On an errand run with Little Girl the other day, I drove past the bottle shop I used to go to the most.
There’s a bit of background here: where I live, alcohol cannot be sold except in dedicated licensed premises. So that means you can’t pick up alcohol in a supermarket or a convenience store, only in a dedicated liquor store (known as a bottle shop) which is either a free standing business or attached to a pub. These stores might offer a few basic snack foods, but that is all; there is really no reason at all that anyone would be in them except if they’re buying alcohol. Therefore, it is horribly uncomfortable to go to them with one’s small children in tow, at least very often. This particular store had a drive-through feature; unlike fast food chains, this doesn’t quite mean that you shout your order into a crackling box, but it does mean that you can pull off the road and someone will come and ask you what you’re after. That’s why I used to go there; it saved the hassle of getting the girls out of their car seats and into a store filled with breakable glass bottles. But it also meant that I only ever bought one bottle, or one box, of wine at a time, because it was bad enough that I was a regular visitor with two small children in the back.
I also relied, somewhat, on the girls not thinking to relay these visits to their father, because after all it was just a quick stop on the way to something more fun and therefore not worthy of conversation; these tended to be top-up visits, for the replacement wine that LH didn’t know about, rather than the official ‘you look after the girls, I’ll go and get us a nice bottle of something’ visits.
That was rather a long bit of background.
Anyway, there I was with Little Girl, who I may have mentioned has recently, now that she’s two and a half, blossomed into an extremely articulate young lady, which is a polite way of saying that she never ever shuts up, driving past this store on the way to something far more fun and exciting.
‘Me an Daddy went that shop!”
“Yeah. I not get out of car, I sit in car. The man bringed bottles to the car. For Daddy”
“Daddy gived him money. The man gived him bottles”
“Ok. Hey, when we get to the cafe, do you want a babycino?”
“Yeah. The bottles not for toddlers. Toddlers drink juice. An babytino. Grown ups drink bottles. An coffee. Coffee and bottles for grown ups, juice for toddlers. Big girls juice too. Not coffee for big girls. Daddy like drinking bottles. Gived the man money”.
And all I could think was – wow, glad I stopped drinking before this particular cognitive advance happens, because hooo boy. For clarity, LH buys and drinks probably 2 bottles of wine a week; it is unusual that he had her with him at all, it was possibly the first time. So what would this conversation have looked like the other way?
“Daddy? Me an Mummy go this shop. We go to shop lots of times. We buy bottles. An box. Big heavy box. Mummy gived the man money. Not card money paper money. Say ‘Not tell Daddy’. We goed home and I watch Pe’a Pig. Mummy put heavy box in fridge. I not help. She take out box too, from fridge, not heavy box, and she say ‘stay here’ and she goed to the bin with the box. Then we sit togever on couch and watch Pe’a Pig togever. I drink juice and Mummy drink wine. Wine not for toddlers. Juice for toddlers. Mummy drink wine. Mummy drink wine all the time”.
Mummy not drink wine ever ‘gain.