Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chugging Vodka in a Minivan and other Old Drinking News

Give me a joint, my kids and a box of Legos and we are good for the afternoon” one mother reported to me once...unprompted. I could definitely see how the combination is close to perfection, yet it is not my sentiments exactly...but only because finding a good joint in the suburbs is like finding good bread. Plus it so much easier to just to open a bottle of wine and you don’t have to worry about being posted on the crime blotter in the local paper.
For some reason many people e-mailed me about how the woman who wrote “Naptime is the New Happy Hour” has decided to stop drinking...for good. I don’t take this need to inform me personally. The woman in question obviously had some deeper issues that she was combating with cocktails rather than prescription drugs or long term psychoanalysis like anyone else would who had suffered through a horrible childhood. Yet even before this bigger issue came to light-- the fact that this mom enjoyed an evening drink and talked about it seemed to strike a puritanical cord in many people. I am curious as to when this puritanical mind-set infected parenting...

I can’t remember my parents ever holding back on the wine when their friends came over on Saturday afternoons because kids were present. They would hang out on the brick patio and watch the kids run wild in the backyard as they ate and drank and, of course, smoked until the sun went down. Everyone was happy. The little monsters were happy and the parents were happy. Where did this new idea that alcohol is never appropriate around kids come from? The orange juice council? The Coca-Cola/Pepsi companies?

In the NYT article, A Heroine of Cocktail Moms Sobers Up by Jan Hoffman on August 14th, she suggested that perhaps one of the reasons the Cocktail Mom made a public announcement was because of the tragedy in New York where a mother had driven several miles the wrong way on a major highway and ended up killing herself, the kids in her minivan and people in another car. Just horrible.

Although it was a mystery to everyone, at first, why that should have happened...other than the fact that she had a minivan full of kids...probably screams and whining... The investigation ultimately revealed an open vodka bottle (the size that comes with its own built-in handle) and some weed. Any parent who has ever driven a bunch of children any where beyond a local destination will understand the temptation, if not to drink oneself, at least to add something to those sippy-cups to get those bratty children to doze off so one can listen to NPR in peace. But what leads one from merely thinking about possibilities, as I am sure we ALL have, to actually doing it, is a horse of a different color.

Drinking is one of the joys of adult life. By pointing out people who go to the extremes, who are reckless, who endanger kids and then condemn the whole practice of having a drink seems so Fox News..and really rather silly. Of course not quite as silly as the new Maine law I just heard about on Free Range Kids that bans children from witnessing wine tasting...check it out.

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