Everyone knows about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What you may not know is how applicable those stages can be when medicating a sick, strong-willed (read: stubborn) toddler.
First and foremost is the denial that accompanies the diagnosis you’ve managed to avoid for nearly 18 months – ear infection. So now, you enter new territory as a parent, administering oral antibiotics to an unwieldy and irritated toddler. But surely, your kid will be the one who is easy to medicate, the one who happily accepts new flavors and consistencies with no problem, right? Right.
The next stage is a doozy. It comes quickly but lingers as you and said sick toddler both hang out in this stage. You get angry because your sweet angel has turned into an eight-armed monster you cannot physically restrain, and your child is angry because you keep trying to jam a syringe in her mouth. Talk about a no-win situation.
After a cooling-off period for both parties and after a Facebook chat session with more experienced mamas, you come back with a new game plan, one that primarily consists of bribery, falsehoods and shenanigans. What if we eat chocolate ice cream and every third bite is medicine? No? How about if Mama drinks your medicine and you drink it out of some weird jealous competition? Also no? Huh. What if we hide it in your milk or yogurt? Still no? CRAP.
Once you’ve done all the bargaining you can muster, it’s time to admit defeat. The child you created and brought into the world won’t cooperate, you’ve failed as parent, and she’s probably going to end up deaf from this untreated ear infection. You had a good run, 18 months of ideal childhood, but it’s all for naught now.
And just like that, as you accept your fate as a sub-par parent, your kid, the one who only moments ago was a screaming banshee if she even thought you were trying to make her feel better with your modern science, decides that yes, she DOES like bubblegum flavor and takes it straight like a champion. Exhausted, you both fall asleep, knowing that from this day forward, your child knows she’s in charge unequivocally and there’s no going back.
Only nineteen more doses to go!