Saturday, May 30, 2009


So, the other day when I picked Big Kid up from school and buckled him into the car, he said," I learned all about DRUGS today."

He said this in a serious tone, with a pause before and after the word "drugs", and I thought sensed some accusation or judgment in his tone, although I couldn't imagine why.

"Really? What did you learn about drugs?"

"I learned about all kinds of ones you drink." He paused and looked at me seriously.

(Where the hell is this conversation going? my tired mind wondered) "Drugs you drink?"

"Like beer dat gramps drinks, or WINE dat you drink," he said slowly, definitely in a "caught you" kind of tone.

As I started the car, I felt a little angry. I know I joke about it a lot, but I am not a drinker. At all. I probably drink 6-8 times a year, I get drunk once every couple of years, usually at weddings, never with my kids around. I'm a 2 glasses of Pinot on a Saturday night with dinner or an Amstel Light or two on the beach every few months kind of girl.

And now my 5 year old thinks I do drugs because someone showed him a wine glass and a Budweiser can and told him that was bad. I know it had to be a picture of a can of Budweiser too, because Mr. Ashley enjoys a Heineken or two on most evenings, and here he was getting off free and clear because Big Kid recognized the can that he's seen his grandfather with.

"Gramps doesn't drink beer anymore. When he found out he was sick, he made the right choice and decided to only eat and drink healthy foods, and he hasn't had a beer since. I hardly ever drink wine, Big Kid. Those kind of drinks are alchohol, and although it would be bad to drink too much of that kind of drink, it is not against the law and adults are free to make that decision for themselves."

"My teatser said it was drugs."

"Then she was wrong, or you misunderstood her." I snapped, in an I'm-done-discussing-it kind of way.

Then we saw my dad on Memorial Day, and my dad told me that he had asked Big Kid if he knew he was sick. Big Kid replied with, "Yep, I know, and I know you laid off da beer, too." My dad was laughing about it, but I was sure to explain the back story so that he didn't think we were making a big deal out of his beer drinking (or not drinking) to our five year old.

Several days later, Big Kid pops up with, "You know, you don't have to die when you're 60. Some people die when dey are 87 or 93 or even 100."

Wondering what the hell he was talking about, and wondering if he knew more than I thought about my dad, I asked what he meant.

"If you do drugs or drinks you will die when you're 60. If you don't, you will live to be 94 or 98 or somefing."

"Uh, well, it doesn't work exactly like that. Drinking too much or doing drugs is not healthy for your body, that part is true."

Now I'm very irritated again. I'm not sure if Kindergarten is the appropriate forum for drug and alcohol abuse. Somehow the message has been passed on to my Kindergartner that if he sees me with a glass of wine, I'm doing drugs and am going to die at 60 vs 98. Also, we all know that Big Kid told (at least) his entire class that his grandpa and I drink drugs all the time.

Then, the day before yesterday, I had the boys making cards for me to take to my dad in the hospital. Big Kid wrote "Feel better Gramps" on the front and drew a parrot that he glued a googly eye and a feather too. I asked Big Kid what he would write on the inside.

"Hmmm, I'm finking...'you shouldn't have drank all dat beer." he said matter-of-factly.

I'll admit beforehand that my immediate reaction was a bad one. It was the day of the surgery, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, the alcohol lectures had annoyed me a few times already in the last week, and I was realizing that Big Kid believed that my dad had cancer because he drank beer, thanks to school.

"Listen to me, one does not have to do with the other. Gramps is not sick because he drank beer. Drinking beer was an unhealthy choice--but one that he had the right to make as an adult. Don't mention him drinking beer, or me drinking wine, or anyone drinking anything ever. Write something nice on the inside of the card, and don't bring this up again."

His eyes were wide and he mumbled that he'd just write that he loved him, and got right to it.

Then I felt bad, and after several minutes had passed and I thought of it objectively, I realized that a "Feel Better--you shouldn't have drank all that beer" card from Big Kid would be way, way funnier than your run of the mill "Feel better--I love you" card.

