"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dextromethorphan HBr, Guaifenesin...

I can't even pronounce that, more or less spell it. I had to copy and paste it from the Robitussin website to even get it in the subject bar at all. "Active ingredients: Asdfghjk, Zxcvbnm, Qwertyuiop..."

When I was some few ten years old, I was really into the American Girls Collection, which had a higher integrity back then. In the Felicity books, there is mention of how Felicity's mother creates a syrup for the sick Mr. Nye out of onion and garlic. I remember thinking: "Wow. Does that really work?" Does herbal medicine really work? How come we all take Robitussin for our coughing if other things, safer things, truer things, work just as well or better?

That slice of information was filed away for several years while through many bouts of cold and flu I found myself doing what my mother always called the "heebie jeebie dance" after swallowing teaspoon after teaspoon of vile-tasting technicolored cough syrups. Something I didn't think of again, practically, until I became pregnant.

I think I'm lucky, as far as my kid is concerned. She's never been privy to daycare, so in her eighteen months has only been sick four times and never a thing that required a trip to see a pediatrician. Call it common sense, but I do know a thing or two about fixing sniffles and low fevers. Regardless, I found myself falling into what was comfortable. What was familiar. Slather her with Baby Vicks, give her (dye free!) Tylenol Drops, and tuck her into a bath with Johnson's Soothing Vapor wash.

Makes perfect sense, works perfectly fine, until you start puttering around websites like the SkinDeep Database and wondering what all those petroleum products (in the Vicks) and parabens (in the Vapor Bath) are doing to your poor kid.

The guilt (and the ominousness of your likely contagious husband who sounds like he's hacking up a lung this week) eventually brings you around to that thought you'd tucked away fourteen years ago. So you cook up a batch of garlic onion honey syrup, tuck it away in the pantry and fancy yourself an apothecary for one day and feel sanguine that if your baby gets sick, she won't have to suck down that nasty blue Tylenol Cold syrup your husband came home with yesterday.

Maybe, you think, since your baby is getting more and more social every day, it's time to be an apothecary more often.

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