Monday, July 16, 2007

Love, trust, and little brown pills

First, let me get the bragging out of the way.

SHE DID IT! Ciarra learned how to swallow a PILL!

Ok, I feel better now. But yes, my darling little girl has finally learned to swallow a PILL! Meaning the awful battle her mommy has been having with herself regarding sneaking liquid-nastiest-taste-in-the-world Ginkgo Biloba into her is OVER. That stuff is VILE! So, on to greener pastures.

Ciarra is an easy child. If I really want her to do something, and she knows that it is important to me, she will usually try her best. She and I have a trust between us that I feel very lucky to have. But it hasnt just happened, it has been cultivated and nurtured over 9 years. She is not afraid of Doctors. She loves the dentist. She says thank you when she gets her blood drawn. And she will sit and watch as I try to teach her exactly HOW to swallow a fat little brown pill and not choke to death.

Tonight, I went into her room intending to show her how it is done, because I am DETERMINED to get her back on the GB. You never would have convinced me that I would use any kind of "drug" on my child. But the science behind GB convinced me. There is something to it, and I am not easily convinced. Ciarra's reaction time, her speech, and mostly her memory, are all impacted for the better when she is on GB. Having the option of a single pill/capsule versus mixing a nasty concoction and hoping she didnt gag too much as she struggled to down it...for a relief.

I have always been honest with Ciarra. Including with the liquid. I am not one to lie to my children. I figure she is plenty smart to know if I try to trick her, and I dont want to violate the trust she has in me. So I just told her, "Hey, this stuff is brain food. It helps you learn better." And that was that. Her mommy wanted her to take it, so she fought it down, every night, for months. And I stood watching, knowing it was good for her, but aching to grab that nasty little cup away and make it better.

I argued with myself, even though she didnt fight me, it was almost her willingness to suffer through it that made me most sad to hand it to her every night before bed. Maybe I am too soft. But that is not how I envisioned our night time together. Ciarra, being Ciarra, does what her Mommy asks of her. Mom, being Mom, doesnt want to ask her to drink something that mom herself would gag on, in the interest of "brain food". DS is not that big a deal, and this, while good, needed to be easy and unassailing, in order to fit in with my wishes for total acceptance. If she had to suffer, even for a minute, in the chase for "better", then it wasnt for us. But it does stay in your mind, when you know there is something...out there...that can make their lives easier. You want it for them. But you weigh the cost versus the benefit, and that cost changes daily. For me, the cost of watching her gag and retch to please me was too high.

And so, the GB liquid hit the road about 2 months ago, and hasnt been back. Today she told me that she calls Danny Phantom "Danny Handsome" because it is easier to remember, and "I have Down syndrome, it is hard to remember." :) Funny kid. She wasnt making an excuse. She just knows the truth, DS does make it harder for her to remember things. And I have no doubt she has heard me have discussions about GB and memory. In any event, I was motivated to try again. So I mixed up a batch of the liquid GB, srrong strong grape koolaid doesnt really mask the taste. I took a sip, just to remind myself HOW awful it was, and wasn't disappointed. And then I dumped the entire concoction, and the remainder of the bottle, down the drain.

I decided to give it one more shot. Try to teach her to swallow pills, to make this easier on both of us. I want the benefit of GB for her. Heck, I want her to learn how to swallow pills in general. And so I grabbed a handful, and headed for her room. Sat down beside her bed and admired her coloring. And told her that I thought maybe she was big enough to try swallowing a pill. She tried, but despite several reminders, had to fight the urge to bite into it...not a good idea. I never want to make this a battle, or her to feel she cant do something. And so she spit out the melting capsule into my hand. And I told her nice try, and tucked her into bed. Another day, maybe...

Ten minutes later, she came trailing a Groovy Girls doll and her baby balnket (yes, she still has one) into the living room. And told me she was ready. Big smile on her face. I knew she really was ready, and so we went into the kitchen and got a glass of orange juice, 2 capsules, and headed back to her room. Sat down and watched as she practiced holding a drink in her mouth, gargling to show me she could. Then in goes one pill, 2 drinks later, down it went. And out came the BIGGEST most beautiful proud smile. "I did it!" Yes you did, baby girl. Yes you did. She wanted to try one more time, and since the pills are half the daily amount she needs, I let her. Down it went. "That was easy!" she says. She trusted me. I trusted her enough to know she would do it when she was ready. And that trust paid off. And I, the mommy, am on cloud nine.

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