Winter has officially arrived! Sure some might argue that winter arrived in late December with the winter solstice, but I respectfully disagree.
In our household, winter arrives in the drive-thru lane of our local CVS Pharmacy as soon as the pharmacist hands me the bright pink bottle of Amoxicillin and the plastic spoon dispenser. The Alperin's winter arrived last Thursday.
As I was sitting in the drive-thru lane, I noticed a new sign decorating the window at CVS. Now, I really have no idea how long the sign has been taped to the window, as I tend to ignore my surroundings in the pharmacy drive-thru. Normally, I sit in my mini-van of germs and disease and worry about the cost of our prescription medications. Once the pharmacist gives me the actual total, I often have to ask her to repeat my out-of-pocket cost over and over and over until I am able to comprehend the dollar amount and reconcile that amount with the ridiculous cost of our monthly health insurance bill.
But not last Thursday. Based on past experience, I was already aware that Amoxicillin is in the magical insurance coverage category and would only cost me $10. I could relax. I turned up the bubble-gum pop music, which would surely compliment the bubble-gum flavored medicine, and surveyed my surroundings. And that's when I saw that new-to-me sign. It was brightly colored with pictures of fruit dancing around the edges and proudly advertised that parents can add new "kid-friendly" flavors to their child's medicine.
Should we really be adding "kid-friendly" flavors to medicines? Only 30 minutes before, my own sick child had asked the pediatrician if he was going to get the good pink medicine or a disgusting one. At the time, the doctor and I just laughed at his question and dismissed it. Staring at the CVS sign, I started to worry.
As parents, do we want our children to enjoy taking their medicine? Should we raise them to be medicine connoisseurs? "Oh no, Johnny! Grape is so our parents' flavor! You really must try the mango!"
Shouldn't we want their medicine to taste like vile green-colored Nyquil?
Will flavored children's medicine become the new gateway drug? Will we create an epidemic of toddlers switching sipper cups at neighborhood playgroups and day-care centers hoping to catch an illness?
As a toddler of the late 70's and a life-long fan/recovering addict of Flintstone's vitamins, I realize that this is certainly not a new concept. In fact, my mother annually tells the story of how I spider-monkey-climbed the kitchen counter, perched on top of our avocado green refrigerator, ripped off the child-proof cap, and ate an entire bottle of Flintstone's vitamins at the age of 24 months.
Sure, I realized early in childhood that nothing could top a pair of Pebbles vitamins washed down with ice-cold bright pink Amoxicillin, which even in my childhood was the elixir of the gods. But I also vividly remember gagging at the smell and taste of some truly nasty medicines, too. Unless I could actually see the bright pink liquid, I cringed at the mention of medicine. Shouldn't that level of disgust be what we desire from our children's medicine?
I would much rather crocodile-wrestle a kid, pry open their mouth, and squeeze a syringe of medicine against the inside of their cheek then have to worry about my kid sneaking around like a mini-toddler ninja in the middle of the night and chugging bottles of prescription meds.
I'll admit that the idea of a kid gagging so much on disgusting-tasting medicine that s/he pukes doesn't really appeal to me, especially because I am the parent who inevitably vomits with the child and makes the situation 100 times worse. However, I wonder what the unintended consequences of adding "kid-friendly" flavors will be.
Would you add flavoring to your child's medicine? Have you already tried it for your child? What was his/her reaction? Did you secretly sneak a taste? Be honest - 'cause you know that I would totally sneak a taste!
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