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Making Time: Taking Your Medicine
When getting healthy becomes a process

“Yuck! I don’t want to take this medicine, Daddy!”

Let’s be honest, being sick stinks. You don’t feel good, and you just want to get better. It’s hard enough to figure out what’s wrong when you don’t feel good but figuring out what’s wrong with your child when they are sick is even harder. And now we’ve added concerns about Covid-19 because we don’t already have enough to worry about. So when Brandon was under the weather recently, figuring out his symptoms, how to best treat them and what to do next was more of an adventure than ever before.

When Brandon was younger, it was a bit easier to get him to do some things, but as he approaches 5 years old, he is trying to exert his “independence,” so sometimes trying to convince him to do what is best seems harder than client negotiations. It requires lots of patience.

After a day or so of Brandon not feeling well, we tried to give him relief with some medicine, but it wasn’t something he had taken before. Brandon is actually a champ at taking medication (as long as it’s grape flavored). But not this time. Since it was new, he said it needed to pass the “sniff test.” And since medicine never smells great no matter what flavor they try to make it, we weren’t surprised by Brandon’s immediate refusal. We tried crushing it into applesauce, which was met by “It looks gross!”

We made a point to stay calm because we didn’t want to make things more difficult. We offered Brandon the facts, reminding him that the medicine would help, and he would feel better. Our attempts at logic were met with toddler logic of, “I don’t want to take the medicine,” which if I’m being honest is an argument I would like to make some days. We countered with, “Sometimes you do things you don’t want to do, but you have to do.” (Deep, I know.) Maybe it was too deep because it didn’t work.

Some time passed, and my in-laws stopped over. My mother-in-law attempted the “disappointed Nana” logic, the “doing things because they make you feel better” logic, and even went as far as asking my father-in-law what he would do as a doctor if a patient didn’t take medicine they needed to feel better. None of these tactics worked. We were hitting a toddler logic wall and frustration levels were running seriously high. Murmurs of force were mentioned, but Brandon is too old and strong for that at this point in his life.

Next, we video chatted with my parents for a little additional Jewish guilting, but still none of it worked. Brandon continued to hold out. Mind you, all while vehemently complaining about how he didn’t feel well the entire day.

But Brandon must have been listening and absorbing the things that were said because after all the attempts to force, persuade and negotiate, when I came back downstairs from taking Adam up for bed, I found him standing with my wife, who looked halfway between relieved and confused, having his medicine. He looked at me with the biggest, proudest face, and said, “That wasn’t so bad Daddy!” I wanted to say I told you so, but decided that might not be the best idea. I just told him I was proud of him.

The next morning, I asked him if the medicine helped, “Yes, it did,” he replied. “So maybe we should listen when Daddy and Mommy suggest these things? We are just trying to help.” I said. “Okay, Daddy. I’ll try,” said Brandon.

Then Sarah came down the steps and reminded us that maybe it was time to have a bit more medicine, to which Brandon said, “No problem, Mommy. Let me show you. It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!” Easy peasy lemon squeezy – we totally missed that logic. We’ll have to remember next time.

November 2021
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