Down the Hatch

I know I moaned and groaned and gnashed my teeth and pulled my hair when we were going through that awful teenage phase with the Beaner a while back, but have I mentioned that he's been an absolute gem lately? I think I did, because I remember mentioning that I thought his change in diet was a factor. That, and the normal ups and downs of the human development process. In short, things are good.

That's not to say that I don't get frustrated now and then, but I think my frustrations these days mainly stem from high expectations. He seems *so* grown up these days, so thoughtful, so articulate, so observant, that I can't believe there are things he can't do. Like pill-swallowing.

I ended up giving the Beaner my appointment at the asthma/allergy practice on Monday after I recognized the signs of the allergy-induced bronchitis (and occasionally pneumonia) that I ended up with every fall and every spring into adulthood. The doctor confirmed this diagnosis and put him on the same asthma and allergy drugs I take, only in kid-sized doses. He now has an Advair inhaler (which he BLEW into the first few times, to my annoyance, though he's got the hang of sucking in now), a Maxair inhaler, and Zyrtec.

The doc gave me samples of Zyrtec syrup, which has no artificial colors, but of course is artificially flavored. I explained that we're trying to keep artificial colors and flavors out of the Beaner's diet, and that given that Zyrtec is now OTC, I would have started him on it sooner if I'd known what the correct dosage was. It took three tries to get the info I sought (probably because I kept trying to provide context for my question), but the doctor finally said, "oh sure, you could cut a 10mg Zyrtec tablet in half and give it to him, if he can swallow it." Child's dose? 5mg. Check.

Monday night I had hockey practice, and Al ended up giving him the syrup. On Tuesday night, I cut a Zyrtec tablet in half, explained that he should put it on his tongue, fill his mouth with water, and swallow. Under no circumstances should he chew. What did he do? HE CHEWED. And then he hated me, because the pill tasted AWFUL. Much finger pointing on both sides ensued.

On Wednesday night I decided we would practice with bread. I rolled little bits of bread into balls, put them on his tongue, gave him the instructions, and waited while he drank water... AND CHEWED. Every. Single. Time. I finally lost patience and just gave him his half pill, telling him NOT TO CHEW. Of course he did, and I had him spit out the remains of the thing once he made the "this tastes terrible!" face.

After I put him to bed, I complained on Twitter about the experience. Ratphooey responded a bit later (I saw the reply in the morning, and at first wasn't sure what she was responding to): Have you tried Rice Krispies?

The Beaner doesn't eat Rice Krispies because of the BHT, but we have Rice Twice, an acceptable (and yummier, in his opinion) substitute. I gave him his first rice puff, explained the procedure, and watched while he swallowed...and then chewed. Arrrrgh! "I want to see you do it," he said. "Remember you said you'd show me how?" He was right; after the previous night's disaster, I *had* said I'd let him watch me take my vitamins. So I asked Al to bring up my basket of vitamin bottles, and I dumped out an enormous vitamin C.

"You see the size of this thing?" I asked. "Well, WATCH THIS." I plopped it on my tongue, took a huge swig of happy happy fizzy water (Polar Seltzer with Vanilla), and swallowed. Then I stuck out my tongue so he could see that the pill was gone. He applauded. "Watch, I'll do it again," I said. And I did, with another vitamin C and a B complex.

"I want to try practicing again!" he said. He picked a rice puff off the tissue I'd dumped them on, put it on his tongue, filled his mouth with water, and swallowed. Then he stuck his tongue out like I had. ALL GONE! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

He was so excited that he wanted to practice several more times. To get him to take the actual pill, I said, "ok, I think we're ready." I handed him the half Zyrtec, and then dumped out a vitamin D into my own palm. "You will swallow that pill, and I will swallow this pill, AT THE SAME TIME." He grinned. "Ready? One, two, three!" We popped our pills, swigged our waters, and stuck out our tongues. And of course, we gave each other thumbs up.

"Here," the Beaner said, taking one of the Trader Joe's stickers from my vitamin basket, "you get a sticker because you swallowed your pill." I smiled, put it on my chest, and thanked him. Then I peeled a sticker off and said, "and you get a sticker because you swallowed YOUR pill." He laughed, we gave each other thumbs up again, and then we went into his room to sing Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, opera-style.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 8:59 PM on October 30, 2008


I love a happy ending!

Posted by: ratphooey [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 30, 2008 11:59 PM

This is the sweetest story ever.

Posted by: Abigail M. Schilling at October 31, 2008 1:37 AM

Lol, he's a darling boy. This post reminds me of my childhood and when I couldn't swallow pills myself. My parents would put it in small pieces of banana or a Mars bars but when I needed to take capsules - whoa! They almost gave up but I finally did get it done.....6 weeks later.

Posted by: Roshan at November 2, 2008 10:01 AM

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