How to Give Medicine to your (Highly Sensitive) Child in 33 Easy Steps

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If you are blessed with a highly sensitive, or sensory processing challenged child, you already know that some things are, well, let’s say, more of a challenge for us parents as well. Like administering medicine for example.

Which can be extremely stressful to a parent who is trying to help their child heal from an illness.  I am the first to hold off for a good long while before giving a fever reducer or an antibiotic if its not warranted. Especially with the added stress of knowing how that interaction will go.  And yes, I am highly sensitive myself 🙂 So seeing my kid scream and fight off meds sets me off, and causes me anxiety.

Ever since he was 3 or 4 months old and he got his first of a string of (double) ear infections, giving him ANY meds has been nearly impossible. The first one was the worst, I will never forget it. I didn’t know what was wrong with him. I was a brand new mom with no one to turn to for advice. He cried and cried, screaming all night long, and we had no idea why. He did have a little fever but nothing major. When we took him in the next morning to the pediatrician, they enlightened us on the double ear infection and sent us on our way with antibiotics, a syringe, and vague instructions on how easy it would be to give it to him. Little did they know of his superpower.

Giving him medicine was like giving him poison. He’d writhe, choke & gag no matter how “far back and between his gums and his cheek” you went.  A few months later with yet another ear infection, he was getting smarter and stronger, and it was getting harder and harder. I legitimately called in the big guns, I had a nurse come to my house to try and help me.  Now he would clamp his mouth shut if he saw it coming. Then it would take at least 2 people. You’d have to have 1 hold him down while the other tried their best to get it in while pinching his nose closed. He quickly got wise and then started spitting it back out.  This holding him down and forcing him just did not sit well with me. We ended up having to find a compounding pharmacy and get everything made into suppositories for the first 3 years of his life. Then he got too big and the suppositories resembled tiny missiles. So we had to abandon that solution.

Luckily between the ages of 3 and 5 the universe gave us a reprieve from all major illnesses. And we graduated to chewables for Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. And that worked for a very brief while. Until  it didn’t. But we also grew as parents and learned  how to better work with and understand his sensitivities. And I grew into my own as a mother and discovered Peaceful Parenting, and with that  I finally found a parenting style that truly resonated with me and with my son especially.  I  also started connecting with like minded people with similar sensitivities and found some great moms groups that became my support system.

As he got older and his oral sensitivities increased, we realized my son is a “super taster”. Which someday, when he can be hired as a consultant to the finest restaurants in order to discern the delicate nuances of their latest delicacy, may come in handy. But having dealt with this trait since infancy has been difficult to say the least. Now that he is 5 and has “matured somewhat”, some things are a little easier. But he is still super picky about anything he puts in his mouth. His food variety is quite limited. He still has issues with textures, flavors, smells, etc.

So a few weeks ago, he got really sick. Scary sick. It landed him in the hospital with pneumonia, and we were sent home with 10 days worth of antibiotics. We had already been struggling for a week with trying to give him fever reducers every 4 hours because his temperature would hover right around 105. He felt awful, wasn’t eating, was barely drinking, was lethargic and I still had to fight him to take those damn chewables to keep him under control.

I was determined to find a more peaceful way to get him to take his meds for the 10 LONG days ahead. So I started thinking outside the box. I  got creative. I had some failed attempts, but with a little creativity and A LOT of patience and calmness, I did it. We did it. And there is a video to prove it. But first:

How to Give Medicine to your (Highly Sensitive) Child in 25 33 Easy Steps



1)  When you go to the pharmacy, request that the medicine be flavored with something that should be pleasing- start with watermelon. Because watermelon is yummy tasting, but unique enough that it’s not cherry or strawberry which, let’s face it,  everything on the planet is flavored after. If you start with strawberry, let’s say, then every time he tastes a real strawberry, or a strawberry popsicle, or candy, or juice etc. he will think of the medicine, reject the food,  it will create a psychological scar, then he’ll need years of therapy to get over it……..see? So trust me. Watermelon. You’re welcome.

2) Ask for extra syringes to make up for the ones he’ll chew up, or you’ll drop as you’re flustered trying to give him the meds, then your dog will chew  up.

3)  Go home and meditate before you attempt to give meds.

