Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So, Sabrina asked about Max's drooling

Max and his new baby sis in 2005.

A couple of months ago, one of Max's doctors gave us a prescription for Transderm Scop patches to help with the drooling. He does it a lot, and if he isn't wearing a bib his shirt gets all wet. These patches, worn on the neck for a few hours a pop, are typically used for motion sickness; one of the side effects is that they dry you up, and so they're used to counter drooling.

Dave brought them home from the pharmacy about two months ago and they've been sitting on the kitchen counter ever since because I can't bring myself to give Max unnecessary medication. I've also heard about an operation that can reverse the salivary glands so saliva flows backward, down the throat. That seems kind of icky (to use the technical term) and again, I would not want to make Max undergo anything purely for aesthetic reasons. Unless we reach a point where it bothers him.

The drooling gets to Sabrina. If we're all hanging in bed, she'll point out the wet spots he's left on the comforter or pillow. And if Max sits too close to her on the couch or leans over to peek at a video she's watching on the portable DVD, she'll whine, "Max drooled on me!" Typically, I'll respond, "OK, then move away!" or "Honey, it's no big deal, just wipe it off." My daughter, the priss.

Yesterday she asked me, "Why does Max drool?"

I froze for a millisecond, not sure exactly what to say. But then I remembered to keep it simple and told her, "Because he has a little trouble using his mouth, and some drool comes out."

Then I pressed her: "Why are you asking?" I wanted to know whether another kid had asked about it. I wanted to know what, exactly, was on her mind about Max.

She didn't say anything, and clearly wanted to move on. I let it go.

I hope I handled that one right. I know there will be many more questions coming down the road.


  1. when I was in fifth grade I learned about the digestive system and learned that everyone has salvia glains I told this to princess because she complaned to me about droling (she was 8) that could work in the furture. I drooled a lot wheen I was in grade school but have gotten better. I do tend to sprit when I talk and that is really embarsing. How old is max and is he in school.

  2. I am the same way about unnecessary medications. If they are not serving a desperate purpose I just don't use them. I think a simple explanation is probably best for Sabrina....although you could ask her what would she do if her Ariel doll drooled, LOL

  3. I think you handled it perfectly. For now, that's all the info she needed, and since she was ready to move on, your answer must've satisfied her curiosity.
    Noah is the same way with Addison, but he calls it slobbering, and she can still get away with it in his eyes since he's the older one.
    Navigating this road with the typical sibs will be hard. I'm already anticipating all of the questions as they get older.

  4. I don't see how you could have handled it any better. My son's issues aren't very apparent (yet), so it's been difficult explaining to Violet why her brother has to have so much therapy. She just doesn't understand why these nice people come to the house with cool toys, bubbles, etc., and focus solely on her brother. I've told her that his brain has to work harder than hers to learn,but she's not buying it!

  5. Julia keeps making comments around Emma's capabilities. I think she knows Emma isn't age appropriate, but since she is only 3 years old doesn't quite understand it all (to be honest, neither do we!). Her recent comment is that Emma's feet are so tiny, but one day they will grow and she'll be able to walk. I told her that her feet will grow, but the size of her feet are not the reason she can't walk yet - that it's her muscles don't work right. I think we just keep it simple and do the best we can when our children ask. The important thing is that they feel comfortable enough to bring up the subject and drop it when they are satisfied.

  6. In my humble opinion, Ellen, you handled Sabrina's question very well - short, simple, and matter - of - fact.
    Daniel asked about a little boy's drooling at the hospital last year, and I gave him a similar answer. We also let him know that everyone has things that are difficult for them, and that's OK.

  7. I agree with others. You did great!

    I think simple answers to simple questions are best.

    I bet as time goes on, Sabrina's questions will get more complex and then your answers can do the same.

    I think dribbling/drooling is one of the hardest things for other kids to understand and deal with. It's something I'm acutely aware of with BC at kinder. Since he's started there, we've really upped our attempts to help him achieve saliva control. I really don't want to go down the path of meds.

    It's a tricky one!

  8. Ellen, I think you did just fine. I've never heard of those patches. When I was looking at this subject, I read a bit about botox being the least invasive methodology to control the dribbles. Never followed up, though.

    I know what you mean about medicinal patches or surgery. I wouldn't want to go that way either.

  9. Thanks for the group pat on the back!!!

    AZ, Max is six and yes, he is in school.

    Christine: That is brilliant! If Sabrina brings this up again, I will ask what she'd do if Ariel drooled.

  10. Honestly, I think you handled it perfectly. I've used those exact words, inserting the appropriate concern reference for drooling, to others before.

    It's short. It's the truth.

  11. I too, think you handled the situation well Ellen.

    Your story reminded me of a situation that happened to me recently. As Elijah is still so young and sans siblings (at this point anyway), I haven't had to explain things to kids yet. A couple of weekends ago, the three of us were at a one year old's b-day party and I was thrilled to see that Eliajh was attempting to play with other kids. Granted, his "playing" was mostly chasing these two boys around and trying to put his mouth on them (since he missed the whole mouthing things stage, this is what he does). Thankfully, the little boys loved having Elijah chase them and didn't seem bothered a bit by the drool seeping from Elijah's cute little mouth.

    At one point, Elijah fell down next to some little girls who were playing with their party favors. A few minutes later, I noticed one of the girls pick up her notebook disgusted, because it was apparently covered in drool. I saw her go talk to her mom, who must've told her it wasn't a big deal because she came back and sat down and kept on playing. Her reaction to the drool was honestly hilarious. This was the first time I've ever seen anyone disgusted by Elijah's drool and it proabably won't be the last. I probably didn't handle it right because I didn't say anything, but I was glad the little girl's mom seemed to tell her the right thing. I'm living and learning I guess.


Thanks for sharing!