The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Placebo Effect in Alcohol

She giggled a little. Softly. Like she was getting away with something wickedly secret.

"Well, how about it?" I offered. I set my wine glass down and reached for a clean one. "I'll pour you some. You seem old enough." She paused, tilted her head and giggled a little more, only this time with her fingers pressed over her lips, and the sounds starting to rumble from deep in her gut.

The wide eyes of two women sat across from me. One, LP-ette, a bond formed by a twenty-eight year friendship (with some marriage at the end). The other, LittleH, our 5 year old daughter. Both couldn't believe I was doing this, but for very different reasons. To the sound of more excited giggling and snickering I pushed my chair back and walked over to the wine bottle, preparing to pour another glass for LittleH. More giggles, with some snorts added in for effect. At five years old it was as if Santa had arrived again: Mom and Dad were inviting me to be adults with them and drink some wine at dinner!

"Are you sure?" I called over my shoulder.

With another resounding bout of giggling as my reply, I took it as an affirmative reply. With my back turned reached behind the wine bottle and picked up another batch of liquid to share - only instead of wine she was getting the next best thing for a 5 year old: cranberry juice I had at the back of the counter.

Returning to the table LP-ette glanced over at the 2 glasses, immediately knowing what was up, decided to play along. LP-ette looked at me rather disapprovingly and shook her head. "Whoooh Daddy. I can't believe you're doing this. Not that she isn't getting old enough, of course," she added with a smile to LittleH while she grabbed hold of the glass.

It was as if time froze with the aura of breathless anticipation in the air. Punctuated by yet another round of giggles she raised the glass up to her lips, hardly able to contain herself. She paused, the oversize glass trembling in her little hands. "Daaadddd," she drawled, "I can't drink this!" It was as though reason had finally grabbed hold of her, the wafting placebo scent of wine swirling below her nose.

"Why not?" we asked in unison, glancing around to see if there were others around; Riley jumped up, sensing something was amiss, and trotted over. With 3 faces looking at her she broke into full on laughter, point at her mom and I. "Because, you know. Wine makes you...makes you....OLD!" With that reply it was now our turn to break out into laughter.

It took a few tires but she finally suppressed the giggling enough to have a sip. As the liquid hit her lips her eyes grew like saucers. "Hey! This is good!" And just as quickly as she had clamored to join in with a glass of wine, she went from sips to draining the entire glass in about 3 gulps. Looking mighty satisfied she smacked her lips. " know what guys? That tasted like water and grapes!"

Epilogue: After she was finished we did tell her what was in the glass. She was a mixture of disappointed and relieved that she had not drunk any wine so "she wouldn't get any older like you guys!". What she did seem most impressed about was that she was able to drink out of an adult glass for the dinner hour. It was as almost as her karma was chanting "Small wins, LittleH! Be thankful for small wins!"