We went to the doc yesterday to get a buy-one-get-one-free deal for Alex and Sam. Both spiked fevers and were barking out coughs like trained seals vying for fish. We are now midway through a five day course of absolutely vile antibiotic treatment. We can put a man on the moon and send our voices to one another via a satellite in space, yet we have not been able to formulate an antibiotic for kids that doesn’t taste like a blend of raw kale and Jack Daniels. Perhaps it is a lack of funding or maybe a subconsciously sadistic side to scientists who feel that as they were tortured in their youth, so shall this generation be.
For Alex this foul flavor is a nuisance, but he understands it will make him well; and the result will be that he returns to school to see his buddies rather than spending the day with his incredibly tedious and boring mother. So I put his in a little shot glass that has measuring lines on the side and then give him a “chaser” of apple juice. Back when Chris and I were childless and wild, that shot glass saw many pours of Jagermeister, but in the last few years the only action it gets is goopy pink kid meds. Alex tosses back the bitter swill and gulps down the chaser, so he can race back to the Lego pile.
Sam, on the other hand, is unwilling to see ANY benefit to this poisonous cocktail. He sees me coming at him with a dropper full and he immediately tries to bolt. When I finally reach him, I have to pin him down and slide the dropper along the side of his furiously clenched teeth. All the while, his eyes streaming tears and glaring up at me in case I haven’t gotten the point that I am violating every mothering rule in the book by trying to kill him with this stuff. The chaser does little to soothe him or his wracking, post-tizzy fit sobs. At what point in ones life does that concept of cost versus benefit become valid. The idea that certain rewards are worth some sacrifice is obvious to Alex, yet incomprehensible to Sam.
As for myself, I go to the dentist now and have some strange woman chisel and poke at my gums, so that I will be able to bite into an apple twenty years hence. I eat fiber and forego that apple fritter so that my heart will continue pumping without too much blockage over the next several decades. But then, there are plenty of times in my day where I clench my teeth and glare at that dropper of medicine coming at me. I put off my annual physical with the rationale that I am healthy and not pregnant or lactating, so there is really no need for it. I step over the free-weights on the floor, or I let my fingers trail over the pilates video on the shelf and land instead on a crossword book. But then there are the sacrifices that give me both instant and delayed rewards. For instance, I sacrifice a clean house or a well-planned dinner in favor of a morning spent sitting on the living room floor building Legos with the boys. Yes, vacuuming and dusting in the morning would allow me to go to bed earlier which, according to Dr. Oz, will extend my lifespan. But, what’s a few extra months at the end, really, compared to helping Alex find just the right “two-piecer” to complete his escape pod right now. And when I am about to strip sheets and start the endless daily cycle of laundry and Sam says, “Ack-chewee, Mom, can you snuggle wiff me?”….I will always sacrifice that laundry schedule and choose the snuggle. I may have five pounds of dust bunnies frolicking throughout the house and the washer running at one a.m., but the rewards are limitless.