My Child: Future Doctor? Or Pill Popper?

I have noticed a few disturbing trends in Bean’s preference of toys the last few weeks.  And as a concerned parent, I thought I would air my anxiety for you all to judge.

You’re welcome.

It started with this medicine dropper that I use to give Bean Benedryl.  Since we have moved to Florida, he hasn’t needed Benedryl once.  But when we lived in Connecticut, the kid was sick all the time.  Part of it was the cold weather and part of it was that he was in daycare.  It seemed like he lived on Benedryl.  And I knew there was a little problem when I would pull out the rubber medicine dropper and Bean would squeal with delight.

So, one afternoon when I couldn’t get Bean to stop yelling profanities at me because I had the nerve to birth him without any teeth, I reached out to grab the nearest anything that Bean could chew on.  What my hand landed on was the rubber medicine dropper from the Benedryl.  Bean loved it.  He chewed on that thing for HOURS.  Sure, it looked a little weird for a baby to be gnawing on a medicine dropper, but whatever it took to appease the teething beast was what I was sticking with.

But then Bean found the same kind of rubber tip on the baby Tylenol bottle.  This was my fault again.  I was changing Bean’s diaper one afternoon and he was crying and I reached around for something to give him to play with and distract him and I ended up handing him a bottle of infant Tylenol.  He went straight for the rubber dropper and started chewing.  I knew it was wrong to give my baby a bottle of medicine to chew on, but if you are judging me right now then CLEARLY you have not met my child when he is teething and possessed by the Devil.

But then it happened again.

A few weeks ago when I was at my sister’s wedding and had that little blip in the ambulance and emergency room, the doctors prescribed me two pain killers and a muscle relaxer.  Which I never took.  I have really bad reactions to most medication, so anything really strong is just terrible for me and I try to avoid taking them.  That meant I had these three really full prescription bottles.  And Bean loves to shake things.  And these bottles full of pills shake perfectly.  And the bottles are small, so they fit in his grubby little paws.

Now, individually, each of these things doesn’t seem TOO horrific.  I mean, its not an example of A+ parenting or anything, but I think they each are fairly understandable.  Especially if you’ve been a parent to a viciously teething child.

But there have been signs that I have perhaps started my child down the wrong path.

Exhibit A:

Every time Bean sees a bottle of pills, infant Tylenol, or a medicine dropper, he starts flailing around and squealing like a kid on Christmas morning.  Very hard to explain to strangers.

Exhibit B:

Bean is the only child on the playground who brings muscle relaxers to play with.

So, we have cut the medication utensils out of Bean’s life cold turkey now.  No more prescription pain killer bottles.  No more Tylenol rubber stoppers.  No more medicine droppers.  Nadda.

Because the way I see it, there is a 50/50 chance that this might indicate Bean becoming a doctor one day.  But there is also a 50/50 chance that he might become a pill popper.  So.  You know.  Probably best to just nip this in the bud.

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31 Thoughts to “My Child: Future Doctor? Or Pill Popper?”

  1. My son does the same thing! I like to think he’s going to be a pharmacist. 🙂

  2. I like to tell myself that every parent in a time of desperation gives their child something to play with that perhaps isn’t really a good choice as a “toy.” But when you have a screaming child on your hands and you want/NEED just two seconds to distract him so you can change a diaper or hear yourself think, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  3. My nephew is exactly the same. He takes Zantac for his acid reflux and, as an infant, looooved to play with and chew on the bottle. He’s 2 now and past that, so it’ll pass… but he was the most adorable doctor ever this past Halloween. (The name badge on the costume said “Dr. Q. T. Pie” awww.) So I vote doctor for Bean, too.

  4. Gina B.

    If anyone judges you for this, they either don’t have children and have therefore never been so desperate to stop the crying, Sweet Lord Jesus, stop the crying OR they are liars.
    For a while one of Eva’s favorite toys was a bottle of Tylenol. Then when those were gone and I was prescribed some Percoset for pain… that too was a really full bottle because I never took it and it was HARD to take it away. It happens. As long as you’re watching him to make sure he’s not getting the caps off, it’s a just a rattle.

