Mom Science

 In Children, ENLIGHTEN, Practical Guides

I have been accused by my family of practicing medicine without a license, and in general offering homemade remedies, ideas, axioms that defy the laws of nature even though I relentlessly ascribe them to the field of science.

“Don’t go out in the rain. When you get wet you’ll become a lightning rod.” My 7-year-old nephew was shocked to hear this. He stood on the verge of embarking on a puddle-jumping experience. His eyes instantly expanded to the size of doorknobs, and he gulped audibly before slipping out the door.

And it doesn’t matter if the transgression would not logically or scientifically lead to such a consequence, such as getting gangrene from sitting on dirty toilets. No matter the situation, the consequence is the worst-case scenario if the prospective offender doesn’t listen. It’s my duty to let them know just where errant behavior can lead them.

One of my children has always had a thing for tucking candy and other goodies away in her dresser drawers. It is very frustrating to keep finding these hoarded stashes. Sometimes I see the empty wrappers as evidence that she has been slowly working through her private candy store. Particularly revealing were the 20-plus fireballs I found in the sock drawer. Where did they all come from? The child informed me that she doesn’t like fireballs, but wanted her fair share of everything the family had, so would ferret away her portions to her private cache. None of my admonitions of ants, or even a rat invasion, has ever altered the hoarding instinct in that little girl.

It was this same little one who made her own evaluation in terms of my warnings. I always insisted that antibiotics be taken to the very last dose. I have a sketchy notion that an incomplete prescription of antibiotics can cause an immunity to that drug, thus limiting what will work on that person when needed. Recently, however, my faith in this adage was diminished. When my husband and I were prescribed the same antibiotic by our separate doctors for similar symptoms, I was prescribed fewer days on the med, as well as fewer per day and at a lower strength. My husband does outweigh me, but even if I took all my prescription, it was half of his. Does that make me susceptible to being immune to that antibiotic. A puzzle…

But back to the daughter and her drugs. I was unaware for two years of her young life that she had not been taking her antibiotics at all during her frequent bouts with strep throat. As she was very young, her prescription was a “delicious” chewable pill. I would call her from her play, give her the tablet, and she would return to what she had been doing. It never occurred to me that she was not actually eating the medicine.

A few years later, when we were moving from that house, we came upon a horrifying sight. Upon lifting up her dresser, we discovered mounds of those delicious cherry antibiotics. She had been shoving them under a small space between the floor and the dresser all of that time. I know I personally witnessed her consuming the pills on occasion. I shudder to think that she may not ever be able to take amoxicillin and its companion medicines. Somehow she managed to elude the inevitable rheumatic fever I had predicted.

I have done my due diligence to keep my kids doing what I think is healthiest. A couple of my children insist on eating their eggs cooked to petrification, in spite of my warnings that there were not any vitamins left if they were overcooked. My oldest has come back to inform me that she was told on good authority—like I am not?—that no nutritional value is lost in cooking eggs beyond the runny yellow stage. What do they know?

My two youngest could never be convinced they would die of pneumonia if they failed to wear wool socks when they were playing in the snow. Likewise, my warnings of eye damage from reading in a reclining position, has never kept any of them from reading in their beds. And not one of my children has ever succumbed to my warnings about more frequent, and better cleaning of their bathrooms. I guess somebody out there told them I must have been exaggerating when I asserted they could get gangrene from dirty toilets.

What’s a mom to do? There is danger lurking out there. I guess my children preferred the fate of being plagued with ants and rats, dying of pneumonia or rheumatic fever, and even getting gangrene, all without benefit of antibiotics when compared to the deeper dread of nauseating pills, scratchy wool socks, runny eggs, not getting their fair share of goodies, or having to clean the bathroom.

As my children are now all grown with children of their own, I have noticed a few things. Only one of them enjoys runny eggs to this day. They do all still read a lot—and all wear glasses! Okay, so do their parents. I might admit to a small genetic factor. Not one of them still will wear any kind of wool clothing. But, victory of victories, all keep sparkling bathrooms!

The funniest thing is that my little girl who would not take her medicine, is now a doctor who admonishes the owners of her patients (who are animals) that their pet must take all of the antibiotic as prescribed. So there.

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  • Rosie

    Enjoyed this! Didn’t know the part about the runny eggs:-)

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