One of the worst things that ever happens to me as a nanny is when a child is sick and they’re so upset that I can’t help them. I babysat both Ps on Thursday night and after awhile of not seeing them, it was such a breath of fresh air to feel little hands around my neck and a big kiss on my cheek. Professor was over the moon to see me, and Piglet, while happy, seemed quiet and clingy. She didn’t want me to put her down, and when it came time for Mama P to leave, she cried for the first time in about three months to see her mother walk out the door. Mama P had let me know that Piglet was fighting an ear infection, but that she’d been on the antibiotic and seemed to be showing a bit of improvement. I didn’t know how not-improved Piglet really was until it came time to get medication into her little body!
I really like the Ps’ approach to medication – antibiotic is “banana juice” and liquid Tylenol/Advil is “berry juice”. Normally, it’s easy to get Professor to take both – he likes the taste and sucks it down happily from the syringe. Professor is rarely sick, though – he’s already gone through daycare and built up his immunities to common childhood bugs. Because we’re coming to the end of Piglet’s first year in daycare, the Ps (and I!) have gone through a year of ear infections, flus, colds and coughs with her. This is the latest in a few ear infections, and although Piglet is getting more compliant when it comes to taking her medicine, it’s still a struggle at times. She managed to take the antibiotic (the most important!) and the Tylenol before bed, and happily and quietly got herself off to a healing sleep for about three and a half hours until she started to cry out and toss and turn in her crib.
After settling herself a few times, she finally cried out for more than a second or two and I figured it was time for more medication. I got the syringe ready and went upstairs, bound and determined to get the dose down her, no matter what it took. I figured that she’d get a better sleep if she did get the medicine, and her fever and ear pain would also lessen and make her more comfortable. But toddlers don’t realize that cause and effect – and after trying unsuccessfully to squirt the medication in (always to the back and side of the throat – if you squirt it straight down, you can choke them), she got very angry at me!
Sweet little Piglet has never, ever hit me or tried to hurt me in any way, but the combination of being sick, being awake in the middle of the scary night, and someone who’s not Mommy trying to squirt hated medicine down her throat did her in. She started to shriek at the top of her lungs for Mommy! She plunged around her crib, getting more and more upset, until she finally came to the side of the crib and held up her arms in desperation. I picked her up, but she was too upset to be held, so I put her back in her crib and rubbed her back instead. That did the trick. She calmed down almost immediately, and I managed to get a little more medication into her. I doubt she got the whole dose, but some is better than nothing, and I wasn’t about to have that fight at midnight!
Poor little Piglet – and poor nanny! When you love a child so much, the worst thing you can hear and feel is them rejecting you because you’re not Mommy. I find my understanding growing so thin at times like those, because I just want to help them and make them feel better. But a good nanny puts herself in the child’s shoes – and maybe even remembers how she felt as a child, when she was sick and someone else was trying to help instead of Mommy. So, my feelings are of no consequence – and I know that in the morning, we’ll all feel better, and Piglet will hopefully be back to her sunny little self!