A spoonful of sugar helps, does it fuck

Sytron Elixir - an iron supplementBillie (aged four and half) has anaemia. To rectify this, we have to administer seven mils of medicine to her daily for six weeks. No amount of bribery, from promised visits to castles through to open access to the entire Argos catalogue, has induced her to open her clamped shut mouth. We have had to resort to holding her with a towel round her and trying to squirt the damn stuff into her mouth with a syringe. Of course, like the seasoned professional that she is, she holds it in her mouth and spits it all out as soon as we let go.

How I marvel at the parents who have to go through far worse medication administration with their kids. Of course, like every other problem with our kids, the fault lies with us, especially me. I always let them off anything horrible or difficult if it means having aggro. Anything for a quiet life, and then of course, it all blows up in our faces, with kids that won’t do what they’re told and totally rule the house. A great example is how Steve and I have watched the amazing Olympics perched on two hard, kitchen chairs watching a tiny portable tv, while the kids recline on two enormous sofas watching Scooby Doo over and over again courtesy of the Tivo.


  • I have the same problem giving the cats their worming tablets. I tried to be nice, I really did. I crushed the tablets up and mixed them in their food but they very carefully ate around the impregnated MiaowMix. So I gave up being nice and copied the vet’s technique where you hold their head (the cat’s, not the vet’s) firmly and push your forefinger and thumb into the corners of their mouth forcing their mouth open. You pop in the pill (I find it better to not do the tapework and roundworm tablets at the same time but one after the other) and clamp their mouth shut until they swallow. If you want I’ll sort Bill out for you.

  • We had the same problem earlier this year and became quite deft at hiding small amounts in spoonfuls of fruit yoghurt and rice pudding! You have to be quite clever – if you put too much in with each spoonful as we did with my son – they suddenly pull a face and say ‘no, it’s got medicine in it’. It’s worth a go though. We managed to get most of it down that way.

  • Yeah, my son Felix has NEVER NEVER NEVER allowed us to give him anything. He won’t even let us put a cold flannel on any bruise, let alone give him something to ingest. He still accuses me from time to time about the time we hid calpol in his stewed apple. He can spot medication a mile off. Thank god he’s never been actually ill, don’t have a clue what we’d do if we really had to give him real medicine, especially as he’s getting a bit tough now (nearly seven, though he’s a small bugger).

  • Cats and kids eh. Rosa did a great one the other day where she took the nurofen all in and then spat it back into my eyes, it felt like I’d been maced. And I know that I completely fall into the camp of sparing the rod; my kids have mini-cereals (not just one economy pack that they have to finish first), labelled brands, eat their pudding first, get me to go upstairs to get things because they are “too scared”, have tons of presents on their birthdays (even the ones whose birthdays it isn’t), have everything explained to them rather than being told to just do it and even though they are total bastards, I’d much rather it this way than give them just one thing for their birthday, always make ’em finish up their veg and make them do what I want all the time. Twenty years time we’ll see I guess.

  • And while we’re at it, bugger the crap about them needing boundaries, Germany had boundaries but it didn’t stop Hitler annexing the Sudetenland.

  • Well, in our house I am the lax dad and my partner is the tough mummy. My kids laugh at me and I have to shout REALLY REALLY loud at them or slap them to get their attention. Their mother just gets cross. After I shouted really loud at my son while on holiday, I asked my four year old daughter if I’d made her scared. She said that when I shouted she thought I was the child-catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
    The problem with this twin track approach is tha we will never know who is right. I am always tempted to tell my partner that if her way (strict, victorian approach, kids must not cheek her) was so good, they would never misbehave now. But I’m as scared of her as they are and try not to get into arguments.
    Personally, I just try to be child-centred – i.e. I try to think about the situation from the child’s perspective. This works quite well, a lot of the time. Then, if I can’t work it out from their perspective, I SHOUT REALLY LOUD. Percussive shouting, I think it’s called. I don’t think it’s a very good thing to do, but it makes me feel better.
    When they were smaller, I swore blind that I would never slap them, as I believed that once you started you would have to escalate (All Power Comes From The Barrel Of A Gun). However, now I would rather go to prison than not have it as a weapon in my limited armory. My son listens to the news and tells me I will now have to go to prison.
    God, being a parent can really fuck you up, did they tell us this beforehand?

  • Talking of the joys of parenthood – spare a thought for us. We are on Night One of Day One of No Dummy Ever Ever Ever Again. It’s only just taken us nearly three years to realise it’s ALL OUR FAULT. He never asked for it and quite why we succumbed to it in the first place I can’t really remember. Unfortunately, it’s become his crutch, evil bargaining tool and general bane of our lives. Anyway, by pure fluke he dropped it in the loo whilst doing a wee today. I seized the moment while I could and made him flush it away. For some reason, he thinks its gone to the doctors. So far so good but I can tell he’s bravely going cold turkey. Am just anaesthetising myself on fine red wine knowing that I will regret it at 03:43 when he wakes up looking for it and screaming the house down! Oh well, lovely fantastic parenthood at its best. If we have another, it definately won’t be having a dummy!

  • I am so glad that someone else shouts. I hate the summer because the windows are open and Social Services all the way in downtown Borehamwood can hear me, let alone the neighbours. Sometimes I convince myself that the neighbours can’t hear me, and then as I’m laying in our bedroom I can hear the sound of them brushing their teeth, so that’s that.

    On Brat Camp they said never shout and never give in, so I’m on a non-starter there. In our house, we have bad cop (me) and liberal, even tempered, always fair and always decent and always sees the funny side of it cop (Steve). I think the fact that he holds it together all the time whereras I lose it in seconds flat, has been a bigger bone of contention than any other in our marriage.

  • Sometimes in a moment of idleness I wonder what my life would be like if there was only me looking after the kids. I imagine that we would sail off into the sunset in a vague non-stressed sort of way, and that I would indulge their foibles with a cheery wave and a smile. I base this on my knowledge that I am often getting cross with them to pre-empt Caroline getting even crosser with them. She has no compunction in interfering with my discipline, and I always know that I am getting told off as well. However, I also know that my kids have no fear of me and when the mood moves them will happily take the piss till the cows come home, in the most sarcastic and nauseating manner possible. I don’t think a household with only a daddy would be a chill zone.
    I say, Always Shout and Always Give In. It may not make for a sensible childhood, but it will make for rounded adults.
    Anyway, my mum was terrible with us, screaming and slapping (not all the time, but enough). And I was scared of her moods and hated them. But I also know that I never stopped loving her and really really don’t regeard it as an issue in my life. I extrapolate from that that my kids will grow up well rounded sensible adults like me. Or something.

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