Daddy, why do you drink wine?
Well, darling, I like how it tastes and it is a nice thing for adults to drink with their dinner.
Well, wine is made in a special way so that it has all sorts of flavours. Some of them are really good to have with this meat, some of them are better with your pasta, but almost every bottle tastes different. I like to taste lots of different ones to see what they are like and which ones are most interesting.
Good question! We can drink all sorts of drinks, like milk, water, lime & soda, beer or even fruit juices, and wine is like them. But wine is different because it changes depending on how it is made, where it comes from, and who makes it. It means that I can learn a lot about different places in the world and about different ways of making wine that I never knew before. It is like you being at pre-school, every day I learn something new and exciting.
I like things that are new and exciting! Can I have some wine?
No, sorry darling. Wine is for adults.
(wait for it ....)
Well, because it has something in it that is not good for little girls and boys, but adults can have a little of, just like we discussed about salt. It's called alcohol and it can make you feel unwell if you have too much. My body is bigger and more used to it, so I can have a little.
You can have a smell if you want?
What do you smell?
Mmmm! Nice! ... Fruit?
That right, dear! Wines smell of fruit and other thngs, and they are even made from fruit. Wine is actually made from grapes.
Well, grapes can be used to make wines that taste nice to adults, or they can be eaten by everyone just like you are having. But this wine didn't smell of grapes did it? It had smells of strawberries and cherries, didn't it?
Well, when you make wines, it changes their smell and the way they taste. You can even put it in wooden barrels to make it older and taste better, a bit like when we made that bread and we had to wait before we could eat it. It rested.
There are so many wines around the world that different wine makers find new ways to make their wines taste different and better, a bit like recipes. So they try new things and then we can see whether we like it or not.
One day, shall we go and see someone making wine?
Yes! And can I eat grapes?
Well, we'll see! We can ask.
Daddy, one day, when I'm older, maybe when I'm a adult, I'm going to drink wine just like you and Mummy.
That's great dear! But not too much, OK?
No! I don't want to be like Silly Sammy Slick*
Excellent! Now, eat your grapes up!
This is all a fantasy, of course, but I know my daughter, and this is exactly how the conversation would go.
There are those who would hide their drinking from their kids, fearing they might somehow accidentally turn their little darlings into binge drinking pre-teens, but I'm of the totally opposite point of view. It does much more harm to hide your drinking than sharing your reasons for it. If you are not capable of moderate, responsible drinking, then of course you need to deal with that so your kids do not learn bad habits, but if you can, then share the enjoyment.
Wine, and other recreational drugs, may be an emotive subject for adults, but for kids it is just another part of life that they need to learn about. Not educating them is unfair on them, and stores up trouble for them, and for society, once they are more independent.
I fully expect to have difficult conversations with my daughter about alcohol in future, but it will not be because she has not had a chance to learn about it from me.
I wonder how this conversation would sound like when she is 10, or 15? If I'm still blogging, I'll let you know.
(check out another recent dad's take on this at 1WineDude)
* you need to be up on your Dr. Seuss for that line, but Silly Sammy Slick Sipped Six Sodas and was Sick, Sick, Sick!