  5. Jen

    I took an empty water bottle and filled it with beads, buttons, anything NOISY and gave it to my students as music makers. I super glued the top so they couldn’t unscrew it and that whole choking thing scares the crap outta me. Dr. Bean might enjoy this 🙂

  6. Does it make you feel any better that my little brother used to chew everything he ate into the shape of a gun and “shoot” the dogs? You think I’m kidding, have you ever seen a PBJ gun? Jelly wounds aren’t fun.

  7. Katie – you’ve completely forgotten the third, more logical explanation. Bean is going to grow-up and be a smoking percussionist! I mean, with the oral fixation and the love of shaking things, it seems somewhat destined. But then, I think all babies have an oral fixation, so maybe he’ll just be a percussionist. And that’s not bad at all. Sure, it’s not a pianist or a saxophone player, but he’ll still get his share of the girls.

    1. Kristin

      I had the same thought! Someone get that kid a drum set!

  8. Kat

    hahahahahaha! This is just too funny! ps- I love Jen’s comment above. What a great idea!

  9. This post made me smile. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do. 🙂

    Marla @

  10. My 9 month old, Porter, HATES getting his diaper changed. The only thing that calms him down and lets me get through the diaper change without crap smeared all over myself… the infant Tylenol bottle.

    And, when I am trying to get ready those last five minutes in the morning before running out the door to work and he has decided he is done being patient the only thing that will get me those last five minutes… my bottle of prenatals.

    So, you aren’t the only one 🙂

  11. Dee

    We donate all unused medicine to my cousin’s mission work. He is a Dr and takes it to Africa to treat very poor areas. He accept dontations of any medicine or toiletry. Advil, antibiotics whatever people dont need, they take. YOu should see if you can find a church in your area that could use them or I could even forward you his info to send it.

  12. Lacy

    I’m glad my son isn’t the only one doing this! Anytime he sees his infants Tylenol he grabs for it. He too loves to shake medicine bottles. I ended up taking the medicine out and filling it with jelly beans. I know its child proof and all, I guess I’m overly paranoid. As of now, that is his favorite toy, and I have no problem letting him play with it as long as its making him happy. 🙂
    Also, I’m sure you know, but there has been a recall on infants Tylenol again. I threw mine out just yesterday.

  13. Rebekah M.

    Oh don’t worry!!! My son did the same thing with the tylenol bottle & the rx bottles! we eventually used all the tylenol…or maybe i just poured it out & i gave him the empty bottle to play with. Its definitely the rubber tip that they LOVE to chew on.
    My son also played with medicine bottles. My grandmother finished one of her medicines and then filled it with dry beans or rice & super glued the top. It was totally safe & there wasn’t anything that could seriously hurt him inside (…not that he could even open it…since super glue is impossible to get off of anything).
    if you are still worried, you could totally influence his decision. My son was a doctor for halloween & even had little scrubs with his name monogrammed on them!

  14. My son loves the rubber thing on the tylenol too. =)

  15. Cindy In Owensboro, KY

    I think that he is just a normal little baby. My daughter also loves medicine bottles, or for that matter anything that is not a toy and looks neat to play with…..such as bottles of cleaning supplies, shampoo bottles, etc.
    I have a picture of her with the dog and she has the tylenol bottle in her hand.
    Since she is getting a little older now (18 months) she is not happy with just the unopened bottles and wants to try to open them so I have to be the meanie and take them away from her most of the time.

  16. Cute! My sister used to take the (clean!) pot off of her potty and dance around with it on her head like it was a top hat. What do you think that says about her…and us, for letting her do it?

  17. Miss S

    Bean isn’t the only kid who plays with pills! My mother gave my daughter a bottle of benadryl pills to play with and she thought that was the coolest thing. Except that now that she’s 2, she has figured out how to open child-proof bottles. My mom caught her opening a bottle of gummy vitamins (she thinks they’re candy) saying “Yum! Yum!”

  18. Kourtney

    As my mother used to say, there is no guidebook for parenting, so I say if it makes him happy and he’s not actually TAKING the medicine, let him use the pill bottles as morraccas. Who knows, maybe the kid will gain an interest in percussion/music from it 🙂
    And might I add, Bean has excellent posture in those pictures!

