My Toddler the Drug Addict

Sophie has a best-friend at daycare, Macy. They actually spend hours babbling to each other: “Blip blip bleu bleu kolloo,” they say. Daycare Teacher suspects that they may be talking about her. One time we ran into Macy at a coffee-shop on a Saturday, and Mace nearly jumped out of her stroller, eagerly lunging at Sophie. They’re pretty good friends.

But earlier this week, in an overabundance of friendship, Sophie pulled Macy’s chair on top of her foot, cutting her own toe pretty badly. She’s got a pus-filled blister on that toe now. She wisely tries to hold that whole foot out of the bath-water, because it stings her so much. My normally barefoot-loving baby now insists on wearing some really solid white shoes that Daycare Teacher gave her after the chair incident. Sophie even asked to wear her orthopedic-looking old-lady shoes to bed last night.

Then when I was putting neosporin on her festering blister, she seized her favorite thing in the medicine cabinet: baby tylenol. Sophie is a baby-tylenol addict. She’s getting pretty fond of neosporin too, now that it’s making her toe feel better, but, to Sophie, baby tylenol is even more enticing, because it’s got a delicious rubbery medicine-dropper top that she prefers to any pacifier. I let her chew on the closed tylenol bottle while I put her pajamas on last night. Usually, as she nurses to sleep in my arms, she’ll let go of whatever toy she’s clutching. But she would not let go of that baby tylenol.

Ideal Mom would have simply seized the toy and still managed to get her baby calmly to bed. Ideal Mom would have never let medicine become a toy in the first place. But I’m Real Mom. I thought, “How bad would it be to let her take Baby Tylenol to bed? It’s a child-safe bottle, right? It’s just like a pacifier. What are the chances that she’ll chew through the rubber and overdose on tylenol?” Yes, I actually thought that. I actually calculated the risk in my head, before I came to my senses and decided that I really couldn’t let her sleep with a medicine bottle. But I couldn’t remove it either. So I twisted the top off, licked the dropper clean, and left her with the empty medicine dropper to soothe herself to sleep.

It’s maybe not the worst thing a mom has ever done. But oh so far from ideal. This morning, Sophie was still enjoying her medicine-dropper top so much that she kept trying to stick it in my mouth, too. I think her molar teeth may be coming in, so every last drop of tylenol that she can extract from that dropper is something she wants. Ben has started calling it her crack-pipe, but, he points out, at least she still shares, even her crack-pipe.

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