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Minimally Buzzed Parenting

“I feel sorry for people that don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that’s the best they’re going to feel all day.” I love this quote by the late great Frank Sinatra, but it’s a mantra that most adults can’t swing, especially parents of young children. Yet, it’s perfectly normal for parents to unwind with a drink or two — some would say, essential. It’s been months since my last hangover, but I’ve still been feeling rundown in the morning. Our 10-month-old girls usually wake up bright and chipper at 6:00am; now that they’re crawling, I really have to be at the top of my game. As much as I crave a hoppy IPA at the end of a long day, I decided to take a break from drinking — with limited exceptions for holidays and celebrations. In the mean time, Penny has taken on the role of resident teetotaler.

“Daddy, WTF?”

“What’s wrong, sweetie?”

“What are you drinking!?”

“It’s called a Negroni — equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.”

“An alcoholic beverage?!”

“Oh, you betcha!”

“Is today a holiday?”

“No.”

“Is it your wedding anniversary?”

“No.”

“Is your memoir finally getting published?”

“I wish.”

“So, you’re just off the wagon?”

“No, sweetie — I just made another exception.

“What? Consciousness?”

“Ha! Good one, sweetie. To be honest, I broke down after I discovered your sister rolling in cat shit.”

“So, you’re using alcohol to deal with stress?”

“I suppose that’s one way to look at it.”

“Isn’t that the definition of alcohol abuse?”

“I dunno know — your mom’s the shrink.”

“Wasn’t your dad an alcoholic?”

“Yea, but he was a disaster. He couldn’t even hold a job.”

“Have you ever injured yourself while drinking?”

“Is this an intervention?”

“Depends…”

“Fine! I’ll play along — I’ve stumbled and scraped myself a time or two.”

“Stumbled? I hear you flipped over a second story balcony — nearly landed on your head!”

“Who have you been talking to?”

“Not talking — listening — you should try it some time, daddy.”

“It was a long time ago, sweetie. I was shy and thought drinking would help — and I clearly didn’t know my limits.”

“Daddy, if that were me — it would’ve been my last drink.”

“It was definitely a wake up call, sweetie.” 

“But now you’re using alcohol to cope with stress.”

“Sure, but just a drink or two.”

“It’s a slippery slope, daddy-o.”

“Don’t worry, sweetie. I’m in control.”

“That’s what they all say, daddy — before you know it you’ll need a drink just to get up in the morning.”

“Sweetie, that’s preposterous! I don’t even like day drinking.”

“So, why not exercise?

“I exercise plenty! Sometimes drinking is more expedient.”

“You know what I think, daddy?”

“What?!”

“You’re incapable of abstinence! You’re weak!”

“Oh contraire, sweetie. I say abstinence is weakness. Moderation is empowering.”

“Non-sense! You’re scared!”

“Of?”

“Becoming your daddy.”

“Pfft! I’m nothing like my dad!”

“I know! But you’re so scared of following in his footsteps, you purposely do the opposite of everything he ever did — you won’t even quit drinking because he quit drinking.”

“Bullshit! He quit when he was 33. I’m 39! If it was gonna be a problem, it would’ve already happened.”

“What about your beer belly?”

“What about it?”

“Have you noticed?”

“I’m well aware of my expanding gut, sweetie. It’s just not a priority at the moment.”

“It should be! Belly fat and heart disease pretty much go hand in hand.”

“I’m working on it, sweetie. Why do you think I gave up ice-cream?”

“So you could continue drinking?”

“Actually, yes. But it’s not realistic to shed all your vices at once.”

“I totally understand, daddy — baby-steps.”

“Ha! Very clever, sweetie. Look, if you really want me to quit…”

“I want you to do it for yourself daddy — that’s the only way it will stick.”

“Well, you and Clemmy are my priority, sweetie.”

“And we love you, daddy — we just want you around as long as possible.”

“You know, it’d help if you occasionally slept-in. Sober or not — it’s a struggle to wake up at 6:00am.”

“I’m sorry, daddy. I’m in tune with the sun — it’s the only drug I need.”

“Let’s make a deal. I’ll quit drinking the day you start walking.”

“Any day now, daddy.”

“No rush, sweetie. Sure, walking may look more glamorous than crawling, but the higher you are, the harder you fall.

“Is that a threat? What are you gonna do? Spike my formula?”

“Sweetie, I’d never! How could you even think that?!”

“Oh, I’m not worried, daddy. I’ve built up quite a tolerance from mommy’s breastmilk.”

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