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Parenting, Preschool

Baby Proof with Ipecac

Toddler CandyBefore Adrian was born, I considered myself pretty much one notch above any Super Nanny out there. I had worked with kids of all ages, in nearly every capacity. I knew all the tricks. But this kid? He was, and is, one-of-a-kind. From day one, he kept outsmarting me. And in many ways, it was a challenge just to keep him alive.

One of his favorite pastimes was foraging for new and exciting items to put in his mouth. Now, I had baby-proofed my home to the extent that there were locks on my toilets and swivels on my door handles. It was like a baby prison. Nevertheless, I had called Poison Control so often, I swear they recognized me by just my voice alone.

Now, I DO NOT recommend this as a method for tempering this terrible toddler behavior, but we did eventually cure him of his relentless pursuit for tasting everything he could possibly find from toilet water to baby Tylenol. It was safe, quick, and permanent. Oh, and it was hysterical.

Having two babies under the age of two, I accidentally fell asleep during nap time one fateful day. That same afternoon, Adrian quietly wakened before me and noticed the hall closet was not completely latched shut. “Lucky me!” the hapless toddler thought to himself as he bypassed the swivel on the doorknob and climbed up the shelves. He rustled through the various medications and settled on a particular vial that looked especially yummy:  Syrup of Ipecac.

I don’t know how long he waited to come rouse me. But when he did, he had a look of pure baby terror on his face and an empty little jar in his hand. “Mommy!” he whispered, “I don’t feel so good.”

At first, I was panicked. What did he eat now? Would I be going to the ER again? Again? My god, this kid was relentless.

As the fog of sleep lifted I focused on the item in his little hand and realized what he had guzzled. And god forgive me, I laughed.

“I told you not to eat anything without asking Mommy first! You’re going to get really sick now!”

I’m so sorry, but I said that with the biggest grin on my face ever. I’m not entirely sure how long my tiny boy stood there, pale and terrified, before he made a dash to the toilet, but that was just the beginning of one of the funniest afternoons of my life.

He spent the next several hours playing trucks, hopping up to go vomit, then back to playing blocks, then running to vomit, going back to drawing, then exclaiming, “Uh-oh!” (toilet-vomit), then back to playing again. He threw up so many times and so violently and his baby sighs of inconvenience as the day wore on were the most perfectly crafted lesson in food and drink safety a parent could ever hope for.

I never dreamed such perfect karma would strike my toddler at such a young age, but I can tell you this: my son never again, for the rest of his life, ate or drank ANYTHING without asking first. Thanks, Syrup of Ipecac. I owe you one.



  1. Pingback: The Writing on the Wall: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say | unnecessarywisdom - May 9, 2013

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