My oldest is allergic to penicillin (aka banana-y deliciousness), which means that when she needs antibiotics, more often than not she gets clarithromycin, penicillin’s bitter, gritty cousin. Take a regular white tylenol pill, crush it up into tiny pieces – but not so tiny that it becomes a powder, mix it into some mint-flavoured liquid chalk, add some floor cleaner, and that’s basically the taste and consistency of clarithromycin. That stuff is naaaaasty.
I feel terrible that Butterbean has to take this horrible crap, especially because swallowing it is pure torture for her, but it needs to be done. Here’s how we get her to do it (feel free to use this advice any time you need to administer medicine to your own child):
1. Make sure you have the following items at your immediate disposal:
i) The medicine.
ii) A large glass of milk
iii) Junk food (two mini chocolate bars ought to do it)
iv) Clean hands
2. Approach child with medicine, milk, and chocolate bars, and ignore the look of terror in her eyes. Sweetly announce that it is medicine time.
3. State that she can have both chocolate bars if she swallows all of her medicine.
4. Pretend you can’t hear her whine as you get half of the medicine into her mouth before she pulls away. Wait for her to swallow, and hand her the milk.
5. When she reaches for the chocolate bars, inform her that she must drink the rest of the medicine first.
6. Give her the last of the medicine.
7. As she spits out the medicine, put your hand under her chin to catch the dribbled antibiotics.
8. Suck up as much of the spitty medicine out of your hand as possible with the needle-less syringe you’ve been using to administer the dose.
9. Tell her she has to take the last of the medicine, and wait for her to start crying. Explain that it will make her feel better, even though you both know it’s BS because she’s been feeling better for days now, but you have to struggle through the last of your prescription, anyway.
10. Calmly bluff that it’s fine if she doesn’t want to take the rest of the medicine, and walk away with the chocolate bars.
11. When she protests, offer the medicine again. Once you get the go-ahead, squirt the medicine in her mouth.
12. Look on with exasperation as she holds the medicine in her mouth, refusing to both spit or swallow. Gently explain that the taste will go away if she swallows. Plead with her, and remind her that she can have two chocolate bars when the medicine is gone. Plead with her some more.
13. At this point, your partner will have certainly chimed in with his own exasperated appeals. It won’t help, but it will escalate the situation, and your child will whine more insistently.
14. You are now locked into a power struggle you can’t possibly win. Tell her that you trust her to swallow the medicine, and walk away with the chocolate bars. Listen as your partner begins to lose his temper as he pleads with her some more.
15. When she follows you into the next room, tell her she can’t go to school until she has swallowed the medicine. Reiterate that you trust her to swallow the medicine, and what she stands to gain from doing so (chocolate, and a party with her friends at school).
16. Explain again that she is not allowed to go anywhere until she has swallowed her medicine. Have your partner bring your other child to daycare, even though the sick one is already late for school and needs to be dropped off first.
17. Watch your daughter swallow the medicine the minute your partner pulls the car out of the driveway.
18. Give her the milk and chocolate bars and congratulate her on a job well done.
19. Bring her to school 20 minutes late.
How do you, dear readers, get your children to take their medicine?