Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Fluochian Maneuver

I'm a big fan of the placebo effect.

For example, Kim used to have horrible nightmares. She would cry and scream and just be absolutely terrified. She started fighting sleep because she was afraid of what she would dream.

One night, in sheer desperation around 3:00 AM, I grabbed a bottle of Tums near my dresser, got one out, and gave it to her. I told her I had found some new "Nightmare Pills" and that they would help her sleep without nightmares. (Yes, I lied. Sort of. Calcium actually does help you sleep more soundly. Tums has calcium in them. It's a stretch, but it was enough to sooth my guilt.)

She took the "Nightmare Pill" gratefully, chewed it up, and went to sleep, thoroughly believing in the power of the new medicine. When it became clear that this was helpful, I spoke to the doctor about it to make sure it was safe (It was!) and I bought a gigantic bottle of Tums at Sam's Club. We used this method for several years before I bought a bottle that had new flavors that she didn't like. She weaned herself off of them because of the yucky flavor.

I've come up with several "cures" like this throughout the years. One of the most useful ones was "Splinter-Proof Lotion." CJ, who has Sensory Integration Disorder, will often feel like he has splinters in his hands. He would often become obsessed with trying to dig a non-existent splinter out of his hand while sitting in school. This also would happen to him at night when we were all trying to go to sleep. I lost count of how many times he woke me up to ask me to get a splinter out of his hand. I never could see any.

I finally decided his hands were just too dry. However, I knew CJ would never believe that, so I got some lotion (a new kind he hadn't used before) and told him I found "Splinter-Proof Lotion" for him. I helped to rub it on his hands (because Mommies give out medicine, you know.....) and sent him to bed. It worked like a charm! We finally got some sleep!

When I attended his next IEP meeting at school and discovered that the "splinters" were still bothering him at school, I bought some super extra heavy duty "Splinter Proof Lotion" and gave it to his resource teacher to keep in her room. We explained to CJ that this new lotion was good for an entire week. He would go to her room on Monday morning, get a "dose" of the lotion, and he was pretty much splinter-free until the following Monday morning.

This brings me back to our current placebo cure: The Fluochian Maneuver!

You know how sometimes kids tend to eat a little bit too much and then will complain that their tummy aches a bit? Well, several of our kids do this at every meal. They seem to do this even when they don't eat too much. It's a weird phenomenon. Last week, Zach ate a bit too much. Then followed it up with dessert.

He had heard about his buddy, Brandon, performing the Heimlich Maneuver on his brother when he was choking on a piece of candy. Zach decided this would help him. He asked me to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on him. I explained to him that the Heimlich Maneuver was for when someone was choking...not for when they were a bit of a gluttonous pig. He sighed and said that he wished there was some sort of maneuver for that.

Almost instantly, I said, "Oh, you mean the Fluochian Maneuver!"

Mike looked at me from the other end of the table. He had that look on his face, with one eyebrow slightly raised, that said, "What the heck is she doing now??"

Zach said, "Yeah. Do you know that one?"

Ha! Do I know that one? "You bet I do," was my response.

I motioned for him to come stand next to my chair. He did. I turned him around and wrapped my arms around his stomach. I decided it needed to seem official, so I started poking around a bit on his stomach and explained to him that I had to find his fluochian before I did the maneuver. I located the bottom of his right ribcage, went down about two inches from there, and gave a little smoosh. Not too hard. After all, I didn't want to rupture his fluochian. I made sure it was hard enough so that he could feel it, though.

He turned around, looked at me with amazement, and said, "Wow. That worked."

Wow is right.

Suddenly, Gabby needed a Fluochian Maneuver performed. So did Ben. And Kim.

By the end of the meal, the Fluchian Maneuver was well-known by everyone. I reminded the children that only people trained in the Fluochian Maneuver could perform it safely. Otherwise, they could rupture their fluochian. Zach said, "Would you have to get a donor one, then?"

I said, "Well, either that or get hooked up to a fluochinalysis machine for the rest of your life." I could tell from his expression that he did not want to do that.

Dinner ended. Everyone's fluochians had survived without being ruptured. Mike and I just looked at each other from across the table and chuckled. This part of parenting is kinda fun. Hey...we have to get our laughs where we can....

Jump ahead to dinner at the Chinese restaurant the other day. With friends.

This time it was Ben who ate too much. He got up from the table where he was, came over to ours (Yes...our family is too large to sit at one table.) and said, "Mom...I need the Fluochian Maneuver." (Can I say how impressed I am that he actually remembered the made-up nonsensical word?)

My friend, Lisa, glanced at me with a confused look. I can only imagine that she was thinking something like, "What the heck is a Fluochian Maneuver?!"

I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to demonstrate on Ben and explain later. So, in the middle of the Chinese restaurant, I fluochianated him.

"Thanks Mom!" He happily went back to his seat.

After a quick, quiet explanation to Lisa, Zach needed to be fluochianated too. Then, believe it or not, Lisa's kids asked to be fluochianated. I performed about five or six Fluochian Maneuvers that day in the Chinese restaurant. (It's okay. They like us there.)

Part of me thinks it probably would have been a better idea to just tell my kids to stop eating so much, but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. And what would that blog have looked like?

"My kids ate too much. I told them to stop." Yeah...not so funny, is it? With my life, sometimes I have to create the laughs.

Fluochian Maneuver, anyone?


  1. Sounds like you have quite an imagination, along with a sense of humor. The placebo effect appears to be working for now, but what happens when they find out it is not true? With 7 kids though I guess you need to do something to keep your sanity. You are an angel I don't know how you do it!

  2. Hmmm....good question.... I'm not sure. LOL. They've never actually questioned things like this yet. I think they usually outgrow the ideas, kind of like outgrowing the Tooth Fairy and stuff like that.

  3. Love the creative parenting!!! We have some monster-proofing spray at our house -- don't tell my daughter it is just body spray! Spraying it under and near her bed really does work on nights she's scared!