Tricky, Tricky!

Moms (and dads) are a lot of things. We are caretakers, disciplinarians, chauffeurs, cooks, tutors, playmates/friends, negotiators. We are loving, we are kind (hopefully), we are responsible and tricky.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said it. Sometimes we are tricky, tricky, tricky. We have to be! Kids can be crafty, so sometimes, we have to beat them at their own game.

Lets talk about medicine. It doesn’t matter if you have a toddler or a teenager, getting kids to take their meds can be tricky. Younger kids either don’t like the taste, can’t actually get the meds down, or find the administration of injections or eye drops too uncomfortable to comply. Older kids may have many of the same complaints, but teens especially can start to resent the constant barrage of medications, and just want to be normal. Many teenagers will pretend to comply (if you don’t believe me, read this very scary story,) but have crafty ways of getting around taking medications, simply due to the fact that they are just tired of it, period.

Don’t despair. I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve, and along with tips from other parents who have “been there, done that,” you too can perform these wonders on your own children.


I’m no Mary Poppins, but I do have a few tricks to “make the medicine go down”

Since we give tons of home injections (over 90 a month in our camp) I have developed quite a few techniques and tricks to make giving shots easier. So many, that I have a complete post devoted to just to  Magic Tricks for Needle Sticks. If that is something you need help with, pop on over through the hyperlink and read the full story there. One of our favorite tricks is the use of a Buzzy which really seems to dull the pain for my kids. I did have a giveaway, but if you were not the lucky winner or missed the contest entirely, the folks at MMJ labs generously agreed to give all my readers a 20% discount on any Buzzy or kit priced $39.95 or more. Simply visit and enter the code LWA20 through the month of February. (also FYI, I did not receive any compensation for this post, it is just a product we believe in!)

If you are lucky enough to avoid the needles, but have issues with oral meds, I can help you too. If your child just has difficulty swallowing pills, you have a couple of options.

If your doctor and pharmacist say that you can safely crush the pill and administer with food (always check! Some of them you aren’t allowed to!) you can utilize an inexpensive pill crusher and mix the powder into a spoonful of pudding, applesauce or yogurt.  Be careful not to waste any of the powder so that your child will receive the full dose that was intended, and if possible, try to limit the mixture to a single spoonful, as to limit waste of medication that could be left behind in the container. Use the rest of the serving without the medication as a “chaser” in case any bitter taste remains. Always make sure that whatever medium you use is compatible with the drug you are giving. Some may be counter-indicated with dairy or citrus, so make sure you run the method by your doctor first.

My good friend Herchel at Scruggbug Corner has a brilliant trick to get fussy toddlers (or bigger kids) to take even the worst tasting meds without a fuss. She has figured out a simple solution to tricking the taste buds, rendering even the most bitter meds nearly tasteless. We’ve tried it, and it works, but you’ll have to learn how directly from her “When a Spoonful of Sugar Does NOT Help the Medicine Go Down.” Go read it. You will be SO happy that you did.

The next trick I have for you is to help you teach your child how to swallow pills. One of our exceptional pediatricians gave me this gem, after dealing with a horrible gag reflex with one of my kids. Sometimes its a bit of a mind over matter thing. We “trained” my younger son to swallow small pills with the help of some frozen peas. It’s important to start with the really tiny ones, sometimes known as “petite pois” like these. Because they are frozen, they are hard like a real pill. If they crunch them up for a while, no harm no foul, it’s just peas. After they become proficient, you can move up to the regular size peas, and then eventually on to real pills. If they can’t stand peas, you can use tiny candies like smarties or m&ms, but most kids want to really eat them, not just swallow them whole!

If your JA kiddo has had eye involvement,  then you may have found yourself struggling with the administration of eye drops. One of the best tips I ever received from a uveitis mom was to let the child keep their eyes closed, and apply the drops at the inner corner of the eye, then blink. This really helps take care of the startle reflex when your child sees something coming toward their eye, and saves a lot of missed drops!

