I told you I would always be real with you. Share the ups, the downs and all arounds.
Well, today something happened in my home that could have been life altering and I want to share it because sometimes we all need reminding that we cannot become complacent as parents. Its easy to do, we fall into our daily routines, let our guards down within the comfort zone of our own child proof homes and never expect tragedy will ever hit us. It’s easy to think “that wont happen to us” but IT CAN, it can happen to anyone and everyone. I have no doubt that thousands of accidents lead to tragedy each day. All it takes is the turn of a head, a lapse in judgment, children just playing or a parent momentarily preoccupied for an accident or mistake to happen.
Before I go further, I want you to know that I am well aware I will be judged for this. That the parenting police, childless experts and the self proclaimed perfect parents will persecute me. They’re going to say “Where were you?” “Why weren’t you watching her? “that “This would NEVER happen to me” and “My child would never do this” BUT the fact is, it’s impossible to watch them 24 hours a day and accidents CAN and WILL happen. Sometimes accidents are small, they’re broken pot plants, a smashed vase or a bump on the head and sometimes they’re life changing, like a child falling into a pool, running out behind a car or like today, it was a child getting into the medicine cupboard and overdosing.
This morning we had guests over, my Aunty and my cousin with her two children. My three year old was playing happily and quietly in her room with my niece and the two littler ones played outside in the fresh air and sunshine, making the most of the good day before winter sets in, while we kept eyes on them. I didn’t give it a second thought to leaving her inside a few steps away in her room, after all our home is totally safe and kid proof. Well how wrong I was and let this serve as a reminder to NEVER underestimate the determination of a threenanger.
When we came back inside shortly after, I found the dining chairs that we have stacked (to prevent our one year old from using them to climb) were moved to the other side of the kitchen. I didn’t give this too much thought, that was until I found the empty medication container on the floor. Then it all started to click and that gut sinking feeling started to set in. See, my three year old ALWAYS tries to take my Six year olds tablet each night when we give it to her and each night we explain to her that you DO NOT EVER touch medicine unless a Doctor gave it to Mummy and Daddy to give to you.
Today the determination to have what her sister has over came her. The medicine cupboard is higher than my head, above our microwave and difficult for even I to reach, but she managed to push both stacks of chairs from the other side of the kitchen and use them to scale to the height of the cupboard, open it and get the half full container of prescription medication and some brightly coloured strepsils sitting next to it down from the cupboard.
I question her;
“Where is the medicine?”
“Show Mummy where you put them?”
“What did they look like?”
“How did you do that?”
Coy, with signs of pride breaming through she reluctantly replies “they’re all in my tummy Mummy, Sissy’s green and white ones and the big blue ones tasted like berries” After quizzing her a few times to make sure she did in fact eat them, a thorough and quick search to make sure she didn’t dispose of them anywhere else, I can say without a doubt, she did in fact manage to consume 20 to 30 capsules and 6 strepsils. That’s dedication, you wouldn’t be able to force most kids to swollen one capsule, let alone 30.
Off we rushed to hospital. Riddled with guilt and total shame I said to the triage nurse “My daughter just over dosed on prescription medication” a phrase I thought I would never say and would be happy to never repeat again in my life. A quick call to the poisons line, a chat with the nurse, a quiet giggle after I told her how she managed to get hold of the medication and a bit of a wait for the doctor, we were then home and well.
There is two silver linings to this story. The first is that the medication she over dosed on was slow release Melatonin which is the artificial version of the naturally occurring hormone in our brain that helps us to relax and go to sleep. There is no negative side affects to taking it other than she might have a decent sleep but the real kicker is, she didn’t even start to fall asleep until 4.30 which was 4+ hours later (trust one of my kids to maintain hyper state after downing melatonin) which is 2 hours before bedtime *sigh, what a waste of a potential day nap and a killer for bed time tonight. The second is that we have an array of various prescription medications sitting in the medicine cupboard that could have been potentially deadly if she had of decided to overdose of them instead
Here is a not so fun fact I learnt today too, In the United States, approximately 60,000 children per year are rushed to the emergency room after getting into medications. That’s roughly 165 children under 5 years of age that are treated daily who unintentionally overdose or consume prescription medications. I don’t know what the statistics are for Australia, but you would have to assume they would be similar based on percentage per capita.
While you may potentially be on your high horse judging me, it really isn’t something that is that uncommon.
You can never be too vigilant when it comes to your children but also remember accidents happen to all of us, even the most cautious of us. So don’t be too quick to judge, instead you too can learn from my mistake and instead of criticizing me, try to empathize with me because there is nothing no one could say that could make me feel worse about it than I already do.
Tonight I’m going to bed a few hairs grayer and a few wrinkles deeper, thankful for the healthy children I have tucked securely and safely in their beds, knowing tomorrow will be a better day (touch wood).