  19. When we visit our pharmacist, Bessy always gives Nate a plastic syringe (for medicine doses) and a plastic medicine spoon. You’d think he won the lottery. He looks at them, plays with them, and chews on them for HOURS.

  20. My Ellery does the exact same thing! I had no problem with it until she found a container of Tums (super sized leftover from pregnancy, or course), opened it, and shook 5 into her mouth before I could even get my arms around her. Suddenly I had a child addicted to pill bottles who I could no longer allow to play with them. Cue tragic hours of denying my child the ONE THING in the world she wants! What a horrible mom!

    Thankfully, I found a solution…I took an empty spice bottle (chili powder, to be exact), cleaned it out, put a handful of dry lentils in (happened to have them, but they’re like $1 if you don’t. Rice would work too), glued the top on, and let her shake away! She can even still pop the top open to the little spice shaker holes and pretend to cook with me. It is the new love of her life. I made a few more in different sizes with other shaker bits so they look cool and sound different…beans, rice, split peas…and I now have minutes upon minutes of uninterrupted cooking time in the evening! They’re loud as heck, but way better than screaming!

    That was long, and I’ve never even posted before. I LOVE your stories and am such a fan, albeit a quiet one. I just had to join in after having the exact same problem! My little girl is only 12 days older than Bean, so I feel like we go through the same things at the same time! Thanks for making me laugh or MmHmm every day!

  21. I love reading your blog because you write what’s real, not what you think will sound right. And kudos to your readers for their comments. The best thing we can do as mothers is not be judgemental and support each other in our everyday battles and our joys.

  22. courtney

    My 2 and a half year old has taken so many antibiotics and allergy medicines in his short life that now he thinks he needs medicine all the time. The other night he said said “mom I need my nosespray” . . . say what? And then the next day he insisted he needed medicine for his throat – so I gave him a tsp. of water. I told him it was special medicine. Not only that but he loves to have his temperature taken and often insists he has a fever. Who knows maybe he has a career in medicine. Or else I have a serious hypocondriac(sp?) on my hands 🙂

  23. Chelsea

    My job involves helping kids become more comfortable with the medical world and it sounds like all of you are doing an awesome job helping your kids feel more comfortable! (I mean you could always do some of the suggestions, like fill the pill bottles with something else pill-like and use some super glue to keep it on, just to be safe.)

  24. Jules

    I work as a Pharmacy Tech for Target. We occasionally get a beast of a child that is screaming in a mothers ear and grabbing at ANY and EVERYTHING in their reach. We started taking empty Rx bottles, throwing in a few paper clips, a fun colored ring and snapping on the child proof lid. Instant rattle, shiny, red toy for a child in need of distraction. So if you come to my small town of Arizona there are multiple children rocking out with their pill bottles.

  25. Heather Ben

    mine is the same way. loves pill bottles.

  26. You know, if he ever ends up on Intervention, you can explain this story. 😉 Just kidding! In all seriousness, I’m sure he’s fine! As long as it’s something safe that makes the kid happy, whatever!

  27. I think he’s got a future in medicine….pharmacy to be exact 😉

    I can understand the need to grab something quick to entertain/calm your baby. But having very strong, potent, medicine in a bottle that you hand your baby makes me very nervous. I liked the suggestions above about throwing some beans/rice/papercliips into a bottle and you could donate the medicine itself to charity/mission work.

    Now you don’t have to worry about accidently overdoses and dangerous outcomes….and you can calm the screaming child!

  28. susansamson

    I did the same thing with my son. And when I realized that he was always too excited about medicine coming out or even seeing it on the counters, I cut him off, cold turkey. The teething will get better….honestly…someday, it will get better.

  29. […] favorite thing when he was between six months and a year old was the infant Tylenol bottle. He chewed on that rubber stopper like a crazy man. He liked it so much, in fact, that we started […]

  30. Holli

    My mom has cancer and as a result has to take a cocktail of pills everyday. Every time we go over there she gives my son an empty pill bottle to play with. So now he loves them and anything that looks like a pills bottle. I don’t see anything wrong with it. They’re empty, and when he’s older ill teach him about medicine and not to touch it.

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