In the case of the non-compliant kids, the just for the heck of it ones, I’ve found that giving them some control over what choices they can make seems to help. The older the child is, the more you can emphasize how important taking their medications as prescribed is, the better chance you have of making them understand why it is worth it. Sometimes it will just take sheer grit and a parent’s eagle eye to make sure its done though.

Did I miss anything?  Do you have any amazing tips to share that I don’t know about?  Feel free to leave them in the comments. I love it when we can help each other!




Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday.

Its a day that my family approaches with nervous anticipation.

Twice, my husband was a player in the Superbowl, and those are the good memories. Even though we had one win and one loss. Other times, we watched as we almost always knew someone playing personally, and had someone to root for. Recently we watched Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers earn his ring, and I couldn’t believe it. The first time we met Clay was when he was visiting the family area at the Tennessee Titans, coming to see his uncle Bruce play alongside my kids’ dad. He was in the 8th grade back then, the same age my son is now.

But Superbowl Sunday also means something very different to us as well, and it has nothing to do with football. Its an anniversary, and not a very good one. It happens to be that on this day four years ago, my older son started his most intensive struggle with Juvenile Arthritis, and was admitted into the hospital for the first time. It was the beginning of one of the toughest, if not THE toughest time in our lives. It was the day that everything was divided into “before” and “after.”

The following year, strangely, he was admitted again on Superbowl Sunday, for other complications arising from his disease.

The third year, on the same day, we held our breath not because of the game, but because he was in another intense flare. Even though we aren’t the superstitious type, it started to feel like a sinister pattern had emerged. Superbowl Sunday was not a day we looked forward to.

But you know what? He made it that year without being admitted. It was a little touch and go, but HE won, nonetheless. Even though it wasn’t easy, he managed to skate by without a hospital admission.  This year? Well, he has been at a friend’s house and plans to follow up with a Superbowl party at another’s. There is no “curse,” there are no reasons not to breathe…he is here, and he is WINNING. He is beating JA and its hold on him, especially on this day that we can’t help but think about it.

Another friend of mine posted today that it was her son’s “Diaversary”  yesterday, that is their anniversary of his diagnosis with type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. They celebrate it.

You may be asking yourself, “why on earth?” but she can tell you much better than I:

I know it may seem strange to celebrate the day he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, but here is why I decided to do it last year. It is a time in which we could look back and see the progress that he has made in a year. We went from anger and fear to being on the road to acceptance. Small steps for the entire family. Last year he was a little hesitant to celebrate this day, but this year about 1 week away he asked me the date and he said well that means there are only 7 days left… I said to what he looked at me and said my Diaversary. So this day has become important to him. I am not only proud of him and the progress he has made but his sister who loves him dearly and how she cares for him and watches over him. I am proud of them both.

This is where WE are now with Superbowl Sunday. More than game day, it proves to us that we are back in the game. No matter what JA throws at us, we have all come so far, and we will be the victors, not this disease. It will not win.

Today Superbowl Sunday didn’t come with a cloud over our heads. It is the big day in the same way as it is in every other American household. It doesn’t matter which team comes out ahead tonight. I already know who is winning.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Today I am pleased to bring you another guest post, this time from another Juvenile Arthritis mom, who has her own great blog over at Scruggbug Corner. Its all about the “Attitude of Gratitude” even in an admittedly less-than-pleasant situation. I hope you find her post inspirational, and that it gives you another perspective in […]

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Having a chronically ill child creates a number of special challenges. Friends and family can make it infinitely easier, or much, much harder. A few weeks ago, this article “15 Do’s and Don’ts for Helping A Friend With A Sick Child In The Hospital” (originally published by the Huffington Post) was circulating, almost virally, on […]

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Winter Break!

Do I hear a “WHOOP-WHOOP?” It’s winter break!!! No matter which holiday your family embraces and celebrates, it’s that time, and by now, ALL the kids are enjoying their winter break from school.   While school vacations are a relief for any child, they are usually an even bigger deal for the child with Juvenile […]

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