How To Medicate a Three Year Old

While hauling the dirt for our planter boxes last weekend, Penelope stepped on a rake. The rake went into the sole of her foot pretty deep. There was bleeding and crying and a whole week of not being able to walk on it (meaning my arms got a workout carrying her around). There was also a trip to the doctor for some antibiotics to keep it from being infected. Luckily, her tetanus shot is current.

I came home with the antibiotics and proceded to give Penny her first dose. Never before have I had issues giving any of my children taking medication. They like it and just take it from the included syringe. So imagine my surprise when I put half the dose in her mouth, she held it there for a bit, and then started dribbling out of her mouth. It was then I realized, the pharmacy didn’t flavor her medicine. Really, it does taste like chalk, so I don’t blame her, and come on pharmacy, don’t forget the flavoring for a child.

She then refused the rest of it. Sean finally bribed her with a cookie if she took it. She got most of her dose. The next day, even a cookie bribe wouldn’t work.

I thought maybe other people have had this problem, and since I solved mine, I thought I’d share. So here are the steps  to get a 3 year old to take her medicine.

1. Suggest putting it in orange juice

2. Child agrees because child loves orange juice more than anything in the world. Being a smart mommy, you know this.

3. Put medicine in a small amount of orange juice to make sure she drinks it all.

4. She takes a sip.

5. She refuses to drink the orange juice and tosses the thankfully capped cup on the ground.(You have three kids, at least you know enough to keep the drinks capped.)

6. Ask her if more orange juice will be better.

7. She says no. (What are you, a rookie? Never ask a 3 year old yes/no question.)

8. Give her more o.j. anyway. (Orange is hard to spell. It took me this long to think of o.j.)

9. Leave the o.j. with her, hoping she’ll drink it by dinner for her next dose.

10. She doesn’t.

11. Try to give her more o.j. laced with medicine for dinner.

12. She won’t even look at the cup.

13. Decide to skip the evening dose.

14. In the morning act casual and slip the medicine into the o.j.

15. She will see you and refuse the o.j.

16. Decide to skip the morning dose.

17. Consider  just not giving the antibiotics.

18. Worry you’re creating an antibiotic-resistent strain of bacteria by not finishing the medicine.

19. Consider calling the doctor to see if they can give her a shot instead.

20. Consider calling the pharmacy and complaining about their incompetence for not flavoring the medicine. I mean, they even advertise, free, automatic flavoring for children’s meds for Pete’s sake.

21. Decide to force the evening dose. You’re a veterinarian. You’ve wrestled 120 pound hyperaggressive Rottweilers to the ground to get a muzzle on them for a toe nail trim, surely you can manage a 28 pound, 3 year old.

22. Attempt to hold her head still, while pushing on her cheeks to get her mouth open.

23. Remember your experience working with primates who weighed approximately 28 pounds and why they had to be sedated for everything. Opposable thumbs are a bitch.

24. Triumphantly squirt the medicine in her mouth. Release your grip and look into her very angry, tear filled eyes.

25. Watch as the medicine is sprayed at your face.

26. Wipe your face.

27. Skip the evening dose.

28. The next morning, pour her o.j. before she wakes up to ensure she doesn’t see you lacing it with meds.

29. Offer o.j. only to her sisters.

30. Watch her little face get indignant.

31. She asks for o.j.

32. Give it to her and watch her drink it all.

33. Go to your room and do a little dance, because you won.

There you have. 33 simple steps over 3 days to get your 3 year old to take her medicine. I challenge anyone to come up with a simpler plan.


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3 Responses to “How To Medicate a Three Year Old”

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  1. Sue Campbell says:

    Brilliant! Couldn’t have done better myself.
    Sue Campbell´s last post ..How to Get Carried Away with a Fundraiser

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    Twitter: SoCal Law
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