Saturday, May 1, 2010

my kid the booze-hound

I have a confession to make.  My three year old son has been slightly, um, well, drunk (actually, I think he might still have been two!). 

It was an accident, I swear.   My partner and I don't drink very often.  But every now and again, we'll grab a bottle of wine or some beer.  And more often than not, the leftovers sit in our fridge til I find a way to use the by-then skunky booze in some cooking. 

At any rate, after a particularly trying day of stay-at-home parenting, I was ready to lose it.  And at 5 o'clock, I still had an hour until my beloved arrived home to help child-wrangle.  So, I decided on a whim to pour myself a glass of wine (it only smelled a wee bit skunky, and I was desparate!).  I'm not going to lie here.  It was a generous glass of wine.  And then I put it on the coffee table beside where my wee hellions were playing, left the room exactly long enough to update my facebook status, and returned to find my glass of wine sitting on the coffee table.  Right where I'd left it.  Empty.  And with what can only be described as a shit-eating grin on the face of my three year old, there was no mistaking how it got that way.   Yes indeedy- he drank THE WHOLE THING! 

And so it came to pass that Boy-o spent the evening a bit knackered.  If you've ever wondered what drunkeness looks like in a toddler, he was really just a much more animated version of his regularly-active toddler self, that is until he collapsed, about an hour before his regular bedtime.  (Truth be told, L. and I might have joked that bedtime had never been easier...)   Yup - I got my kid drunk. 

I have another confession to make.  Though I probably should be guilt-stricken, mostly I just find my child's drunkeness funny.  But not everyone shares my sense of humour.  For instance, I made the mistake of sharing this story with our family doctor, with whom I have a semi-chatty relationship.  She was acutely horrified, and asked if we had a family history of alcoholism.  (We do not, in case you were wondering too.)     
Boy-o has always been interested in alcohol.  His very first temper tantrum was because he wanted a sip of my wine at dinner.  At the time I resisted - he was still in his high chair and it seemed a bit, well, derelict.   His interest persevered, and once at a wedding, he totally embarrassed me by running around after me and my glass of wine, shouting at the top of his lungs that he wanted a sip of "Mama juice," and making me look like a complete and total lush.   Another time, my partner had to pick up a bottle of wine for a BBQ, and took our son with her.  Upon walking into the liquor store, he had all the clerks rolling on the floor in laughter as he announced with what can only be described as sheer reverence: "WOW!  IT'S SOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!"  And then there was the time we were out for dinner and he was asked by a server what he would like to drink with dinner. To which he, naturally, requested "beer please!"    

Though my partner and I both find these occurences hilarious, we are well aware that others would use this information as confirmation of our terrible parenting.  However, I have yet to meet a child that isn't at least a little bit fascinated with alcohol.  And our philosophy (for the time-being at any rate) is that it's important for kids to see healthy, and generally responsible, alcohol use.   We'd prefer our kids hit their teenage years thinking "what's the big deal?"  rather than itching to get out, be a bad-ass and get, like, totally wasted.  And we also realized that making a big deal out alcohol made him even more interested.  So he gets sip of wine or beer here and there, as will his sister if she turns out to be similarly inclined.  Because we figure that a sip of wine or beer once or twice a month isn't going to kill them.  (At least not if I learn to keep my mouth shut about it to the kinds of people who can keep files on me and my lousy parenting.) 

So I'm curious about other folks do about their kids and booze.  Surely we can't be raising the only three year old booze-hound in town? 

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