Community Question: To Placebo or Not To Placebo With Your Wily Kids?
Ah, I think you parents will enjoy this particular question. I certainly did, when it came in from Jennifer a few days ago.
But first, any excuse I have to post adorable pictures I’ve taken of my nephews, I will. Let us see him illustrate the sneakiness of children by his disarming sideways glance:
He's thinking of a way to trick us. Believe it.
Here is the question for you guys:
Dear Crunchy Betty,
I need for you to come up with a way to deceive my kids. Yes, indeedy. So many nights during bedtime I get the “Mommy, my hand is aching” or “Mommy, my toe feels weird. I need medicine.”
And so I need you to come up with a tonic that I can give them so they’ll be happy and go to sleep thinking they’ve taken some real medicine. I’m thinking honey, obviously, because it has to be more alluring than that grape-flavored kid’s Tylenol which, even to me, smells like children’s crack. And something else, so it looks like I made a real tonic for them. Perhaps some lavender?
I’ve got an elderberry-based cold tonic that they take but don’t LOVE so that’s out which is too bad since it gives the stuff a cool purple/red color.
My kids are four and six, so they can have pretty much any EO; obviously I’d like it to be something that I don’t have to worry about overdosing them with when they’ve got “pains” three nights in a row.
I feel you, Crunchy Betty, are up to this challenge.
Sleepless in the Southwest,
Giving Your Kids Placebos for “It Feels Kinda Weird”
Little did Jennifer know (at least until I emailed her and told her this was happening), I actually didn’t feel up to the challenge – personally. Little did she know, the legion of Crunchy Betties WERE.
I used to give placebos (sugar water) to my sister – the mother of that adorable child up there – when she was little. It was our one special thing, because I was 7-1/2 years older than her, and it was the only way I could get her to go to bed and leave me alone to do angsty, un-good-big-sister-like teenager stuff. (We have since overcome our vast age difference, and now she’s one of my favorite people in the world, even when I don’t give her sugar water.)
So my thought process for Jennifer went like this, “Homemade Magic Fix-It Gummy Bears! HOMEMADE GUMMY BEARS! WITH JUICE!”
I rushed to the kitchen to gather ingredients to make homemade gummy candy, which I NEEDED because my toe felt weird. Then I realized I didn’t have any ingredients, which forced me to think a little bit longer about her question.
So let’s look at it just a little more deeply (without going too overboard):
- The placebo effect is a real thing, especially in cases where everything is pretend anyway.
- Kids’ imaginations (and the deep desire to avoid bedtime) are REAL things.
- Parents who pay attention know the difference between real sickness and “my toe feels weird.”
With those three points in mind, do you think there’s any harm in placating your kids with special placebos to make them feel better?
Have any of you treated these oh-my-goodness-you-poor-baby-now-get-your-butt-in-bed illnesses with placebos? Or have you found a craftier – or more direct – way to deal with these little issues?
And most importantly, do you have any crunchy ideas for a (healthier-than-sugar-water) placebo-like fix for Jennifer and all you other crunchy parents out there dealing with kids with weird feeling toes?
How would YOU help Jennifer with her dilemma?