motivation to take medicine

As Hurricane George whirled toward New Orleans, my son, his wife, baby and a car load of clothes, toys, sippy cups and baby medicine knocked on our door in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The little one grinned at us sleepily, “She’s just getting over a bad earache. She’ better, but still has to take the rest of her medicine.” The 18-month-old rediscovering my untouchables looked healthy. Healthy enough to put up a good fight the next morning.
“You hold her while I give her the medicine,” I was handed the suspicious child. As soon as she saw the bottle, she began protesting, wiggling to escape. I held on tight and tipped her back. Between protests, her mother poured the teaspoon of medicine into her mouth. She blew it at us, angry with our betrayal, fighting while reflexively swallowing and scowling at us.
“I’m so sorry,” her mother soothed, “but you have to take it.” To distract the toddler, her mother carried her into the sunshine.
It was hard to believe a fierce storm threatened their home. As the toddler checked out the vast green yard, I remembered we had a riding-walking toy in storage over the garage that she had enjoyed during her last visit.
I didn’t find that toy, but I did find a small, plastic car with a door, roof, window and steering wheel just the right size for a 32-inch toddler to sit in and move with her feet. I heaved it out of the attic storage space. “Remember when I bought this at a garage sale?”Everyone remembered my summer’s quest to buy baby items.
The toddler ran to the car, touched it and waited impatiently as I showed her the little door. She stepped in, discovered the little seat and toy holder. She grabbed the steering wheel that steered nothing, “beep, beep,” she chortled.
“You want a ride?” her mother pushed the car the length of driveway and stopped. Little feet kicked the concrete and backed the car to where they had started. Back and forth they went. Momma moving the car forward, tyke kicking it backwards smiling shouting, “whee!” At supper time, we dragged the big, plastic car into the house.
Baby and Beep, Beep were inseparable. She liked to be pushed in it, but was just as happy to sit and twirl the steering wheel, tucking her doll in behind or beside her. She climbed in and out using both the window and door.
Everything was fine until the clock struck the medicine hour. My son and I were assigned the onerous task. We offered it to her through the invisible windshield. She shook her head. I eased her out of the car. She looked at our determined face. Made one protest, swallowed the medicine quickly and reached for the car. We looked at each other in disbelief.
The rest of the visit, she took her medicine without protest. On the drive home, her mother said she held the medicine bottle and sang, “med’cine, med’cine.” Beep, Beep had worked like magic.