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Saturday, October 13th, 2012
I’ll go ahead and take away any element of suspense for anyone who might think I have given my toddler son wine or whiskey in his tipsy cup… I mean, sippy cup.
Because I haven’t nor do I plan on it.
It’s just that within recent history in the blogosphere, the topic has kept resurfacing. Just this week, a toddler in Wales was accidently served whiskey at a restaurant.
Last year there was a toddler in Orlando who was served a sangria (wine punch) at an Olive Garden.
But for me, those stories were not really that interesting because I could see how easily that might happen in the hectic work environment of a restaurant. Fortunately, we hardly ever take our toddler son out to restaurants anyway, so it’s not really something I’m worried about.
However, there was one particular “giving alcohol to a toddler” story that I did feel was groundbreaking and challenging to the status quo. I’m referring to Slate magazine’s Should You Let Your Kid Try Wine?
The author’s answer, at least it pertains to his own household, seems to be an unapologetic yes. He promotes the idea of breaking the negative stigma of drinking alcohol by exposing his children to it like it’s not a bad thing for responsible people.
Like many of us Americans who grew up in a small Southern town, drinking was not only considered a sin by the moral majority, but the sale of alcohol was actually illegal where I grew up. In other words, it was a “dry county.”
I was conditioned to believe that in order to truly be a good Christian, you had to abstain from alcohol completely; even though Jesus’s first miracle was turning the water into wine at a wedding.
But something about me that you have to know is, I’m incredibly quick and curious to question cultural norms.
Fast forward to me graduating college, moving to Nashville, and now actually believing that having a beer (or glass of wine) a day is a good and healthy thing to do.
And while I definitely have my pet sins I struggle with, as we all do, I am convinced that drinking alcohol is not one of them.
So do I think it’s wrong to give my toddler wine, whiskey, or any other kind of alcoholic drink?
Well, actually… I don’t know.
Because I couldn’t tell you for sure that the pain reliever I give my son has no alcohol in it. Actually, I’m assuming it does contain at least a small trace of alcohol.
All I really know is that when my son has a fever, I give him some FDA approved medicine.
Secretly, I wonder if it’s really just dressed-up alcohol to help him sleep through the night.
But even if it doesn’t contain alcohol, what is in it? Where do they get the ingredients from? Can I trust them? Should I trust them?
The fact that I don’t know actually troubles me more than worrying about my son being accidently served a Whiskey Sour in a restaurant, because I’m the kind of dad who would take the first sip of my kid’s drink just to make sure it hasn’t been poisoned, to begin with.
That is, if we actually took him to restaurants in the first place.
But we’re not that brave. The only way I could enjoy a meal out with my toddler is to sedate him with…
A fever-reducing medicine which may or may not contain alcohol.
Sunday, June 17th, 2012
Last week I noticed at the bottom of “Daddy’s Roughhousing: Good Physically and Psychologically” in the automated portion, You Might Like, was a link to a seemingly random article written by Jenna Bromberg for H&R Block.
It was actually an infographic called “The Anatomy Of A Dad” which contrasts the stereotypical dad of “back then” to today’s modern dad.
What I thought was most interesting was how Dear Old Pops’ favorite drink was a light beer in a can, while The New Dad’s drink of choice was a microbrewed beer; in a bottle, of course.
This is actually something I’ve observed for a while and have been wanting to write about, but feared it would come across as irrelevant to the subject of parenting.
But Jenna Bromberg has helped me legitimize this cultural concept about today’s dad:
Light beer in a can is as outdated as those lame commercials making Dad out to be a bumbling idiot.
So long, Al Bundy and Homer Simpson.
The beer of choice for today’s active and involved dad is most likely to be A) impossible to find in a can, B) heavy and filling, and C) made by a quirky-named company that has been established since I was born in 1981.
(Samuel Adams, America’s largest craft brewery, was only established in 1984.)
Microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, are identified as “small, independent, and traditional.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but at least for myself, I see a co-relation between microbrewed beer and the modern American dad:
I tend to see myself as an underdog (small), confident in my unique identity (independent), and quite nostalgic (traditional).
As a child of The Eighties, I was regularly told that I could do anything if I believed in myself, put my mind to it, and just said no to drugs. Now as an adult, I’m dealing with the repercussions of that over-inflated truth/false hope.
Sure, we’re all special. But that’s the problem; we’re all special.
So it totally makes sense that us Generation Y and latter Generation X dads don’t mind being perceived as different, open-minded, and maybe even a little bit weird; in a good way.
I just want to be a good dad.
And somehow, drinking light beer makes me think of the two TV shows I hate most: Two And A Half Men and 16 And Pregnant.
Even if I’m simply a fleshed-out part of a well-marketed demographic, I am that modern American dad who regularly compares notes of the most recent unheard-of brand of microbrewed beer that happened to be on sale at Kroger this week.
It’s a mindset against drunkenness and irresponsibility and the need to escape from our fatherly duties; as I feel light beer in a can is often associated with.
Instead, it’s an appreciation for the finer things in life. It’s like being a responsible beer connoisseur makes you part of this cool club of relevant dads.
Maybe after a lifetime of exposure to the opening credits of Cheers, I want to be like those sophisticated, mustachioed gentlemen who lived before my grandparents were even born.
I suddenly feel the need to grow an ironic mustache.
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
My wife Jill is one of those girls who keeps things very clean and organized. Now that I’ve been married to her for nearly 4 years, I have become a lot like her in that way.
Though for me, it’s more about keeping things feng shui.
And sure enough, without a doubt, our son has taken notice.
