Here's a violent story we use to help our children when they're sick.
I know that sounds terrible. I'm usually a pacifist. But please read on ...
We missed gymnastics and soccer yesterday. Both kids had fevers and sore throats, and by last night Jasmine was screaming with an earache. The after hours GP said both ears were red, and the worst one was fire engine red. Jasmine took some Panadol twice yesterday, but despite the pain, no way would she have Nurofen. She flatly refused all efforts to convince, bribe, threaten, explain ... she finally agreed to try, but only let a drop in before she pulled a face and covered her mouth again. The only pain relief she would accept were Panadol, prayer and cuddles.
Anyway, the GP sent us home with penicillin, and it was time to try a trick we learnt when Elijah had frequent tonsillitis and needed convincing to take his medicine ... let me introduce the GOOD GUYS.
There are germs inside you at the moment.
They are naughty, mean, smelly bad guys and they're making you sick ...
but here are some good guys who are on your side. They'll help you win the battle.
Antibiotics are good guys.
They run around inside your body and fight all the bad guys which are making you sick.
Gotcha! Take that!
You can't get away from me, bam!
Sshhhh, listen ... did you hear that?
I think they're working already. Hooray!!
This story (and many variations of it) used to be enough to convince my kids to take their antibiotics. They could still have a reward afterwards, but rewards alone didn't work. They needed the good guys versus bad guys story too.
It's oversimplified and probably scientifically inaccurate. I know the good guys also kill other good guys, but we deal with that (and have told the kids about probiotics) after the bad guys are gone. However silly it seems, it worked with toddlers. Would it work with a stubborn, tired, fussy little girl?
Mean parents that we are, we told Jasmine she couldn't go to bed until she'd had her antibiotics, even though she was begging to lay down. We insisted, pleaded, raved and asked nicely. After all that, only the story worked. The good guys won her trust with their promise to help. Plus she liked my idea of sneaking them in quickly when Daddy left the room! It took half an hour to get that first dose of penicillin in last night (around 1am, so it's no wonder I'm feeling a bit fuzzy today). Hooray for the good guys!
Jasmine's cooperating today, taking her medicine when asked to, and recovering very quickly.
Elijah slept through all the commotion last night and said he feels better too. Praise the Lord!