Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Silent Epidemic

I can't believe we are dealing with addiction before the age of three. 

It started innocently enough, with just a little taste, socially. 

Soon, Meg had to have it daily. Then she demanded it hourly. Now she claims she can't function without it. 

When we don't give her any she goes through horrible tantrums of withdrawal. 

Oh, dear God, Pez addiction is a special kind of parental hell. 

On the surface it seems so harmless. Chalky, fruity, candy that can be doled out in small portions, with a colorful container to hold the rest. 

In reality it is so different. One Pez quickly turns into a whole pack for our sugar starved toddler, and then the empty container mocks her with the fact she NEEDS more candy. She can still smell it on the plastic, still kind of taste the residue if she licks it, and she feels she HAS TO HAVE it refilled. 

There is nothing that can distract her from it, either. No way to make her forget. With other past obsessions (stickers, tic tacs, mylar balloons) she has forgotten all about them once they are gone. She may ask about them once or twice, but more in a nostalgic way. With Pez the dispensers are always there, smiling, reminding Meg she is out of candy. I guess I could throw them away, but I've been on Ebay, a couple of them could eventually be sold to put her through college. 

What makes it even worse is the fact there are so many Pez dealers out there. They hide in plain sight, you would never suspect them. Grandma? Check. Aunts? Check. Friends wanting to bring a "treat?" Big check. I would hope they just are ignorant patsies, unaware of the Pez cartel they are muling for, but I think at least a few of them must actively be working for big sugar. 

Meg will, literally, do anything for Pez. I hate to admit it, but I have actually exploited this at times. That's right, I'm an enabler. 

I can't help it. I'm so weak. 

I am willing to trade Pez for eating six bites of dinner when she is lying on the floor claiming she isn't hungry. I am willing to trade it for hair washing too. I am even willing to trade TWO packs to get her to do things like wear underwear and use the potty for a whole afternoon without an accident. I would trade it for brushing her teeth, but that seems counter intuitive. 

The only thing that gives me comfort is the fact we are not alone in all this. The family next door is dealing with the same situation. Their daughter is four. 

I just hope she and Meg don't steal a car in order to make a score. 


Amanda said...

No more comments about Big Sugar. Big Sugar knows all & is a nasty customer when double crossed. For god's sake, Libby, I AM YOUR SISTER! Do not sell me out to Big Sugar.

Jen said...

Haha! I know of what it is you write.

Dr. Cynicism said...

Hi. My name is Dr. Cynicism. And I'm a former Pez addict. It all started when I was 5. There was something absolutely irresistible about that neck-candy.

G. B. Miller said...

Wow, they're still making PEZ?

I've been lucky over the years as both of my kids never really got that addicted to any kind of candy.

Kelly said...

Mea called Pez, "Balentines" for the longest time due to a certain parent, me, buying her a Per dispenser for Valentines day on year. I heard, "More Balentines, Momma!" for years. She just recently moved past it. Good luck. It's a tough addiction to break.

Mandy_Fish said...

It's good practice for her future Xanax prescription.


My two-year-old daughter learned the word for "sweets" from her babysitter in Spanish. So now she cries out, "DULCE! DULCE!!!!!!!" like a crack addict needing her fix.

missohkay said...

I *knew* tictacs were a gateway drug! We should stage an intervention before she moves on to Smarties.

Granny Annie said...

You have outdone yourself with this post and created for me a much better understanding of pez addiction. I'm surprised there is not an episode about it on Intervention.

Summer said...

Elijah is in detox right now from Easter. That's not true. I slip him mini Twix and Starburst jelly beans. I have no shame.

LL Cool Joe said...

I recently went to a shop in the States called "Sugar", I think, and it was full of Pez. My 13 year old screamed with delight. The addiction lives on.

Rassles said...

My sister is STILL addicted to Pez. Nip this. IN THE BUTT.