Why Do We Engineer Our Kids to Have a Distaste For Edible Food?

My bottle of cough medicine came in a box. I opened the box and the bottle was wrapped in plastic. I cut the plastic off and the lid had a fastener. I ripped off the fastener and the bottle was child-locked. I opened the child-lock and, 47 minutes after the process began, I took the medicine. Now I will put the child-locked bottle in a child-locked medicine cabinet. And my children aren’t even born yet.

Maybe we, as a society, need to analyze why we feel it necessary to secure our Tylenol and Robitussin like it’s 30 pounds of gold being transported via stage coach through bandit country in the 1870s. Are our toddlers really jonesin’ that hard for Pop’s heartburn medication? And if they are, we need to ask why. My cough medicine is a gross, gooey, neon mucus. It simply should not be appealing to any member of any species. Any pill I’ve ever seen is either a hard white or bright colored capsule. Again, no living creature should salivate at the sight of it. 

But our kids do because we’ve severely perverted both their appetites and their natural instincts by shoving candy down their throats from the age of two. Do you realize we are breeding humans to have a taste for inedible substances? What kind of a plan of action is this? Every creature in the animal kingdom knows not to eat neon or bright colored things. That’s the universal “KEEP THIS CRAP OUT OF YOUR MOUTH” signal. A freakin’ jungle rodent picks up on that alarm better than a 9 year old person. Something is askew when a tropical rat would pass up most of what your child eats on a daily basis. Something is just wrong with this whole picture. And it probably stems from the various highly unnatural sugar delivery systems you find crowding the checkout aisle in any grocery store. The other day I saw a kid walking through my apartment complex squeezing a tube of neon green candy goo into his mouth. It was both a color and a material that literally shouldn’t exist in this dimension of reality. Even a crow pecking at a dirty diaper beside the dumpster in the parking lot looked over at the kid like, “What the hell are you eating?” And what’s even better is that this child will go home and refuse to eat his dinner and his parents will be absolutely perplexed by that. “Gee, I can’t imagine why Junior won’t eat his meatloaf after we’ve worked for 7 years to foster in him a revulsion toward food that’s actually food”.

I’m not some sort of organic hippy. I’m just pointing out the fact that there is a downside to feeding our children a steady diet of bright colors and artificial sugar. A downside which includes their inability to discern the basic distinctions of “edible” and “inedible”. I imagine at one point our ancestors, by the age of 6, could distinguish between a poison hemlock and a wild carrot from 30 yards away. Now a 10 year old would likely walk right past a steak and gobble down a box of bright colored pebbles. I know it’s not the 3rd century anymore but I still think we should try to be at least semi-equipped for basic human existence. That’s all I’m trying to say.

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5 Responses to Why Do We Engineer Our Kids to Have a Distaste For Edible Food?

  1. Rena says:

    great article. so true. thanks for sharing.

  2. Milly Thomas says:

    There’s absolutely no logical reason for it, but the wrapping on medication is not so much to keep the kids out of the medicine, as to keep out the mean hearted evil people. In the past, though “why” defies logic and reason, people have added poison to products either in the factories where they are being made, or by using a hypodermic needle insert it directly into the product sitting on the shelf in grocery and drug stores. Deaths from these acts came a few years after people inserted double-edged razor blades into apples given out to innocent children at Halloween. We’ve always had mentally deficient people among us, and the knee-jerk protective reaction was the best that could be done to solve the problem. Almost hate to say it out loud in case some unstable person would try to repeat this horrible action…

    • littlehouseofpenguins says:

      I know there has been considerable fear-mongering, but I don’t think there has actually been any established case of razor blades or poison in Halloween candy *except* an instance where a father poisoned his own son’s candy, hoping to make it look like it had been a random poisoner. And I don’t think that there are many instances of food being tampered with in the stores (other than those people who like to open a can of cashews, eat a handful, and then put it back on a random shelf in the grocery store).

      I’d say that the wrappings are mostly for liability. Can you imagine if a kid *did* manage to get into the medicine? Or if somebody *did* tamper with it? The medicine company would probably get their pants sued off for not protecting us against every single possible evil thing that could ever, ever happen in any way to their medicine. So it’s worth it to spend a few extra cents per bottle, even though it might cost them many thousands or a million dollars, to avoid being sued for many millions and millions.

      My kids love candy and sweets like any other kid, and I don’t really object to the bright colors. I try to ration it as much as possible, though. However, they also really like vegetables and they generally eat all or most of their dinner. My 5-year-old is addicted to carrots and cashews and would eat them all day if I’d let her.

      • Milly Thomas says:

        I was relying on news reports that I heard back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s about razor blades in apples, pins in candy, and poisoned aspirins. I know what I heard. So imagine my surprise when I searched the internet to blow you away with facts and figures, and discovered that all those reports are now considered a “Hoax”. I stand corrected…

  3. Cylar says:

    The childproof caps are there so pharmaceutical companies don’t get sued into oblivion, by some parent whose 4 year old died after drinking an entire bottle of Robitussin. But you probably knew that.

    The column was entertaining to read, but I’m not clear on what exactly it is you’re proposing. Don’t give kids candy? Eh? I have a three year old who loves Skittles, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, (insert Trayvon Martin joke here) and pretty much anything else made with processed sugar. In other words, she craves exactly the sort of bright-colored, strange-looking objects you mean. In still other words, she’s a typical American child.

    Know what, tho? We don’t give her all the candy she can stand. She gets a little bit here and there (her last dental bill showed us the wisdom of that), and the rest of the time she eats whatever meat, vegetables, and starches we’re eating. Granted I’d like to see her eat less olives, mac n cheese and processed lunchmeat than she does, but one step at a time. I do most of the cooking around her and Mom makes certain that the kid has at least a little bit of whatever it is we are eating.

    Trying to get that kid to put anything down her gullet at all (besides the candy) is something of an exercise in frustration, now that I think about it. As a parent of small twin children, I’d think you would already be privy to that observation.

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