4)  Make yourself a Bloody Mary to relax you and further prepare you. Plus it’s got juice in it. Juice is healthy. You want to model healthy, right?

5) Calmly approach him with the medicine. But not too calmly, because then you’ll just look scary.

6)  Explain how important the meds are to him, how he needs them to get  better.

7)  If that doesn’t work, explain that if he doesn’t take them you’ll have to go right back to the hospital and get more blood taken out of his body, this time with a bigger needle.

8)  Go back to the pharmacy and get a new batch made with a different flavor.

9)  Pick up a bottle of wine, some flowers and chocolate for you.

10)  Pick up 8 or 10 Hot Wheels cars  as incentives.

11)  Go home and pour  yourself a glass of wine, fill the syringe with the meds, and try to give it to him while his favorite TV show is on to distract him.

12)  Tell him about the cool new Hot Wheels cars waiting for him after he takes his meds.

13)  Tell him if he doesn’t take the meds you’re going to give away the new Hot Wheels cars to the neighbors kids.

14)  Go back to the pharmacy to pick up  anxiety meds for yourself. And more wine.

15) Go to the mall and buy him his favorite loose-leaf tea from Teavana to make for him to rehydrate his poor little body.

16)  Go to the little newstand at the mall  and buy a pack of Lifesavers for right after he takes the meds to erase the taste of the meds (even though the meds are flavored and should taste half decent). Make sure the Lifesavers include cherry and strawberry.

17)  Go to the shoe store and buy yourself a cute pair of shoes, you deserve it.

18)  Go home armed with all your goodies (except hide the shoes, your husband won’t understand or appreciate the logic.)

19)  Boil distilled water, make the tea and steep it for 10 minutes to get all the good healthy benefits from the leaves.

20)  Add honey for even more healthy benefits and to make it taste sweeter.

21)  Put the tea in the fridge for 15 minutes because he prefers it cold.

22)  Dig around the kitchen cabinets for another 20 minutes looking for those cool-looking mason jars to serve the tea in because that will make it even more awesome.

23)  Bring him the tea while he sits still watching TV because you just needed that 45 minute break to make the tea and have a moment to yourself because he’s been clinging to you non-stop for the past week since he’s been so sick.

24)   Drink the tea yourself because suddenly the tea tastes funny to him and you just spent $12 a pound on those damn tea leaves.

25)  Explain yet again you understand he doesn’t like the taste of the meds, but he has to take them anyway in order to get well.

26)  Tell him he’s allowed to cry, yell, say whatever he wants for 5 minutes leading up to taking the meds and you will sit there right next to him calmly and listen intently.

27)  Tell him after he’s said what he needs to say, you will hold him and you will both breathe slowly together.

28)  Then after that, help him take the meds.

29)  When he does, follow it up quickly with a drink of water.

30)  Then, with a Lifesaver of his choice.

31)  Tell him how proud you are of him for being brave and taking the medicine.

32)  Go in your bedroom and cry happy tears that you finally found a solution.

33)  Repeat every 10 hours for the next 10 days.

And if you want to see that video I promised you, here is the link. Just promise you’ll come back here to finish reading, ‘kay?  This was 8 days into this process. Filming it in this “how to” style actually helped us solidify that he was brave and had come so far, and helped him feel really proud.

In the end, being calm for him, allowing him his feelings, being patient and consistent with him and understanding and respecting his needs was what worked. Well, that and the Lifesavers 🙂

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Why don’t you tell me about it in a comment below…..

 

Thoughts from a Teacher During the Last Weeks of the School Year

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#endofyearface

How many days do we have left?

Did I get all the seniors grades finalized, and made all necessary deals so they can pass if they deserve it?

Where did I put last years final exam?

If I have to grade one more paper I will scream.

If one more student decides to wait till NOW to ask how he can do something about his grade, I will scream. Now? Really? There are 2 weeks left! Why are you just worrying about your grade now?????

I’m so tired.

How many weeks has it been since I actually opened my personal mail?

Why is my email inbox multiplying even though I check it several times a day?

I subscribe to way too many online forums.

I wish I had more time to read the good stuff that comes through said online forums.

Man, I look like a cross between Frida Kahlo and Einstein….must schedule a haircut and some pampering.

What the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?

