Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life is a bowl of cherry.

"Here, sweetheart." I'd say, handing the sweaty Little Bastard the bottle of Nyquil. "Take a couple of swigs."

He was always so compliant and cute when he was sick.

"Now go back to sleep." I'd whisper, plodding back to bed, counting how many hours of shut-eye I'd get 'til his meds wore off.

I had to laugh when I saw the IWK's new commercial for Poison Awareness Week. Two bored-as-shit mothers, driving home the message that a kitchen spoon is not an ideal tool for measuring children's medicine.

Who used a spoon?

The chances of getting cough syrup – or that banana flavoured crap – from the bottle, into the snot-encrusted mouth of a wheezy toddler was hard enough at 2 am. The oral syringe the pharmacist gave you is long gone – so why then risk pouring elixir that cost more than a bottle of Drambuie, onto a wobbly spoon, in the pitch dark – splashing it down the front of their pyjamas, so they wake up all sticky, covered with red dye, dog hair, and pillow feathers?

My system was better: A half swig was a teaspoon. A double-fisted swig with no spillage – was a tablespoon.

In the morning, the Little Bastard would rush in – pupils still a bit dilated – but rested. We'd both be breathing easier after a good night's sleep.

The IWK's Child Safety Link for Morons website has several tips that make me wonder how the Little Bastard survived childhood at all. In preparation for Poison Awareness Week (March 20 to 26) here's what I learned:

1. Be as accurate as possible when giving your children medication.

I think this means to make sure they are your children, and not the neighbour's kid. Because if they truly meant for you to read the instructions, they would make it larger than 2pt type. (And how would two-fingers of scotch translate into milliliters?) Rule of thumb is to double it. Kids are designed to throw up for a reason.

2. Be sure to record when, and how much medicine a child has been given each time, so as to prevent double-dosing.

Because you have nothing better to do than keep a fucking diary. Generally, when the kid starts to whine and demand food – or stops looking all glassy eyed – it's time to top him up.

3. Child-resistant packaging does not mean “child proof”.

True. Which is why I always had to get my child to open it.

4. Take care not to refer to medicine as “candy.”

Children are gullible, but not totally stupid. Although, it does taste like candy. Are they implying you should add to the sick child's misery, instead of sugar coating things a bit? And if your kid is so stunned that he really can't tell the difference between cough syrup and a gummy worm, I think you have more to worry about than poison control – like for instance – coming up with the tuition for Bridgeway Academy.

Oh and here's my favourite:

5. When visitors come to your home, keep their purses, bags and coats out of your child's reach.

I don't know about you, but when visitors come to our house, they are called 'friends' and they take their poisons out of their purses, bags, and coats – and place them within reach. Then, they ask the child to "scoot into the kitchen and grab the corkscrew with the pointy bits, and run back quickly, so mommy doesn't have to get up".

6. Keep emergency numbers, such as the IWK Regional Poison Centre number, near the phone.

Near the phone? Do they mean the cordless phone that hasn't been seen in days? Or the rotary dial phone mounted on the wall next to the 1972 calendar. And, aren't we supposed to call 911? Or do we call for a pizza and hope the doughy crust soaks up some of the over pour?

It really is good to know our Capital Health marketing dollars are going to such good use – considering the average wait at the IWK Children's Hospital is about two days. Unless of course, your kid has a corkscrew lodged in his eye – in which case, you jump the queue.

I have such fond parenting memories. Like the time I ran over the Little Bastard's foot when I dropped him off at the Grammar School. I didn't even know what had happened, until I picked him up later in the day. Seems the cough medicine I'd been double fisting all night contained codeine, and maybe I shouldn't have been operating heavy machinery after all.

But it tasted like cherries.

halifaxbroad@gmail.com