I may not have internet access for a few days, as we are leaving the temporary housing (can you hear angels singing?) and going to the house for good today. Who knows if the internet access will actually kick-start on Saturday as it is supposed to… In the meantime, I thought I would try to offend a few people before the weekend.
J and I are funny about drugs. We are probably the only thirty-something couple in America with absolutely no experience in illegal drugs. I mean it. Neither of us has so much as held a joint. We figure at least we won’t have the “tell a lie/bad role model” dilemma when our kids are thirteen. J never tried illegal substances because he is famously averse to losing control. I never tried them because I am a goody-two-shoes.
More to the point, I am afraid of breaking rules because I might get caught. I break the stupid ones, of course, the moronic implied rules about appropriate clothing or whether I can talk about sex in the classroom. (I taught ENGLIGH, for heaven’s sake. How the hell do you teach Hawthorne without mentioning sex?) But the strict rules, the ones that are actually written down? Those I follow. I don’t eat soft cheese while pregnant. I use commas when and only when they are called for. I never answer my cell phone in the preschool. And I do not do illegal drugs. Someone might catch me.
Even as I have gotten older and more comfortable with rule-bending, I have no desire to try such substances. In fact, the older I get, the fewer drugs of any kind interest me. I never liked soda (nasty bubbles). I gave up caffeine years ago. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for so long, I have forgotten what alcohol tastes like and is supposed to do. Every time I wean a kid and pick up a glass of wine, I seem to find myself pregnant all over again. I hope to enjoy a glass of wine again someday, although at this point my tolerance is probably so low I won’t make it past the first four sips.
J, too, skips alcohol on most occasions, but that is because he figures he’d rather save the calories for cookies. You gotta love a man with priorities.
In the past few years, I have tried to cut out substances that are just not what nature intended. I have gone as organic as possible. I buy hormone-free milk. I don’t paint my nails, my face (OK, now and then, with natural cosmetics), or my hair. I use the most natural cleaning agents I can find for my body, my children, and my home. I avoid plastic sippy cups, except in the case of my straw-addicted son. I refuse to get back on the pill, which led to one rather surprising pink line.
And I don’t drug my kids.
I am more than willing to medicate them when necessary. We use fever reducers because fevers can be dangerous. But I don’t give them pain-killers for teething. We have used Benadryl for an allergic reaction, but I would never give it to them to make a flight easier. Unless a cough seems to be threatening some sort of complications, you can bet you’ll not find me serving up cough medicine in my house, especially to kids as young as mine.
The doctor wants Zachary on allergy medication, and perhaps it will come to that. But neither J nor I wants to go to meds before we try controlling the environment in which he lives and sleeps. There are children who need medication for ADHD or OCD and those kids should be given the pharmaceutical help that they need, but there are other kids whose parents and doctors rush to those medications because they are a ready solution. As a teacher, I have seen too much over-medication. The meds seem a last resort to us. We don’t give our kids drugs just to make our lives easier.* If we wanted to make our lives easier, we should have gotten goldfish, instead.
We do, however, give our kids vaccines. That is about health, theirs or someone else’s. There is no medical evidence that vaccines cause autism. There is a great deal of medical evidence that German Measles kills people. And, while folks love to claim that “we all had chicken pox and it never killed any of us,” the fact is it does kill people. Others may not feel obligated towards those with immunity problems, but I do.
And mumps is a really, really yucky illness.
So, we are first in line to immunize our kids. Yes, there are sometimes complications, but the same can be said of the various letters of hepatitis. So, please do not leave comments listing all the possible side-effects of vaccines or warning that your mother’s hairdresser swears it caused her child’s club foot. I have heard it all, and I am not buying. (Plus, I have probably been polite enough to avoid leaving comments on a post of yours about vaccination. This is my blog, and while I welcome differences of opinion on most topics, I will not use it as a forum for ideas I believe are erroneous and deeply dangerous.)
When the benefits of a medication far outweigh the risks, we are all for it. All drugs have the potential for negative side-effects, and that is a risk J and I are not willing to take just to get our kids to be more docile or because we do not feel like getting up at night when they are sick. We are, however, more than ready to help prevent rubella.
Like I said, we are funny about drugs.
* You will note, I am not saying all kids given medication for their conditions are being over-drugged or that their parents are lazy. I am saying the kids given drugs first because it is easiest are being done a disservice.