If you thought sleeping on the floor next to my screaming child or having said child puke all over us as we walked into the doctor's office was bad, wait until I tell you about how well Sunday morning went for me.
In case I've failed to make this clear, Michael does not like to take any kind of medication. He flat out refuses to do it. It's a matter of principle for him and seems to have nothing to do with the yucky factor of the medication. As I said in yesterday's post, Michael refused to take a grape flavored Motrin tablet even though he was in enough pain to cause him to scream and cry. Simply put, he has a policy on medicine, and he does not break that policy lightly.
To be perfectly honest, I'm still in shock that Michael actually took every dose of the amoxicillin from the last ear infection without a fight. I guess the benefit of that was countered by the full body hives that he got from it. I can appreciate the irony that the only medicine Michael has willingly taken also resulted in weeks of discomfort.
When I picked up this new prescription, I decided to use the same approach as I did with the last round since it worked so well. I explained that he had ear germs again, and that the doctor said he needs to take all of it to kill off the ear germs. I guess he was too sick to fight it on Saturday because he took two does for me. However, on Sunday morning Michael felt just good enough to decide that he didn't care about any ear germs or any doctor. He was not going to take any medication. It's yucky. End of story.
The only problem is that it can't be the end of the story. Stopping antibiotics after two doses will pretty much guarantee that the ear infection will come raging back to life. I know that. Almost everyone knows that. And trust me, I explained it to Michael too. He didn't care. The medicine is yucky, he will not take it.
I went into the kitchen to get the medicine and swore under my breath. 18 more doses to go, and Michael was already digging in against it.
We have been using a dosing spoon, which is like a test tube with a shot glass edge to drink from. I filled up the spoon and took it into the living room for Michael. I handed it to him and explained that he needed to fight the ear germs. He slurped the medicine right up.
Then, he spit it right back out into the spoon.
I started in with the doctor says you need to do this.
I tried to explain that the ear pain will come back if he doesn't take it all.
Son of a...
I was tired and frustrated, but I wasn't giving up yet. So, I got out a piece of paper and a pencil and started to draw an ear. I drew the external part of the ear, the Eustachian tube and the ear germs in the tube. Then, I erased some of the ear germs and explained that the antibiotics had only killed a few of the germs, and that's taken some of the pressure off the ear drum. I told him that as long as some of the ear germs were still alive they could start growing again. I drew in more ear germs and drew lines coming off the ear drum to show pain radiating from the ear. It was a good lesson and explained pretty well what was going on. It was perfectly rational.
Please feel free to laugh at me at this point. I realize that I may have been approaching the whole thing a little too rationally and scientifically for a three year old. In my defense, I was really, really tired and really, really desperate. I wasn't really thinking clearly at the time. Hey, if I'm doing bad parenting, I figure there could be worse ways to do it than giving useless biology lessons.
I'll give you one guess as to what Michael's response was.
Yep! "It's yucky."
I'll be honest. I lost it at that point. It's essential that Michael take his antibiotics. There is no debate on this. He must take the medicine. MUST! But, the more Michael MUST do something, the less likely he is to do it.
Now this is the hard part for some people to understand. They suggest I should just put him in time out until he takes it, or take away his toys until he takes it. That may work for some kids, but not with Michael. He is determined to win. He is devoted to winning. There is nothing more motivating to him than winning. He would rather die than give in.
I was frustrated, angry, scared, powerless, and at a complete loss. What the hell do I do now?
I just sat down and cried. And cried some more.
Michael was surprised and disturbed that I was crying. He was very sweet. He walked over to me, hugged me and used his finger to wipe away my tears. He started asking me why I was crying, so I tried to explain to him about my frustration. I explained that I was concerned about his ears and that I didn't want him to be sick or in pain and how I really wished that he would take his medicine. He was very concerned about it and hugged me again.
That's when I realized I had inadvertently just given Michael his first guilt trip. I didn't feel very good about that, but decided to cut myself some slack because I wasn't doing it to try and control him. I was just being honest about my feelings. I think that being emotionally honest is an important lesson to teach.
I asked Michael to take his medication.
"No, it's yucky!"
I calmly removed myself from the room.
Nothing I was doing was working. This conversation had been going on for about 45 minutes. I needed to step aside and collect myself before things go out of hand.
After a several minute break, it hit me. I was doing it all wrong. I was approaching the whole thing the wrong way. What kind of idiot tries to use mature, rational, womanly tactics to get a little boy to take medicine? I'll tell you, a mom! Maybe if I approached it from a immature guy point of view I would have more success.
I took an extra dosing spoon and filled it with Benadryl (We have about 3 different kinds that Michael won't take) and called Michael into the kitchen. In a really peppy tone I explained that I needed to take the yucky medicine and that I needed his help being tough. I placed his medicine in his hand and I grasped mine in my hand.
Then, I roared!
I asked Michael to roar and I roared again. I told Michael that we were going to be big and tough. Big tough dinosaurs. I asked him to roar again. Then I told him to down the yucky medicine. We both tossed our medicine back like we were downing a shot of tequilla and finished with the very same shiver as the medicine went down our throats. We roared again. I announced proudly that we were tough and put my hand up for a high five. I grabbed both his hands and thrust them into the air with another loud roar. Hell, if Michael was taller, we probably would have done a chest bump.
I call it the frat boy approach. Probably not the most politically correct approach, but I've gotten five more doses of medicine into him, so it's totally worth it in my book. If you don't like it, I'm perfectly willing to puff out my chest, strut around, call you names, and if I'm in a bad mood, you might just get a thunder bucket.*
Do I make myself clear?
*On the off chance that you don't know what a thunder bucket is, it when you take someone's head, dunk it in the toilet, and then flush. I've never actually seen one done, but I've heard guys talk about it, so it must be legit, right?