DRY – After convincing your child to take the bad medicine, you’re on cruise control because the rest is easy. Right after taking the bad medicine, have your child take a bite of something really dry. We use toast or crackers with peanut butter. Sometimes I bake homemade corn bread. You can take the time to explain to the kids that they need to eat what you’re giving them because it will suck the bad flavor out of their mouth, the side of their tongue and in the back of their throat. I told them it would stop the gag reflex that made them want to puke.
Step #4) TAKE THE GOOD MEDICINE – When our kids are sick they normally have more than one type of medicine. Most often one is a prescription, with the other being Cherry, Bubble Gum or Grape flavored Children’s Motrin or Tylenol. We call it the good medicine. This is a perfect time to make sure that you remain on schedule and administer the proper amount of medicine to the proper child at the proper time. Another trick to stay organized is to keep a running log on the kitchen counter next to your weekly grocery list.
Step #5) GET THE GOOD TASTE BACK – I find this is easiest to do with a Hershey’s Kiss, but have learned that ice cream, freeze pops and homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies are acceptable substitutes.
Please note: I’ve had the best results using the Five Step method when the girls and I have had a trial run. Your job is to help psych your child into believing that it’s better to just get it over with. Only you know what buttons to push.
As for me, I’ve had the best luck setting the stopwatch on my iPhone and walking the kids through the process beforehand. Next, I’ll reset the stopwatch and talk them through Steps #1-5 in real time. On the third go-round I’ll tell my girls I’m proud of them, then we knock knuckles to #GirlPower, take a deep breath and begin.
Some of you will be impressed to learn that our personal best time from Steps #1-5 is 16.0 seconds. I have a screen shot to prove it. Don’t hate. Work up to it. Remember, anything past Step #2 is your goal.
If the kids still aren’t convinced I suggest that you launch into the “Twenty Seconds of Courage” speech from “We Bought A Zoo” and try to keep your cool.