What will my child ACTUALLY EAT that I can make for dinner tonight?

The dog smells. Bad.

When am I going to have time to bathe the dog?

Did I call my Dad today, um, yesterday? This week? Oops.

How the heck did I get so off track with my diet?!?! It was going so well! Damn it! And I will be wearing a bathing suit soon. Sigh.

It’s not humanly possible to end the school year by returning to my gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free state of being. It’s just not. So bring on the wine, lattes, and muffins. In any order you want. Just not all at the same time. There will be time to regroup in June.

How the hell do other full time teacher/moms/wives do this???

My birthday is coming. What do I do about that?

I really miss exercise. No really, I do. Just walking regularly would be nice.

I’m still so tired.

My garden is yelling at me. Must start over and try again. I miss fresh tomatoes.

I am leaving my secure job to start my own business in 3 weeks……where the heck do I start?

Why does the dog insist on eating his own poop?

Why are vet visits always so damn expensive? You think with the amount of money I have spent recently he would at least stop eating his own poop.

I’m really so tired.

My list of things I want to + need to read is out of control.

These students are out of control.

How did the future generation become so apathetic? They are like crack addicts with their cell phones.

Some day my son will be a high school senior. Shudder.

 I miss my husband. We need a date night.

I need a girl’s night.

I need a sleep night.

This feeling of being a hamster running like mad on the spinning wheel of eternity will come to and end soon. It will.

Right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?

 

East-over at the Temple of Juniper

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I am spiritual,  not religious. I find myself saying that more and more often these days, as it really does best describe my position. It came out of my mouth out loud for the first time as my 4-year-old, always questioning, got upset the other day because he said he had “no religion” and was angry and crying about it. I guess it was being discussed at school with the upcoming holiday, and he has heard references in the past of his Daddy being “Jewish” (not practicing, only kind of sort of) and me being “Buddhist” (I take a lot from Buddhism but wouldn’t consider that a religion). I tried to explain it was something personal, that he would learn about all religions and philosophies in his life.  It is something he could decide later when he was older if he wished. He wasn’t happy with that answer. The explanation that worked for him, for now, was “In our family we are spiritual not religious. We are good people, we try to do the best we can, and we take care of each other, the people, the planet”. Which leads to our “holy” trip.
We had the chance to spend the Easter/Passover (= East-over) long weekend camping at Juniper Springs, FL, which is inside Ocala National Forest.  Being there in nature made me feel more connected to Source/Nature/God than any church, or temple, or any other building ever did. The luxury of having nowhere to be, surrounded by trees, nature, and the natural pure springs solidifies for me that life is too short. We are only on this Earth, in these bodies, for such a limited time. I want more time to spend with my family, enjoying nature. As much time as possible. I’m done with the hamster wheel of work work work, hurry hurry hurry, wash, rinse repeat. I want more nature and simplicity in my daily life.  Less alarm clocks,  less complications….more time paddling a kayak surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, jumping off ledges into a pristine watering hole,  dancing around the fire pit with my family, sharing wine with new friends with kids just the perfect age to play with my son while we all got some “grown-up time”…just a plain, over-all slower life.
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Life certainly doesn’t have to be “painful” or “hard” or “fast-paced”, although sometimes it seems like that. Nope. Not my world. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect in any way. But we forget moment by moment that we have choices. Choices on how we perceive things, how we handle things. For example, the last day of our camping trip, right before evening and after supper, a big thunderstorm rained out our last campfire play date. We had to retreat into our tent and throw as much as possible back into the car to keep dry as quickly as possible. And we sat together in the tent and waited. And waited.  And read books. And played games. And dealt with the many, many leaks from the roof of our not-so-water-proof-it-seems tent (who knew you had to seal the seams?). It could have turned into a big, frustrating downer. But we chose not to let it. We made the best of it. Eventually, when the rain turned into a drizzle, we put on our rain gear and took a family night hike with our flashlights, exploring the wet forest which looks completely transformed by the rain. Washed clean. We jumped through puddles, searched for fireflies, attempted (and succeeded, yay, Daddy!) to make our final fire, our blaze of glory with the rest of the firewood.
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So I am grateful we got to spend this particular, significant weekend at our own spiritual place.  That in a sense, we were baptized by the clear waters of Juniper Springs. The possibility of our souls being reborn into a different reality of our choosing had begun.
Happiness.
Peace.
Love.
And although I felt a twinge of all too familiar heaviness as we returned driving back to the big city, I hope we can all maintain some of the clarity of the water to help us stay clear in our vision.
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Shift Happens

