I don't drink alcohol. I'm a big girl and I have my reasons. Despite that, there are still grown adults out there who seem to take it as a personal affront when I politely refuse a glass of wine or, even more baffling for the Germans, a beer.
Beer is a major part of German culture and they are proud of it. Germany rates second in world wide beer consumption, pipped to the post by Ireland. This is a tentative point, best not brought up in conversation here, as many are still insisting on a recount.
My husband partakes occasionally in a glass of ale and Finje demonstrated an interest in his refreshment of choice from an early age. She was, as babies so often are, fascinated by the froth, which she was allowed to try and unfortunately appeared to take a liking to. Suddenly her drink became particularly boring and uninteresting as she reached for more froth, a frantic look in her eye.
We laughed off the moment, sitting in the Biergarten surrounded by liters of frothy temptation for a three year old who had just discovered there are more interesting beverages than watered down apple juice in a plastic sippy cup.
Over the past two years since her introduction to Germany's tipple of choice, I have managed to convince Finje of it's uncleanliness. 'Dirty' has now become the standard prefix to the word beer in our house, a phrase used by my parents and many previous generations.
My insistence on calling their beloved brew anything but clean has probably not done much for German/expat relations but it has put Finje off. For the time being at least. And my success urged me on to employ it as an adjunct to cola. That tooth dissolving, evil black stuff probably more worthy of the prefix 'dirty' than beer in fairness.
Finje seems to accept my decisions on what she should and shouldn't drink, but I wondered if I had gone a little too far yesterday. Out with some friends, one little boy was rather generously offering round his sweets. Chewy Cola Bottles.
'Oh no!' cried my daughter, 'dirty cola, those will eat your teeth while you sleep!'
Mum, unimpressed, had to go and buy alternative sweets as Finje's comments left all four children eying the cola bottle packet as though it had turned into a bag of worms.
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