It's become a weekly tradition at our house that my Dad comes over on Tuesdays to drop off dinner from Whole Foods for Dan and me.
IT.IS.AWESOME! I know I don't even have to explain to you how nice it is not to have to worry about what to cook for dinner at least one night a week!
For years now, when my Dad comes over, he takes each boy for a "tour of the kitchen" and allows them to open cabinets that are normally out of each of their grubby little paws.
As they open each cabinet, my Dad and the boys shout out what is in each cabinet. This is one of Tanner's most favorite things to do with Grandad (besides crawl through the "secret space" in my Dad's Saab).
The other day when my Dad stopped by, this is what I heard from my innocent son as each cabinet was being opened:
"Cups!" ... "Glasses!" ... "Coffee!" ... "Plates!" ... "Booze!"
Many eyebrows just got raised across the country.
Here's my thing: Everything in moderation, including alcohol.
Many parents get that one or two cookies after eating a good diner is okay, but eating an entire package of Ho-Ho while watching television is not. I don't understand why that same philosophy cannot be applied to alcohol.
Why can't we do what many European parents do and teach our kids to understand that a glass of wine is a special treat to be enjoyed in moderation, not an excuse to binge and get drunk.
In my humble opinion, Dan and I are making the choice to expose the boys to the responsibilities and the pleasures of drinking in hopes that we can lead by example.
It's basic psychology that when you make something "forbidden", it becomes more craved, more desired, more important. We don't want alcohol to become the forbidden fruit for the boys.
Moreover, we don't accept the "black and white" philosophy on drinking that too many parents embrace. Some parents draw a line in the sand ... on one side is overly restrictive notion that drinking is wrong/bad/evil and alcohol must be banished completely; on the other side is the way too liberal viewpoint of allowing alcohol parties in their homes since "They are going to do it anyway, so they might as well do it with me".
We want to walk right down the middle of that line in the sand -- yes it is a fine line to walk, but we feel it is our responsibility to walk it.
It works if you do it correctly. My parents did it with me. I can remember as a child being able to taste my Dad's champagne on New Year's Eve or have a sip of my Mom's sherry. They showed me that a glass of wine with a meal was elegant and special.
It taught me what a special treat alcohol was.
It also taught me that alcohol wasn't a big deal.
So while many of my friends in high school got trashed at after-Prom parties, I was the Designated Driver. Why? Because I didn't feel the need to taste the forbidden fruit. I'd had sips of beer before with my Dad ... so what was the big deal?
And WOW, did the lessons my parents taught me about alcohol come in handy in college! Freshman year was a free-for-all with kegs parties, Hairy Buffalo porch parties, and pre-bar "Fire-Up" parities available every night of the week. Pretty tempting for 17-18 year olds! My roommates and dorm mates would drink to excess almost every time. To be honest, I had a drink or two ... but then I was done. Again, it just wasn't a big deal because I had been around responsible alcohol drinking all my life.
So, my light and humorous post about Tanner has turned into a Public Service Announcement on alcohol and parenting.
I don't think I'll get called to do an "ABC After School Special" anytime soon.