Little old wine drinker me


Gem was away this weekend, catching up with old friends, leaving me in sole charge of the little’uns. On the basis of my first full day alone with them, I must admit to being a little nervous. 

But I’m pleased to report that aside from a slight dent to my pride (Mummy apparently cooks everything better than me… which is undeniably true, but I don’t need to hear it after every meal) the weekend has gone without a hitch. And, more importantly, without any A&E trips!

So I’m now kicking back and enjoying a well deserved beer. Although if looks could kill, I might not be here to enjoy it. You see, according to at least one Sainsbury’s shopper, I committed a cardinal sin.

I took the girls down the beer aisle! And bought beer!

Picture the scene… I’ve had a look at the ales, picked out a few I’ve not tried, and am just putting 3 bottles in the trolley when Daddy Lion – they toy Megan loves more than anything in the world – appears in front of me. A fellow shopper had very kindly picked him up from the floor. “Thanks very much” I said. I might as well not have bothered, because what I got back was a stony silence, and a look of disgust which I can only put down to my being near alcohol with two small children. A simple “You’re welcome” would have been sufficed!

This reminded of a conversation Gem was having at the nursery gates a few weeks ago, about drinking in front of the kids. The consensus amongst the other mums seemed to be that this was a big no-no, although effing and jeffing in front of the same kids is apparently perfectly acceptable, judging by what happens ever day at those gates. Gem stayed quiet, not feeling confident enough to admit to enjoying a beer or two, or a few glasses of wine while the kids are about.

Oh the horror! Just imagine… drinking… in front of the children. You just wouldn’t, would you?

Well, actually, yes, I would. In fact, only last week I got myself in a conversation with Heather about how beer is made. A conversation which kind of petered out when she asked what yeast was, and the best answer I cold come up with was “magic stuff”.

I just don’t see what the big deal is – I know we need to encourage a responsible attitude to alcohol in our kids, but surely pretending that booze doesn’t exist is NOT the way to achieve that? In fact, I’d argue that seeing us enjoying a drink or two, without falling over drunk, is exactly the way to do things – lead by example, and show them that drinking isn’t all about getting as drunk as you can. Isn’t that how it works in other parts of Europe? Y’know, the parts that we’re constantly hearing don’t have problems with binge drinking and teenagers destroying their livers on a regular basis.

There are, of course, drawbacks to this approach… like the time Heather saw her first Coca Cola Christmas ad and said “look, Daddy, Santa is drinking a beer!” Cue hasty explanation that other drinks come in small bottles…

So is it us that’s wrong? Should we be pretending to our girls that beer, wine, whisky etc don’t exist? Are we setting the girls up for a future life that involves getting wasted on the cheapest booze they can get their hands on? I’d love to know what you think – the comment box is at the bottom of the page.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, the Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference IPA isn’t a bad pint, although it’s no Brewdog. But then, what is?

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

14 thoughts on “Little old wine drinker me

  1. Richy..your daughter wants to come to my pub the second she is at Grandmas!!!…let you off its only ice cream she wants!

  2. I’m with you on this one Richy, although I’m not sure if this is a case of parallel evolution of thought, us putting the world to rights together after a couple of decent ales or just having a similarly sensible approach.
    We lie to our kids out of shame, more often than not, and I’ve nothing to be ashamed with my drinking. Perhaps those supermarket starers and nursery-gate hingers aren’t so much reluctant to drink in front of their kids as they are embarrased to get plastered in their presence.
    I hope that when the girls grow up and approach drink, they won’t regard it as a taboo to break with great show and ceremony and danger to their health but rather an enjoyable addition to the list of things that mark their long passage into adulthood.
    I’ve found myself cutting across twee euphemisms flung at my kids by well-meaning friends and relatives with snippy-sounding “it’s not mummy- and daddy-juice, it’s beer and wine,” and perhaps it’s not obvious to them at the time what gets me so annoyed but it’s exactly what you’ve stated above – let’s not lie to the kids about alcohol, it does exist and parent’s are best placed to educate them about it and lead by example.

    • I think it must be shared sensibility because I don’t recall us having a conversation along those lines, although it would be ironic if we had and the ale had made me forget.

      Mummy- and Daddy- juice is something that grates on me too. Heather too, I think, because I seem to recall HER correcting someone who sait it with a dismissive “Nooo…. that’s Daddy’s beer!”

  3. Well said. I completely agree. My wife was brought up like that and is a very sensible drinker.

    I must now go to work!

  4. Well said though. Sure, drinking in front of kids will make them want to drink. They, just like anyone, will want to try the things they’re told they’re not allowed. Difference is that if they see the alcohol as more of a normal thing, being drunk responsibly and sensibly, it will be treated accordingly by them. Kids will always want to copy adults, so make the forbidden stuff boring and normal. toddlers pretending to do hoovering seldom results in housework addicts.

    • Hear hear! I love the idea of raising a housework addict though… that has potential.

      Actually, Heather was quite insistent that I let her help with the washing up at the weekend. I let her dry a few things, but she very quickly lost interest… “you can do the rest Daddy, it’s all big things that are left!”

  5. Oh Richy, there are some irritating people in the world, aren’t there?!
    It’s all about being sensible and showing your kids that it’s ok to drink, as long as you do it responsibly. I totally agree with Tom. And it’s fine for kids to learn that some things are just for adults and not automatically for them, too.

  6. Well, exactly. All these pious sorts (who are no doubt older, with a raised family, ‘forgetting’ they did the same!) have nowt better to do with their time.
    We were raised in a household that didn’t hide drink – hiding something from a child only makes them want to discover it more. I should know, I spent the eve of every birthday tearing the house up looking for presents!

    Never once drank on the streets, was allowed a white wine and lemonade aged 12 with dinner, thought spirits were disgusting until I was mid-20s, always loved the smell of beer (the old boy makes a mean home brew, and as a kid, I LOVED the magic of helping him create it. Proabaly why I love craft beer!) and only late 20s developed a palate for a decent wine.

    And now aged 31, I think my liver is ok, and I have a good appreciation of a decent tipple.

    Now…on the issue of drinking to excess in the streets; if only they put buckie in a tetra pack so there was no weapon when the bottle was empty, and stopped making alcohol that tasted like juice so young folk DIDN’T get hooked and eased into it, then we would be on our way to success. Minimal pricing won’t work. Sensible measures and recognising alcohol is not like coca cola, will.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Your alcohol experiences are almost identical to mine!

      I think minimum pricing might make some difference, but it’s certainly not a magic bullet that’s going to solve all our problems overnight. I do like your tetrapak idea for Buckie – that sounds like a winner to me!

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