I suppose the theory on how my son reminds me of a baby bartender is that Jill would let him play with a moist diaper wipe while changing his diaper.
After having had observed her wiping off the counters every night after prepping dinner, Jack realized he could use his “toy” diaper wipe to help clean up around the house.
All it took was finding the perfect sized counter top for him to be able to wipe off: Our “coffee table,” which is actually intended to go outdoors on a patio but we found it on clearance and decided it can get the job done.
During his playtime, cleaning our coffee table has become one of his official activities that he enjoys doing. Last Saturday, I was sitting down in our living room watching him wipe it down when he casually, yet intently, came over to me and “washed” my back. Twice.
As he enjoyed his newest playtime activity, the theme song to Cheers started playing in my head. I couldn’t help but realize how much Jack’s demeanor resembled that of a token bartender on a classic TV show.
I especially feel that way when I look at the picture of him to the right. It looks like he has his sleeves rolled up, showing off his muscles.
As I allow the fantasy story line to unfold, I imagine another toddler walking up to Jack’s bar:
Jack says, “What’ll it be, a Baby Brewsky?”
His customer replies, “Nah, I’ll take a Milk & Scotch… hold the Scotch.”
But seriously, I’m digging the fact that my son actually likes cleaning; at such an early age, too.
Makes me wonder what else we can teach him to clean.
Hmm… he’s tall enough to reach the toilet seats…
Categories: Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: Bartender, beer, Cheers, feng shui, funny, milk, Scotch, toddler
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Alright guys, you don’t need my help here. You knew what it took to get her to fall for you in the first place. I’m assuming you’ve already begun brainstorming on how to make this Valentine’s Day special for the love of your life and the mother of your child.
So today I’m just here to offer up a few more decent ideas to throw into the mix, or remind you about, as V-Day approaches us. Here’s what I say about making Valentine’s Day special for her:
Keep it simple, thoughtful, and unique.
1. Buy a miniature cake from the grocery store for the two of you to share. They cost around 8 bucks and are essentially the equivalent of buying two of those trendy $4 cupcakes; which wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Chances are, she will be charmed by your “fun” and “cute” idea of throwing together Valentine’s dessert.
2. Pick up a special drink and serve it in champagne or wine glasses. Whether it’s your wifey’s favorite wine, cider, gourmet beer, or even just sparkling grape juice. The idea is to bring a touch of fanciness and class; yet so simply.
3. Personalize her Valentine’s Day card. I just did a more detailed article on this alone, but for now, what matters is that you write more than “I love you” on a 99 cent card. This is a great opportunity to reaffirm how you feel about her with words that will potentially stick around longer than the words spoken every other day. Seeing something written in black and white really has staying power.
4. Get her a sugary treat for later. It doesn’t have to be a box of chocolates. Maybe she prefers Twizzlers or Jelly Bellies. This aspect is like the stocking stuffer of Valentine’s Day. Plus, it’s just nice to have something leftover for the next day she can enjoy while she’s at work.
5. Oh yeah, the flowers. Honestly, I never spend a lot on these. The important thing is that you have them to display in a vase on the counter or table. Flowers are important because they last about two weeks longer than Valentine’s Day itself.
Notice how none of my ideas involve spending a lot of money or require too much effort.
Simple, thoughtful, and unique. That’s the man plan for Valentine’s Day.
Not to mention, by default, you’re teaching your son how to be romantic and/or your daughter what she should expect from a guy you would approve of someday.
Image: Man and woman as a happy couple together, via Shutterstock.
Categories: Home Life, Must Read, People, Storytelling | Tags: beer, February 14, love, marriage, romance, romantic, Valentine's Day, wine
Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
For the first 29 years of my life, before I became a dad, I just didn’t really “get it” when it came to babies. When someone would show me a picture of their baby, I would always compliment them, but subconsciously think, “All babies look alike.” To me, a baby was like a really expensive pet. I couldn’t yet relate to the pride a parent feels. But now I totally do.
It’s only natural to believe that your own child is the most beautiful baby ever born. Because I do. But I am also more partial to him than any other man in this world can be. Honestly though, I don’t care if he actually is the most beautiful boy on Earth. I don’t care if he ever wins a “cutest baby” contest or gets on the cover of a magazine based on his looks.
My son doesn’t necessarily look anything like me or even that much like my wife, but instead a baby version of my wife’s dad. So when I look at my son, it’s not like looking into a younger, innocent clone of myself or my wife and me combined. Admittedly, I never viewed my father-in-law as “beautiful.” Because after all, he was my father-in-law. (He passed away just a few months after my wife and I were married, back in 2008.)
So I think it’s interesting that the most beautiful boy in the world actually reminds me of a 67 year old, half-Norwegian, half-Irish man from Sacramento who loved to fish and drink good beer.
But the type of beautiful that I see my son as is not limited to just physical aesthetics or even that whole “beautiful on the inside, too” deal. It is a deeper, spiritual, eternal kind of beauty that I can’t describe in any other way. His beauty is not limited to his unexpected hair and eye color or skin tone. Nor is it confined to his innocent, playful personality.
So now when people show me pictures of their kids, the most appropriate response comes natural to me. It means something when I say, “That’s a good lookin’ kid you got there.” I understand now what I never could before as a babyless dude.
When it comes to parenting, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder: Beauty is in the shared heart between a parent and their child.
You’re welcome, Hallmark.
Photos courtesy of Moments in Time Photography in Fort Payne, Alabama:
Categories: Growing Up, Must Read, Nostalgia, People, Story Bucket, Storytelling | Tags: baby, baby blog, beauty, beer, fatherhood, parenting, Sacramento