I am always looking for practical ways to simplify my life. As mom to two with CF, I feel like I give medicine every time I turn around. So I am embracing my 4 year old’s growing independence and finding ways she can help herself.
When the Mackenzie was born and had to start taking enzymes, I knew we soon needed to get Kelsie swallowing her pills on her own. Before we got her swallowing them whole, I was having to open capsules and sprinkle them in a spoon of applesauce any time either of them wanted to eat anything. Which just took SO much time.
So we taught her to swallow her pills which was a HUGE accomplishment! And now she is even swallowing 2 at a time! (She takes 4 with each meal and 2 with snacks so this definitely speeds things up at mealtime.)
Now it still takes extra effort to go to the medicine cabinet and gather her enzyme bottle and water and snack when she wants to eat. Especially while I’m in the middle of breastfeeding or getting the baby to sleep. Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but 4 year olds aren’t the most patient creatures. One day the incessant pleas for help getting a snack along with my attempts to open a medicine bottle while trying not to drop or wake the sleeping baby in my arms gave me an idea – make the enzymes more accessible to her and she can help herself.
So I made a drawer for her. I dosed out her meds and put them in this handy little Tupperware storage thingy I had thrown in my cabinet. She already knows she takes 2 for snacks and 4 for meals. (And if she’s really hungry or wants a lot of something, she will tell me “I need 3 because I want a really BIG snack!”) I also put napkins and spoons in there. And her snacks are on the lower shelves in our pantry so she is able to access them easily as well.
Some may think I am being lazy or too hands off. But developing her independence is a huge deal. Not only because I value independence in any person, but most importantly because she has a chronic illness and is going to have to manage her own illness one day. She needs to learn to gather her own enzymes before she eats and I’m just helping her do that. She knows how to count and she knows how many she needs depending on what she is eating.
The truth is, I still give her her enzymes and fix her snack the majority of the time. But for those times when my hands are tied and she just can’t wait, this has really come in handy. It also helps prevent those moments when her temptation gets the best of her and I find her at the table eating Oreos without telling me and without taking her enzymes first ( yeah, she had a tummy ache after that one!). She does great at remembering most of the time, but she’s still 4! Perfection is not expected. Or required.