My dad loves to tease and Big Kid is always trying to get him back. Plus, my dad loves a story he can retell 9 zillion times and that could've been a good one. He would have thought it was funny and Big Kid's practical, safety-patrol, hand-washer extraordinaire persona cracks him up.

I told Big Kid that I was sorry I snapped at him, and asked if he wanted to make a second card as a joke and he declined immediately, saying he was pretty sure the joke wasn't funny and forbidding me to tell Gramps he mentioned the beer.

Now every time my dad tells me how the medical staff admire his cards, I think of how much funnier it would have been if I had let Big Kid do it his way.


Ashley said...

It would have been great if he had made the card.

I'm going thru this too with my Monster. They had drug free week at school and I've been in trouble with him since then. I can't smoke a cigarette (I shouldn't anyways) or sip a glass of wine without getting the third degree. I think they left the legal part of the drugs out when they taught them all about it.

jennyandcompany said...

wow, kindergarten is definitely NOT the place to talk to kids about drugs and alcohol. I don't care much for the DARE program, they tend to fill kids heads will way too much stuff that they aren't ready for. I think they only do it in 5th grade here though.

I would be pretty annoyed about the whole thing to. Yet another reason to be glad he's going to another school next year!

Kira said...

White wine looks like apple juice, red wine looks like grape juice, and kids are dumb. Drink it out of a juice glass and see if he even notices. ;)

Christine said...

I would have reacted the exact same way about the card.

Try not to beat yourself up about it. I don't see the harm in telling your dad about it (but I don't know him either, so it's just my two cents.)

Lots of good thoughts from Indianapolis your way as you try to deal with all you've been dealt.

The Mermaid Cottage said...

Why would kids in kindergarten ever need to be aware of drugs and or alcohol????? Whatever happened to singing songs, learning your abc's, learning to count, printing your name, etc.???? Schools seem to push these kids to grow up so fast and I don't understand why their innocence has to be taken away at 5 or 6 years old.

I must say though that "Feel shouldn't have drank all that beer" is too damn funny! My dad would have laughed his ass off too!

Anonymous said...

LOL at Kira's comment!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a very bad neighborhood, and remember when a friend's 6 year old cousin was caught with bags of drugs that he had been given to hold by a local dealer. A few years later, my parents moved us to an affluent, 99% white town and I drank alcohol and got high with my friends for the first time at the ripe old age of 12. So I don't think teaching kindergartners about drugs and alcohol is all that ridiculous. It sounds like WHAT they are teaching might be the bigger problem.

Ned said...

When my son was in kindergarten we got a phone call that he had told the class My Mom does drugs, my Dad, my grandma, my cousin etc. They do teach them that any alcohol, beer is a drug. It took forever for him to understand that it was a choice and one or two drinks was not against the law or made you an alcoholic...finally I made him watch COPS the episode showed people behaving like idiots. I said do you ever see mommy act like that? Those are crazy people doing drugs! Ashley just wait until 4th grade and they have family life class!

Jennifer said...

Try not to beat yourself up. You were completely over stressed and I would have done the exact same thing. It is so hard when the kids go on and on and on about the same thing. At least you didn't yell at him because he wouldn't stop crying and let you put his eyeliner on for the dance recital. Now that is something really stupid to be upset about.

Eryn said...

When I was either 4 or 5, I burst into tears in the back of the station wagon while my Dad was driving and drinking a Mountain Dew. When he asked what was wrong, I tearfully exclaimed, "Daddy, on TV I saw that if you drink and drive, you're gonna get killed!"

The most powerful education that I received about drugs was not because of the DARE program. Some other student's mom worked at the hospital and had access to research organs. She brought in a lung of someone who had never smoked a cigarette to compare to a lung of someone who smoked pack a day until death. Just being able to hold the two organs literally scared me from ever wanting to try a cigarette.

Joy said...

You really need to explain to him about moderation. Yes, alcohol can be a drug if abused, but in moderation it can be a nice way for an adult to relax and enjoy their evening. Drinking to the point of intoxication is abuse. Same way that cough/cold medicine are drugs - taken properly, they can be very beneficial, but if taken improperly they can have harmful effects. etc.
We went through the same thing with my son, although I think he was older. He still teases his dad for drinking beer - it's a really difficult concept for them to get their heads around.