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I woke up today, startled by the alarm clock. I was shocked out of a dream I was having. Again. Twice in 2 days. Actually I should say it was a nightmare. I can’t remember the exact details, but I do remember it had to do with my Mom (who passed away 20 years ago) and my Dad (who is still alive but not doing well). This is noteworthy because in 20 years, I can honestly say I have had maybe a handful of dreams where my Mom was involved. So when I do, I try to pay attention. It was a painful, difficult, frustrating nightmare…..I was supposed to be doing something for them and I wasn’t, or couldn’t understand what they needed me to do……either way, it wasn’t good. And it kept me hostage all night long. I was kind of in between the dream state and the awake “What the hell is this dream about and what are they trying to tell me?” state. It wasn’t restful sleep in any way, at the aftermath of daily savings time, which makes sleep that much more elusive.

So when the alarm went off at 6a.m. I didn’t exactly wake up chipper and bouncy and ready to go. I was pissed. Why do I have to wake up this early and rush to a job I don’t even like? Why can’t I stay home and tackle the projects I actually WANT to tackle? Why can’t I eat gluten? Why can’t I drive through Starbucks and feed my caffeine fix? When I am going to be able to make that phone call to deal with that bill? Shit, I forgot to pull out that other paper about that other important phone call I should have made months ago…….all these thoughts whirring through my head, all within the first 10 minutes of my day.

That’s not how I want to start my day. That’s not how I want to live. That doesn’t work for me.

Breathe.

So I have to make a conscious effort to shake it. To shake the grogginess, and read an affirmation about what I SHOULD focus on and retrain my brain. To suck it up and make a healthy spinach/almond butter/fresh fruit smoothie-that-will-take-me-15 minutes-to-make-very-quietly-on-my-tip-toes-so-I-don’t-wake-my-sleeping-family-when-I-really-want-a-Chai-Tea-Latte-and-a-breakfast-sandwich.

I get to school and rush and suck down my healthy smoothie (grumble grumble) while I write the lesson for the day on the board. I go through my first couple of classes with all the energy and information I can muster. My dog and pony show is met with crickets chirping in the classroom. Nothing. Nada.

So I decide to get serious, pull out the big guns and use my planning period to meditate, to cultivate peace, awareness, gratitude, generosity, kindness, connection of some sort. I manage to catch the corner of a glimmer of something of the message from the nightmare/dream, then it’s gone. Yet still I feel a connection, a message running quietly, subconsciously, like a program running silently in the background, bringing me a sudden…..peace. And just like that…..shift happens.

It’s subtle, but it’s there. My next class comes in with a bit more kindness. A student gives me a compliment even. Okay……I’ll roll with this. Next period I manage to keep it going, engage more, crack a few jokes, have fun even if I am the only one laughing. Which sometimes I am. But that’s okay, at least I’m laughing.

The work day ends and I hurry home to see my family. The days I leave my husband home with my son all day, I never know what I’m going to get when I arrive home. They are like oil and water. But this time, the magic continues. I am greeted by smiling faces playing outside, “washing the car” which looks a lot more like my husband soaking my 4-year-old son with the hose, and him running and squealing with delight. I decide to change into my “playclothes” (every time I use that term I suddenly feel like Maria/Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music) and join the family car wash.

Is it all magical/perfect/roses after that? Of course not. Things go wrong. There’s whining from both me and my son (him because he’s over-tired and had a long day, me because I can’t have that glass of wine I really, really want because did I mention I am also back to no sugar?). But I keep moving forward, with a small smile. Because today, it’s almost if I am walking around with an invisible arm around my shoulders. When I meet the next “crossroads” moment, I breathe and remember the universe has my back.

So for today, for this moment, I choose to tackle the next learning opportunity with a smile. And that’s what I do. That’s what it’s about. Choices. Tiny choices, moment by moment, that add up over time to create a better reality. It’s definitely not easy, but isn’t it worth it? Aren’t you worth it?