For roughly the last four months, I have been the primary caregiver for my two year old son.
Yes, I’m a stay at home dad.
The experience has taught me a lot of things. It’s been an absolutely amazing experience to share the summer with my son and each day brings new joy as I get to see the world through his eyes and blah blah blah.
Yes, yes, all that.
But it’s also taught me some really useful things too: namely, that beer is a really important part of parenting.
Seriously. I’ve learned to appreciate beer on a whole other level.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not drinking all day or parenting my son under the influence. I still (usually) wait until around 5pm to crack a beer–I’m not a savage–but when I do, it often tastes far, far better than any beer I ever knew as a childless, amateur beer drinker. Because now almost always, more so than ever before, when I DO crack that beer, god damn it, I have earned that beer.
Accordingly, I’ve also learned that there are some beers that are just far better suited to helping you unwind at the end of certain days than others are. That is, there are without question certain trying circumstances that demand a beer at the close of the day, but I’ve found there are actually certain circumstances that lend themselves better to being remedied by specific beers.
As a public service, here are the perfect beer pairings to deal with six common toddler behaviours.
|1. A trying bath time.
Bath times are usually fun, but can sometimes be an ordeal. You spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to convince your wiggling toddler that he or she needs to get in the bath, he or she ends up drenching you and flooding your bathroom, and then refuses to get out when bath time is over. Thankfully Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a beer that will make bath time feel like a success either way. It’s a bottle-conditioned, 7.6% ABV Farmhouse Saison with a squeaky clean malt profile, and spicy, bubbly aromatics aided by the addition of champagne yeast in the secondary fermentation. It’s got bright and complex flavours and will give you that dry finish you may not have achieved in the bathroom.
|2. Those visits to the bathroom where you’ve got an unwanted guest.
Going to the bathroom used to be something you did whenever you felt like it and got to enjoy some degree of privacy while you did. If you have a small child, you’re aware this is no longer the case. The bathroom is now a place to play and is, of course, all the more fun when mom or dad is sitting on the toilet!
Your toddler has decided to make this a social place, so why not enjoy a social beverage? To me, the setting seems apt for a cold can of Bud Light. It doesn’t have much taste, so you won’t be distracted from your business, and the small format means you can drink it quickly and you won’t be encouraged to dawdle. If you’re home alone with your child, Bud Light is an especially good choice: If he or she opts to leave the bathroom to sprint for a staircase or pick up a porcelain vase and you have to wrap things up quickly, you won’t feel bad dumping this beer in the toilet.
|3. A public temper tantrum.
If you’ve ever tried to get a toddler to move past a certain sugar-filled item in the grocery store or had to lift them away from the god-damned toy train table at the god-damned kids section of your local god-damned book store (WHY DO THEY HAVE THAT?!) then you already know the exquisite brand of frustration that comes from being watched by strangers as a squiggling, ear-piercingly-loud toddler bucks wildly in your arms as you hustle past them on the way to the car. Once you’ve got your toddler to mellow out, you’re going to need help doing the same. I recommend Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen from Kelowna BC’s Tree Brewing. The 5% beer delivers all the big, soothing, banana and coriander aromatics you’d expect from a good Hefeweizen, but the folks at Tree have added an enticing hit of pineapple that, if you close your eyes and sniff, might just transport you into a tropical vacation frame of mind–far, far away from any god-damned train tables.
|4. Your child simply won’t eat.
Somedays, my son decides he doesn’t want to eat anything green. Other days, he will only eat things that are white. Most days, he likes chicken, but sometimes, he decides chicken is disgusting. In order to deal with this sort of agonizing indecisiveness, I typically pour myself a Cobblestone Stout from Mill Street Brewery. This stout is rich, smooth, and creamy enough to tide you over until you can make your own dinner, but it’s just 4.2% alcohol, so you can drink a couple in your marathon session of trying to find new foods that might appease your fussy kid. Also, for a stout, it’s shockingly versatile and pairs well with most of the things my son leaves mangled on his highchair–which inevitably become my cold, sad dinner once he’s in bed.
|6. A bowel movement that tests the capacity of your child’s diaper.
Sometimes known as a “shitsplosion” or worse, the dreaded “poonami,” children are occasionally prone to poops that somehow decide to go up their back or down their legs as opposed to staying in their diaper. For these occasions, you’re going to need to follow up bum changing with something just as funky as the turd you dropped in the diaper genie. A beer like Bellwoods Brewery’s Farmageddon should do the trick. Brewed with Brettanomyces, Farmaggedon has plenty of barnyard character to match the farm animal dump you’ve just wiped off your hands. The fruity, vinous tartness of the beer will go along way to cutting any lingering poo stink and, given that it’s brewed using champagne yeast, the 7.2% ABV beer’s high effervescence ought to go a long way to cleansing your nostrils.
|7. That Whining Sound. Have you ever had a day when, for whatever reason, your child simply won’t stop whining? There’s no object he or she requires, it’s not hunger, you’re pretty sure it’s not teething–and yet still, there is this low volume, constant whine?
Well, there’s no beer for that. That’s a job for bourbon. Try two fingers of Blanton’s. I like mine with one big ice cube. Repeat as needed.
*Ben’s Beer Blog does not actually endorse using alcohol as means of coping with the stresses of parenting. Unless you want to.