I drink alcohol. I’m not an alcoholic (I looked it up — I drink less than the surprisingly low amount in the “Are You An Alcoholic” pamphlet) but my favorite time of day is booze o’clock. Here at Casa Figueroa-Levin alcohol is called “Mommy Juice” and Adi knows that she can’t drink it.
You know what’s awkward? Being at a nice dinner with respectable people and having your toddler yell, “Look! It’s mommy juice!” when a bottle of wine appears at the table.
I drink in front of Adi. In moderation. I always have a “designated child caregiver,” of course, when I plan on getting drunk. I want to unwind and have a good time, not give my daughter material for when she writes her memoir and blames me for everything. It’s usually my husband — but when I’m at a big family event I know there’s always some cousin who’s sober enough to get someone to the emergency room if the need arises.
I’ve never gotten plastered in front of my daughter (come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I got completely wasted) but she has seen me drunk. Silly drunk. A couple of drinks at brunch drunk. A few mojitos at my parents drunk. Some wine after a particularly long day when my husband came home late and the cat puked on the bed again drunk.
I go to a local bar trivia night every Wednesday and sometimes I bring Adi with me. Ties are broken with a beer chug-off. You chug and then you put the glass upside down on your head to prove you drank it all. Adi may or may not yell “Hooray beer” and then put her sippy cup on her head.
You know what else is awkward? Having your toddler yell, “Hooray beer” at “Mommy and me” art class.
I might be giving her material for her memoir after all.
Certain things are off limits for Adi in our house. Electrical outlets, power tools, knives… Adi knows that she can’t touch them. The boundaries are easy to set. “This is a specific thing and “you can’t touch it” is a pretty easy concept to teach. For now, Adi accepts that she can’t drink Mommy Juice — but at some point she’s going to question the rule. At some point, Adi will know what Mommy Juice is and want to drink alcohol too. I come from a family of drinkers so I imagine that Adi’s first drink will come from one of us way before she’s 21. Mine certainly did.
I feel like the best example I can set for Adi is by drinking in moderation and not acting like a fool. I’m sure she’ll try alcohol as a teenager. All teenagers try alcohol. I need to teach her how to do it responsibly.
Or I can pour a ton of salt into a beer when she’s not looking and have her try that so she thinks it tastes disgusting. Responsibility is probably better though.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.