Owen is obsessed with all things technology-related. Phones. Remotes. Power cords. Light switches. Night lights plugged into the wall. Heck, anything plugged into the wall. Outlets. Computers. iPods. He wants to touch them, explore them, eat them. Mainly just eat them.
And then there’s this.
Kind of the king of all things that light up and make noise, right? Well, not to Owen. He has almost never seen the thing on. And I like it that way.
But given the bouts that we’ve had with Owen’s scary asthmatic breathing in the past when he’s been sick, we’re trying to follow the doctor’s orders and give him this preventative breathing treatment once a day. It’s only about 8-10 minutes, but imagine trying to hold a hurricane in your arms for 2 minutes. Let alone 10. It’s… trying. On all of us. And the ONE THING that makes it bearable is the tv. Brightly colored cartoons and Sesame Street-style music hold his attention for at least 2 out of the 10 minutes. Especially since he doesn’t even see that amazing thing on at any other point during the day. And that’s 2 minutes that I don’t have to be singing/bouncing/holding the mask/holding down his hands.
For awhile we only gave him the “emergency” albuterol treatments when he was so sick that his wheezing was audible or when the doctor said we should. Now that we have been through those episodes a few times, we know exactly what they look like and sound like, and I know when to give him the albuterol without the doctor even having to see him. In addition to those treatments, the doctor suggested that we add the daily preventative treatment with a different medicine in it. To be honest we gave up on that pretty quickly. It’s one thing to give it to him when he’s sick; quite another to try to pin him down when he’s perfectly healthy. It’s hard to stop your rambunctious, happy toddler from playing and walking and exploring and try to stick a mask on his face and hold his hands down so he doesn’t pull it off. We reserve those fights for when he really, really needs it.
Now before you get all “what a bad mother, she’s not giving her son his medicine” on me, please note: since he’s so little and can’t do some of the diagnostic tests for asthma, no one is really convinced that he actually NEEDS this daily treatment. It’s possible the asthmatic breathing only happens when he’s sick (though you all know how much he’s been sick in the last 6 months!). So that makes it even harder to commit to giving it to him daily. I’m not entirely convinced he needs it. I mean really. He is the most active little toddler I’ve ever seen. He never stops moving. His breathing is fine.
But there is a part of me that doubts my own intuition on this one. What do I know about asthma? I don’t have it. I don’t know what it feels like. And I don’t even know what Owen is feeling, exactly, so I don’t want to be making a decision about his health without the proper medical information.
So since the last episode of asthmatic breathing that required albuterol treatments, we’ve been doing our best to give the daily treatments. For 8-10 minutes at some point after dinner and before bedtime, we, Owen, Benjamin and I, sit on the couch and try to make a nebulizer treatment fun.
So we pour medicine mixed with saline into the the blue and white canister, attach it to the tube which connects to the nebulizer, and turn it on. The loud motor pushes air through the tube, which then turns the liquid medicine into mist, and it’s blown into Owen’s nose and mouth through the mask.
The main problem is the mask. Owen won’t tolerate it being held onto his face with the elastic band provided, so we took the band off and I just hold it against his face. Then he tries to chew the corners and rip it down and throw it on the floor, which sometimes results in me spilling the medicine and getting incredibly frustrated. So our recent plan of attack is to have Benjamin hold Owen on his lap, turn on something cartoony and musical on the tv, and bounce his legs and play with his hands while I play defense and try to keep the mask against his face.
I’ve realized two very important things:
1. MUSIC is very important. If there is a period of talking on tv, he gets totally bored and begins pulling at the mask again.
2. MOVEMENT is very important. We have to bounce his legs and dance his hands. The second we stop, the pulling and squirming ensues.
When we have the magic combo of music and movement, he’s mesmerized and forgets all about the mask. The TV is a huge help in getting to that glazed over look we’re going for. But since we’re trying to do this every night, we’re realizing quickly that there is NOT always (ever?) a good baby-friendly cartoon on tv. I’m not up on my cartoons these days, so I don’t even know what to Tivo. I’m thinking investing in a dvd or two would be our best bet.
Do you let your child(ren) watch tv? What are their favorite shows? Do you know of any mostly musical cartoons that Owen might enjoy?