February 2, 2009

Vitamin Management

Every morning I get out the kids' vitamins. All five kids take a daily multivitamin, and Rob also takes a calcium supplement because he doesn't drink milk. I'd already streamlined the process somewhat by using the same bottle for anyone who takes the same dose: for example, Elizabeth and Edward both use Elizabeth's prescription until it runs out, and then they both use Edward's. Rob and William do the same. Henry is the only one who doesn't share.

So that's...four little bottles every morning, which is not exactly the sort of chore that RUINS MY LIFE, but it's a minor hassle and I have found a pleasing improvement to the situation: I use one of those weekly pill reminder boxes. Last night I put in each compartment two square vitamins (E and E's), two round vitamins (R and W's), and a calcium supplement (R's). This morning I opened the M compartment, tipped the pile into my hand, and went around the table handing them out. Henry's doesn't fit into this system yet because his is a liquid, but soon he'll take a chewable and fit right in with the rest of the crowd.

Not only is this a little quicker, it solves the fuss over who gets which color vitamin: they get whatever is in the box, and I made everyone's the same color for each day: four orange vitamins for today, four pink ones for tomorrow, etc.

That reminds me, though, of something we started doing early on to reduce the color-choice fuss. When Rob was a toddler, he wanted to CHOOSE, but that led to problems with (1) running out of one color before the other colors, and (2) long agonizing decisions while I stood there holding out my hand with the vitamins in it. So what I started doing was dumping out a little pile of vitamins into my hand, and giving him the one there was the most of. If I had 4 purples, 2 oranges, and 1 pink, he got a purple. If I had the same number of two different colors, I'd dump out a couple more vitamins, or put back a few. This method encourages the colors to come out even, too, which is pleasing to those of us who are firstborn and mathy.

20 comments:

Dawna Drake said...

I didn't realize multi vitamins were prescribed? I thought they were all just those ones in the pharmacy with bugs bunny or whatever?

Swistle said...

Dawna- It's like prenatal vitamins, where they're available over-the-counter or prescription. Some insurances cover the prescription vitamins, in which case they're cheaper that way. And I think they have to be prescription if they have fluoride in them (for areas that don't fluoridate the water).

Nowheymama said...

Very cool! Next, would you talk about *your* vitamins/supplements?

Snoopyfan said...

Thanks for reminding me I forgot to give my kids their vitamins this morning! :)

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Which brand of prescription vitamins do they take? I never even thought about asking for prescription vitamins. They would be cheaper than buying them over the counter!

Swistle said...

Not Your Aunt Bea- I'm not sure about the brand---they come in a pharmacy bottle. When I worked in a pharmacy I remember we sometimes got one brand, sometimes another, but they were considered interchangeable and all the tablets looked the same.

We've switched policies pretty often over the years, and many won't cover vitamins--in which case, they cost about $20 for 100. Other policies cover them at the cheapest co-pay, or when we were briefly on a government-funded kids' health insurance plan, vitamins were FREE.

Clarabella said...

So, are Henry's prescribed as well? If not, what are you giving him? I just wonder because my son is the same age as Henry, but my Ped has told me not to worry about vitamins until he's older. Just curious.

Swistle said...

Clarabella- Henry's are prescribed, and he only just started taking them. Our pediatrician does an iron test at the 18-month check-up, and Henry's came back low so the pediatrician prescribed a liquid multivitamin with iron (the same thing is available over the counter, it looks like---it has a bunny on the box). Before the iron thing, the pediatrician had said the same as yours: that he was willing to prescribe them, but he didn't see any need until Henry was older.

Leticia said...

Swistle, I am a lover of systems...of developing systems and processes and streamlining. So when you post these type of entries I am laughing at your love of systems as well....and also cracking up because at least there's another crazy girl who gets genuinely excited about how to organize a pill process. :o) I must know your sign.

Jess said...

This is a good system. My sister and I used to take vitamins and there were yummy pink ones and gross purple ones, and she always grabbed all the pinks and stuck me with the purple ones. It's a miracle that I grew up liking the color purple, really.

Swiggy said...

Mathy?

I'm mathy. And, depending on how you look at it, I'm the first born - how weird!

I usually just dump a few of the Monkey's vitamins in my hand. Normally, he'll choose the color that has more than one so he can give Hubby the same color that he's having (Hubby turns 34 next week, don't ask me why he takes a children's multivitamin).

Hotch Potchery said...

That is a very nice process. I barely can remember to take my vitamin everyday, and the only way I do is to leave the bottle in the middle of the counter.

Alice said...

some of us (ahem) are SO first bornish that they now WISH they had multiple prescriptions to manage, because the weekly pill-dispensers seem so NEAT.

Kim said...

My mom used to have to hide our Flintstone vitmains from us; we loved them way too much.
Now that I'm supposed to be taking a prenatal every day though, I couldn't for the life of me remember to take it. I solved the problem by finding a buy one/get one free deal at CVS and keeping one bottle at work and one at home, thereby ensuring I'll eventually see a bottle somewhere and go, "Duh - take a damn vitamin." I worry about me sometimes.

shoeaddict said...

I take a few prescriptions meds plus two vitamins a day and would be LOST without my medicine giver thingy. I refill it every Sunday/Monday night and call in my scripts as needed.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Man, you're good.

I think I'm supposed to be taking three of my iron pills every day.

I think I remember to take at least two.

Yipes.

(And I am a first-born, but alas, not mathy!).

Also: Whenever we took the kids multivitamins we'd get sick! And my youngest brother can't handle them because they make him hyper, I think it's the dye. Do you ever find that any of the vitamins change your kids behaviours? Yellow and red dye are typically the worst for setting off ADHD behaviours; but maybe you're kids are naturally pretty subdued and thus aren't affected by dyes!

Swistle said...

Steph- I haven't specifically noticed anything, but on the other hand they take them every day, so I'd have just chalked it up to their personalities!

Michelle said...

So it really is true that old age is just reverting to childhood! And we have the same dilemma of choosing the color, although I will say that the wee ones are getting pretty good about choosing their colors within twenty seconds or so....

Stimey said...

We regularly have to tell our kids to "pretend that the purple one is orange." Because we run out of those first.

Rini said...

I usually dump a tiny pile and then let the kids choose a color FROM THE PILE.

So if they eat up all the oranges, then maybe next time I'll only get purples in my hand and tough.

Ahh, the illusion of choice - I love it!