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.