Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homage to Shel Silverstein

Joanna Jessica Ginger Mae Brown
Just couldn't make that medicine go down.
She tried it with cake and she tried it with jam
She tried it with cheeseburgers, turkey and ham.
And though her parents pleaded and cried,
She said "my throat closes up from the inside."
And so they tried candy and ice cream too
And straight-up chocolate syrup, that magical goo.
Still nothing could get her to swallow that stuff
Not even a spoonful of marshmallow fluff.
Her parents, they threatened, punished and held
Her down while spooning in liquid that smelled.
She spit and she thrashed and she stuck her tongue out
'Til the neighbors wondered what the fuss was about.
Her parents gave milk, both chocolate and white.
They gave apple juice, orange juice, try as they might
The girl couldn't bear it, the stuff tasted so bad
They all felt they'd slowly go stark raving mad.
Then after two days of cajoling and crying
Little Jo relented; she said "I'm trying."
And she did it! She sucked down every offending drop
Her parents rejoiced 'til their hearts almost popped.
Jo finally earned stickers and treats and a doll
And anything she wanted on a trip to the mall.
So sick children, remember Joanna Brown
And find a way for those meds to go down.

The two days following Jo's second hospital visit were almost as bad as everything that led up to them. She categorically refused to take her antibiotics and it was miserable. We tried everything from reasoning and pleading to physical force and peer pressure (Tacy contributed a video demonstration to the effort). We tried punishments (which led to me locking doors and unplugging televisions) and rewards and threats. We tried every kind of masking agent and flavoring substance known to man. I seriously questioned my ability as a parent. I cried at the counter at Walgreen's.

I don't know what it was that flipped the switch. Either Jo got tired of fighting, or she realized she really didn't want to go back to the hospital after all, or she realized we would continue to try to force the stuff down her throat for two solid weeks if we had to. And yesterday evening she took her last dose. I've never been so happy to toss an empty bottle in the trash.


nonlineargirl said...

Never underestimate a child's ability to act against her own self-interest.

Congratulations on being done with that challenge.

Kate said...

Yay! Hooray that daily dose is done. You are probably more happy than her.

My youngest son has similar issues with medications.

Shonda Little said...

My husband and I laugh about how different our two boys are medicine taking. While you can literally hand the baby the medicine dropper so he can suck the feel good out like its sugary candy, the big one will make himself absolutely sick if he has to take meds. I swear I could draw up chocolate syrup into a dropper and he's still throw up if I gave it to him.

PS--I love Shel Silverstein.

Heather said...

Oh man that is soooo miserable when the kid hates the medicine. And it's never "take this once a day for two days" it's always "twice a day for 10 days." Not fun.

Glad it's over for you both. We just threw our empty bottles away tonight too.

Kimberly said...

Having done both, I'm not sure which is worse: medicating kids or medicating cats. At least kids cannot scratch your eyes out. But cats aren't likely to kick you in the nose. Tough call.

I'm glad it's over and you can all put this behind you.

mothergoosemouse said...

That. Poem. ROCKS.

Present to Jo from Tacy is in the mail. Just so that she doesn't forget how much her old friend loves her.

Lady M said...


Did you get the medicine flavoring kit that was on a swag table at BlogHer 07 in Chicago? I just cleaned out my closet of last year's swag and found it. Although it wouldn't have made any difference until Jo made up her mind anyway. Congrats!

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

I promise to be very very very good about taking my antibiotic Miss Mayberry Mom!

Mom Ma'am Me said...

Oh, I've been there too -- when Rosie had the sores in her mouth, she would spit out the medicine. And anything else that ended up in her mouth, since it hurt to swallow. We tried EVERYTHING (I know I don't even need to explain that statement.)

We ended up in the ER with a nurse that mocked us, so J challenged her to try with Rosie and the syringe. 10 minutes later, the nurse was covered in meds and Rosie was getting her antibiotics via IV.

Hooray, hooray that Jo's medicine is all gone!

Magpie said...


Glad that bottle's in the trash. How's she feeling?

motherbumper said...

I'm so very VERY sorry that you had to go through that (and Jo). But I'm glad this hurdle has been crossed.

And crying at the counter at Walgreens is never a good thing. Though I'm sure they have plenty of tissues to give.

Leeanthro said...

That was a wonderful poem. I think you should publish!