Former Fat Chick said...

My ids said the same crap. Everytime I would pull a beer out of the fridge they would ask why I did drugs! I got pissed! I expalined to them that alcohol is VERY BAD for kids and for Adults if the drink TONS, but there is nothing wrong with their Mom having a beer on a hot ass Saturday!

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was a kid - probably about your son's age - I was sitting in the car next to my dad's suit, which was covered in plastic from the dry cleaners. Something possessed me to put the bag over my head for a few seconds. When I took it off, I saw the "caution" label on it. I don't know what the label actually said, but the way I read it was "If you put this over your head, you will die". I sat there for a long time wondering when I was going to die, but too afraid to tell my dad what I did so he could take me to the ER before it was too late.

Kids just can't be expected to understand nuances very well. I think drug education for kindergartners is stupid. At that age maybe they should just teach kids not to ingest or inhale shit they find lying around or that some big kid tells them to take. When they do teach kids about drugs, they should include specific words like "illegal drugs" or "street drugs" or "prescription medication". Alcohol IS a drug. So is caffeine. So is Benadryl and sunscreen. Anything that is absorbed by the body that causes an alteration in function is a drug. The vast majority of drugs are legal because they are harmless or beneficial when used at the right time in moderation. Some drugs, like alcohol and tobacco, are illegal until you become an adult and can be trusted with things like driving a school bus, voting, and carrying a gun. A few drugs are totally illegal and you have to buy them from creepy people on the street to get them.

I think the card would have been a hoot, but you also have to teach BK when it's not appropriate to correct someone. When they're on their back in the hospital is one of those times.

I love your blog. Your kids are too funny.

p jane said...

Yep...while the basic info is sadly necessary at a young age, the approach isn't always right, esp for kids who take such things so seriously. It sure grates to be preached at by kids, eh? ("Oh, 'dumbass' is NOT a nice word, mommy")

It helped my middle son relate when we explained that the Tylenol, cough syrup and antibiotics his Dr. recommended were drugs, too, and that more than the correct dosage of even "good" medicine can be bad. Alcohol doesn't have to be bad, but a person has to be responsible for his or her choices. (Also? The caffeine in Coke, his FAV treat, is a he laid off me after that ;) )

Smarterthanyourstupidass. said...

you guys are all dumb. Alcohol, regardless of how much you drink, is a freaking drug. it's just legal. A drug changes your chemistry.. alcohol gets you drunk by changing your.. chemistry.. so it's a drug. jesus, no wonder your kids are stupid.

Unknown said...

Yeah smartass, so is caffeine but the teacher sure wasn't holding up her coffee cup and insisting that it was filled with drugs and could kill you by the time you're 60.

We can all only hope that we'll be lucky enough to raise the kind of adults that broadcast their lack of reading comprehension and inability to capitalize by insulting 5 year olds in the comment sections of blogs at 7:50 in the morning. Freak.

Anonymous, the dry cleaning bag story had me LOL'ing. That is so funny that you remember that. And you're right about my reasons for being against the card initially. I can't have Big Kid passing judgment on all Cancer patients from here on out (and he would).

Life, Love And Lola said...

This post takes the cake Ashley! As someone who drinks drugs... I was seriously laughing my ass off!!

BK's idea for the card...PRICELESS!

And to the FUCKTARD up there ^^^^

Go away...You suck! You don't have a chance in hell of joining us on The Closet Cruise.

Ceci Virtue said...

Wow! Kindergarten is a bit young for teaching kids about drugs. I mean... there are a lot of things they don't understand and the nuances that need to be explained. It just seems like you might as well try to explain the Pythagorean theorem!

I remember that we had the DARE program in our school for 5th and 6th graders. I think 11-12 year olds can be explained the differences and understand them a lot better than to a 5 year old. Seriously! Also, as someone pointed out, why didn't they point out the differences in drugs and the what's what with good drugs, not overusing drugs and how these differ from Heroin, Meth, etc. ? That seems like asking for a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary fright.